| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff


Playing in her first match back on the WTA Tour since last year’s Australian Open, Serena Williams got her comeback off to a winning start with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. on Thursday.

“It was incredible,” said Serena. “It’s been over a year and a kid later—and I get to go home now to her.

It definitely wasn’t easy. I’ve played her several times before and we always have a couple of tight sets. I’m a little rust, but it doesn’t matter. I’m just out here on this journey doing the best I can.”

Serena will take on 29th seed Kiki Bertens in the second round.

Victoria Azarenka was also returning to tour action after missing time. The Belarusian star had not competed since Wimbledon of last year, but came out victorious in her return as well by downing Heather Watson 6-4, 6-2 to book her spot in the second round on Thursday.

“My focus was just to be out there and enjoy myself, and not to put too much pressure—but of course I’ve done that in the match, and I wanted to push myself,” said Azarenka. “But just being out there was the most important thing.”

In the second round, Azarenka will take on 13th seed and recent U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Click Here to see more results and draws for the BNP Paribas Open.