At the Canadian Open in Toronto on Monday, Serena Williams overcame Spain’s Nuria Párrizas Dáz 6-4 6-3 to win her first singles match in 430 days.
Despite what the straight-sets result might indicate, Williams, whose last singles triumph was at the 2021 French Open, had to work hard to defeat Párrizas Dáz in almost to two hours.
The No. 57-ranked Párrizas Dáz was only beaten by the 23-time grand slam champion after she saved seven break points, including four when the score was 3-4 in the second set.
In the second round on Wednesday, Williams will play either Tereza Martincova or Belinda Bencic.
The 40-year-old lost to France’s Harmony Tan in her first singles match of the year at Wimbledon in June, but she later hinted that she might compete on American soil at the US Open, which starts on August 29.
When questioned on Monday about what motivates her to play at this point in her career, Williams responded: “I guess there’s just a light at the end of the tunnel … Lately, that’s been it for me. I can’t wait to get to that light.”
“I love playing though, so it’s amazing. But, you know, I can’t do this forever,” she added. “Sometimes, you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can.”
Williams demonstrated her signature ball striking against Párrizas Daz by hitting 32 winners, seven of which had aces.
She joins Martina Navratilova, Kimiko Date Krumm, and Venus Williams as the fourth woman since 2000 to triumph in a WTA Tour match after turning 40, according to Opta.
On Monday, the 42-year-old Venus competed in Toronto but fell to Jil Teichmann of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3.