Serena Williams has reached the third round of the Yarra Valley Classic and says she's feeling good ahead of the Australian Open.
Williams eased through her second round tie against Australian Daria Gavrilova, 6-1 6-4, after receiving a bye in the first round due to her current WTA ranking of 11th in the world.
It's Serena's first competitive match since September 2020 when she had to withdraw from the second round of the French Open due to injury.
The tournament is one of three women's warm-up events before the Grand Slam which starts next week, and is a chance for players to get match practice after their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Last week, Williams took part in a one-day exhibition event in Adelaide against Naomi Osaka and was clearly delighted to be back on court playing in front of a crowd again.
"I feel that I was definitely composed and in the zone, I guess. Just trying to do the things I have been working on,” Williams said after her Yarra Valley Classic win.
"It feels good to be back here (in Melbourne Park). It feels different being here and playing but not playing the Australian Open.
"But it’s good as all of us players need to get some matches.
"It was definitely different going the whole year playing without anyone in the crowd.
"In Adelaide it was really cool to see that. I look forward to the upcoming days.
"It wasn't easy to get here, it wasn't easy to put on this event," Williams said.
"It was a thing of courage, so many thanks to Tennis Australia for making this happen. Man, that was an effort.
"So happy to be here."
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