Serena Williams wins first singles match since last year’s French Open

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Serena Williams won her first singles match since last year’s French Open with a first-round victory over world number 57 Nuria Parrizas Diaz in Toronto.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion, whose long-awaited return from injury this year ended in an early exit at Wimbledon, won 6-3 6-4 in just under two hours at the National Bank Open.

It was the first time 40-year-old Williams, in only her second appearance of the year, had won a singles match since beating Danielle Collins at Roland Garros on June 4, 2021.

Afterwards, explaining her motivation to keep on playing, she said:  “I guess there’s just a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I don’t know, I’m getting closer to the light. Lately that’s been it for me. I can’t wait to get to that light.”

Asked what the light represented, she replied: “Freedom. I love playing though, so it’s like amazing. But, you know, I can’t do this forever. So it’s just like sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can.”

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina also won her first match since her triumph at the All England Club, although she needed three hours to overcome Marie Bouzkova 7-5 6-7 6-1.