Serena Williams returns with victory at Italian Open

Serena Williams has won the Italian Open four times

Serena Williams had a successful return to the tour and return to Rome with a 6-4, 6-2 win over qualifier Rebecca Peterson.

Williams fell behind 3-1 in the first set but then began to take control with her baseline power on a windy day at the Foro Italico.

Williams finished with 28 winners to Peterson's eight and committed only two more unforced errors than the 58th-ranked Swede, 22-20.

Playing her first match in Rome since winning the title in 2016, Serena received a warm welcome in Italy and even warmer welcome from Tennis Channel's Prakash Amritraj.

Up next for Williams will be the victor of another blockbuster first round between Venus - who won the title in Rome back in 1999 - and Qatar Total Open champion Elise Mertens.

Williams served superbly, with the exception of one early break, and she gradually started to convert break points with some regularity, teeing up a potential second-round meeting with sister Venus, who faces Elise Mertens in her own opener.

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Next up at the Italian Open: Sister Venus Williams in the siblings' first meeting on European clay in almost 17 years.

She broke twice more in the second and survived two break points against her while serving for the match, sealing victory after double-faulting on her first match point.

"I haven't been able to train or practice a lot".

"It was really cool to share my favourite city with her, some of my favourite things to see. I was out much longer than I expected", Serena said. This is her only preparatory tournament for the French Open and early last week she was seen in a stunning yellow dress attending the Met Gala in NY. 'It's been bad. I've been working as hard as I could keeping up my cardio as much as I could with a knee injury'. That's what I did, it was a nightmare, ' said Williams, who served 10 aces. "I knew that I love the clay season and I wanted to be a part of it".

Also progressing was Croatia's Borna Ćorić after he beat Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Other ladies advancing included Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta, Annett Kontaveit, Victoria Azarenka, Lucky Loser Amanda Anisimova, Sofia Kenin, Viktoria Kuzmova, Dominika Cibulkova and Katerina Siniakova.

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