Serena steamrolls Gavrilova in Cincinnati return
The former world number one returned to winning ways thanks to a 6-1 6-2 rout of the Australian number 23 in her first-round match on Monday.
Serena Williams made an emphatic return to the court as the 23-time grand slam champion blitzed Daria Gavrilova in straight sets at the WTA Cincinnati Masters.
Williams skipped the Rogers Cup in Montreal last week after suffering the heaviest defeat of her career at the hands of Johanna Konta in the opening round of the Silicon Valley Classic.
The former world number one and American great also shared the emotional challenges she has faced since becoming a mother to daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September.
But Williams – a Wimbledon finalist last month – returned to her winning ways thanks to a 6-1 6-2 rout of Australia's Gavrilova in her first-round match on Monday.
Looking sharper and relaxed, Williams came out with a point to prove, the big-hitting veteran converting a break point at the third time of asking for an early 2-0 lead.
The 36-year-old could do no wrong, overpowering the helpless Gavrilova with 14 winners and just four errors in a lopsided first set wrapped up in less than 30 minutes.
Gavrilova looked uncomfortable and out of place on the big stage against Williams, who continued where she left off in the second set.
There was no stopping the rampant Williams as the two-time Cincinnati champion earned a second-round showdown with eighth seed and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.