(Reuters) – Top seed Serena Williams started the individual campaign of Auckland Classic on Tuesday with a 6: 3: 6: 2 win against the Italian qualification Camila Giorgi.
Serena Williams of the United States competes against Bianca Andreescu from Canada on the 13th day of the 2019 US Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (not shown). Geoff Burke-USA TODAY sport / file photo
38-year-old Williams played her first individual match since losing to Bianca Andreescu last year. She shot eight aces and was barely bothered by Giorgi.
Williams interrupted the Italian's serve three times, but remained unbroken in a 68-minute return leg.
28-year-old Giorgi was unable to cope with Williams' strong serve. The 23-time Grand Slam winner prevailed in stormy conditions and was able to extend her unbeaten run against her Italian opponent to five games.
"It was really fun to be here and back," said Williams. "It's really good to know that I still have some strength in my arms and legs."
Williams, who went up to the double quarter-finals with Caroline Wozniacki on Monday, will meet fifteen-year-old compatriot Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals.
"I definitely think the doubles helped me a lot, especially with my serve," added the American. "I served pretty well under the given conditions."
Fifth starter Wozniacki, who will retire this month after the Australian Open, won 6-1 and 6-0 against local wildcard Paige Hourigan.
Hourigan, number 178 worldwide, was 5-0 down in 13 minutes in the first set, and their record of 30 casual mistakes proved crucial.
"Definitely disappointed because I had a great week of preparation and felt very confident," said Hourigan.
"I've made a lot of mistakes that I haven't made all week … Wozniacki is a great player and it was tough conditions out there."
The German fourth and defending champion Julia Gorges prevailed against the last 16 with a 6-1 7-6 (4) victory against the Belgian Greet Minnen.
The second Petra Martic from Croatia was initially frustrated by the happy loser Usue Maitane Arconada before storming back and winning 5: 7: 6: 4: 6: 4.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore and Ed Osmond