Serena Williams re-established her customary superiority, hammering Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 to reach the second round of the Cincinnati tennis on Monday.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion showed full recovery in her first match since suffering the worst defeat of her career two weeks ago in San Jose when she was crushed 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes by British No. 1 Johanna Konta.
But the 36-year-old was all business Monday as she cleaned up on Australian Gavrilova, with Williams winning an 11th straight match here.
“I’m feeling pretty good tonight. It’s never easy, no matter what the scoreline says,” Williams said.
“I definitely felt relaxed after the first break, but you’ve got to keep going and try to go in for the whole thing.”
Though she has not played the tournament in three years, Williams lifted back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 after losing the 2013 final to Victoria Azarenka.
In the women’s first round, Azarenka made her first appearance here since 2015 count as she defeated Spanish veteran Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4.
Double Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova continued her 2017 injury comeback, beating Swiss Stefanie Voegele 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5).
US Open finalist Madison Keys, seeded 13th, defeated wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4; France’s Kristina Mladenovic advanced when Julia Goerges retired hurt trailing 6-4, 3-2.
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-0, 6-2
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4
Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) bt Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Anett Kontaveit (EST) bt Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-3, 6-0
Madison Keys (USA x13) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Julia Görges (GER x10) 6-4, 3-2 retired
Serena Williams (USA) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 6-1, 6-2
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) bt Johanna Konta (GBR) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) bt Irina Begu (ROU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
With inputs from AFP