Serena Williams beats Bartoli in Tie Break Tens

Published by Piers Newbery

Serena Williams last played singles competitively in the Australian Open final 14 months ago; Getty Images
Serena Williams wins her first match at the Tie Break Tens event over fellow comeback queen Marion Bartoli before falling to Zhang Shuai. Elina Svitolina claims the title.

Serena Williams took another step on her return to tennis with two matches at the Tie Break Tens event in New York on Monday.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion beat former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli before losing to China’s Shuai Zhang in the semifinals.

Eight players, including Venus Williams, were competing for the US$250,000 winner’s cheque at Madison Square Garden, with matches played in a first-to-10 tiebreak format.

Williams beat 2013 Wimbledon champion Bartoli – who is planning a comeback after retiring more than four years ago – 10-5, but could not covert two match points as she went down 13-11 to Zhang in the last four.

> REPORT: Serena v Venus looming in Indian Wells

World No.4 Elina Svitolina swept through her three matches – including a 10-0 whitewash of CoCo Vandeweghe in the semifinals – to claim the title.

Asked afterwards about her prospects of a successful comeback, Williams said: “I think everyone should have high expectations. You should always believe in yourself even if no-one else does.”

Williams’ last competitive singles match was her victory over sister Venus in the 2017 Australian Open final 14 months ago.

She gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia on September 1st, and will make her WTA comeback later this week in Indian Wells, where she will face Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas in round one.

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