Even the Parisian stormclouds cleared for Serena Williams on Tuesday, as the new mother’s baby steps back to Grand Slam tennis became a stride into the second round of the French Open.
Krystina Pliskova, who shared the Wimbledon winners’ stage with Serena back in 2010 — the Czech was junior champion as Serena won the real thing that year, played her part across the net on centre court, but there was only one star.
Dressed in skintight, all-in-one black bodysuit, broken up by a vivid scarlet belt, Serena captivated the French crowd from the start of the contest to its 7-6(4) 6-4 conclusion.
The last time she had appeared in a Grand Slam tournament was at the Australian Open in 2017, when she won it while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.
This time there was a little rust to shake off — she gave birth in September — and she didn’t quite move as when at her best. But all the same Serena was too strong, too good, simply too Serena for her world 70-ranked opponent.