Serena Williams said she was rusty on her victorious WTA Tour return, following 14 months away for the birth of her child.
Williams beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 7-5 6-3 in her first-round match at Indian Wells.
In her straight-sets win, Williams hit 27 unforced errors and 34 winners in front of a large crowd in California.
Williams played aggressively and broke Diyas five times in the match that lasted 92 minutes.
Speaking about her comeback, she said: “It was incredible. It’s been over a year and a kid later. I get to go home to her now and I’m excited about that.”
The 36-year-old gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September last year, but says she almost died after post-childbirth health complications that included blood clots in her lungs.
“It is a journey for me and I am just going to go for it,” she said. “I wanted to stay fit and just be ready.
“I wasn’t ready to retire yet even though it would have been a great way to retire.”
Serena plays 29th seed Kiki Bertens in the second round, knowing that she could face sister Venus in the third round if both progress.