Serena victorious on nervy return

Serena victorious on nervy return

Somdev shocks fancied Garcia-Lopez

Serena Williams edged out Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in her first match for more than one year at Eastbourne on Tuesday. AFP

The 29-year-old American, out of action due to injury and health problems since winning last year's Wimbledon title, looked nervy and sluggish initially before settling down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the second round.

It was far from pretty, but after claiming on Monday she had been on her "death bed" earlier this year, the 13-times grand slam champion would have been encouraged to beat an opponent who reached last year's Wimbledon semifinals.

"She is an unbelievable player she beat Venus at Wimbledon last year and when I saw the draw I thought Oh my God," wildcard Williams, who suffered life-threatening blood clots in her lungs in February while recovering from gashing her foot last July, said in a courtside interview.

Dressed in pink and with purple streaks in her hair, Williams strode out on to a sunny centre court with little ceremony, took an age to unwrap her racket from its plastic cover before gingerly taking the first steps on the latest and most challenging comeback of her career.

With barely 20 minutes on the clock, however, she was 5-0 down as the American, playing at Eastbourne for the first time since 1998, slapped amateurish forehands into the net and looked leaden-footed. Her annoyance was clear for all to see as she cursed herself and cracked a racket frame.

There was even a slow hand clap as she took ages to replace the racket, hardly the welcome back she would have envisaged.

Gradually there were signs that she was beginning to rediscover her feel as she held serve at the start of the second set and forged a break ahead on her way to levelling the match. Williams let out a loud "c'mon!" and clenched her fist as she broke again at the start of the decider with some forceful tennis and confident forays to the net.

Somdev upsets Lopez

Somdev Devvarman upset fourth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets in the first round of the men’s event.

India’s number one singles player barely put a foot wrong in his 6-3, 6-4 victory over the much fancied Spaniard.

However, in the doubles, Somdev, along with his partner Mark Knowles, fell to YH Lu and O Marach 3-6, 4-6.

Clijsters ousted

World number two Kim Clijsters exited the Den Bosch Open in the second round after a shock 6-7, 3-6 defeat to 82nd-ranked Romina Oprandi of Italy in Rotterdam on Tuesday.
Clijsters could only take one of four break points throughout the match while Oprandi took advantage twice to seal the win in just over 90 minutes.

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