Venus Williams reacts after beating Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3 in the first round match at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida on March22, 2012.[Source:Sina.com]
Venus Williams made a triumphant return to the WTA Tour on Wednesday, winning her first round match at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.
The former world No. 1 had not played a singles match since last year's US Open in New York when she revealed she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes fatigue and joint soreness.
But the 31-year-old American was back on the court on Wednesday, beating Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3 in an hour and 17 minutes.
"Just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me," Williams told reporters after being granted a wildcard entry into the tournament. "Just being here is a win, I told myself going into this, this is a win. Just to train and get back at this level."
Belgium's Kim Clijsters, another former No. 1 on the comeback trail, overcame a slow start before beating Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
Clijsters had not played since she lost to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open semifinals when she injured her ankle.
"It's always tough to get that first match rhythm under your belt," Clijsters said.
"One thing I can count on is I have the experience, though. It doesn't take me that long to get used to it again. But it has become tougher."
In other results, Michaella Krajicek of Netherlands beat Czech player Eva Birnerova 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 to move into a second-round match against top-ranked Victoria Azarenka.
On the men's side, Argentina's David Nalbandian beat Steve Darcis of Belgium 6-4, 7-6 (0), Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko beat American James Blake 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, Tommy Haas of Germany had a 6-4, 6-4 win over Guillaume Rufin, France and Nicolas Mahut of France had a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3) win over former Australian Open finalist Fernando Gonzalez of Chile.