Serena's French Open return -- clockwatch

Paris (AFP) –


Serena Williams made her long-awaited return to Grand Slam tennis on Tuesday when she defeated world number 70 Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6, (7/4), 6-4 in the first round of Roland Garros.

AFP Sport looks at how her day on Court Philippe Chatrier unfolded:

1619 local/1419 GMT

-- Dressed in a black jacket and black leggings, Serena Williams walks out on to Court Philippe Chatrier for her first Grand Slam appearance since winning the 2017 Australian Open after which she was off tour to give birth to her daughter. It is also her first match on clay since losing the 2016 final in the same arena to Garbine Muguruza.

-- Despite enormity of occasion, the 36-year-old, with her hair scraped back into severe-looking bob, the stadium is barely half-full as fans take a breather following Rafael Nadal's opening win.

-- Williams removes her jacket to reveal a black, body-hugging catsuit offset by a pinkish-red waistband.


-- Serena serves first and takes first point off a Pliskova error on her way to the opening game.


-- Serena carves out first and only break point of the set but cannot convert, sending the opener into a tiebreak.


-- Williams recovers from 0/3 in tiebreak to take set 7-6 (7/4). Pliskova, who hit 10 aces, loses set with a wild forehand.


-- After two break points saved and seven deuces, Pliskova, breaks for a 2-0 lead in the second set. It is the first break of the match.


-- Williams breaks back for 1-2 and they are back on serve.


-- Williams saves a break point for 2-2. Pliskova sinks to her knees in frustration.


-- The American star makes Pliskova pay for her wastefulness when the Czech nets a simple return and Williams is 3-2 to the good.


-- However, an error-hit service game from the former world number one allows Pliskova to break back for 3-3.


-- Normal service resumed as another break and quick service hold put Williams 5-3 in front.


-- Despite a nasty fall at the net which left her with an embarrassed smile, Serena saves three break points and claims victory on her second match point.

Key stats: Williams 13 aces/29 winners/ 25 unforced errors/break points saved 6/8

Pliskova 15 aces/34 winners/33 unforced errors/break points saved 1/4