Serena Williams secured her first win of the clay season as she beat 17-year-old Lisa Pigato in straight sets at the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma.
Top seed Williams came through 6-3 6-2 in one hour and eight minutes to set up a last-16 meeting with Katerina Siniakova.
The win is Williams’ first since she was beaten in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in February, having lost on her return to action at the Italian Open last week.
US Open
'The younger generation has taken over' - Becker hails 'Dame Emma Raducanu'
"Lisa played really well," Williams said after posing for a picture with her opponent.
"She told me she was only 17. Her future is super-bright - she handled the moment well, so I look forward to cheering for her in the future."
Pigato started in superb fashion as she hit three winners to break in the first game of the match.
However, Williams, who is set to play at the French Open next week, hit back immediately and won 16 of the next 18 points to move 4-1 ahead.
With her serve causing Pigato problems, Williams eased through into the next round.
US Open
Tennis stars fill red carpet at Met Gala as Raducanu celebrates US Open title
14/09/2021 AT 09:45
Laver Cup, Indian Wells, ATP & WTA Finals: What's left of the 2021 tennis season?
13/09/2021 AT 22:24