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.
Australian Open
‘It was really painful’ – Cornet reveals 13 years of hurt in emotional on-court interview
24/01/2022 AT 11:16
"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.
Australian Open
When is the Australian Open draw? Who could Djokovic face?
12/01/2022 AT 13:28
Australian Open
Australian Open 2022 - Who's playing, when's the draw, what's the schedule
10/01/2022 AT 14:15