Serena Williams earned her first singles win in more than a year, pushing her way to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Nuria Parrizas-Diaz of Spain on Monday in the first round of the National Bank Open at Toronto.
Williams had seven aces and saved seven of eight break points while moving to the second round after a 79-minute second set. She next will face the winner of Tuesday's match between Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic.
Afterward, Williams said she can see "light at the end of the tunnel" while showing Monday she still has match victories left in her.
"I love playing though, so it's like amazing. But, you know, I can't do this forever," the 23-time Grand Slam winner told the crowd. "So it's just like sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can."
The victory was Williams' 35th in the main draw at the Canadian event, breaking a tie with Chris Evert for the most all time.
In other first-round matches Monday, No. 14 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic defeated countrywoman Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-4, while No. 15 seed Simona Halep of Romania defeated Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-0, 6-2.
Also earning a straight-set victory was No. 16 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, who got past Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2.
Canada's Leylah Fernandez, the 13th seed, topped Australia's Storm Sanders 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-3.
In a pair of all-United States matches, Sloane Stephens nipped Sofia Kenin 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5, and Asia Muhammad ousted Madison Keys 7-6 (5), 6-4. Alize Cornet won an all-French matchip against Caroline Garcia 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Other first-round winners included Elena Rybakina and Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and Alison Riske-Amritraj of the United States.
In the last match of the night, the United States' Venus Williams was set to face Switzerland's Jil Teichmann.
--Field Level Media