Serena Williams’ comeback to tennis after almost a year out produced an entertaining win in the Eastbourne doubles alongside Ons Jabeur.
Williams, 40, had not played since retiring injured from her first-round match at Wimbledon last year.
The American great and Jabeur won 2-6 6-3 13-11 against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Czech Marie Bouzkova.
The pair fought back from a slow start and took their third match point in front of an excited Eastbourne crowd.
“It was great out there and so fun to play with Ons – we had a lot of fun. Our opponents played amazing and we were happy to stay in there,” Williams said.
Williams is set to play in the singles at Wimbledon next week after receiving a wildcard for the Grand Slam event.
This appearance at Eastbourne was designed to build up her match sharpness for the All England Club, where Williams has won seven of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
The outing in the East Sussex seaside town appeared to be ending rather more quickly than she would have hoped as Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova dominated the opening set.
While Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova have not been regular doubles partners, they have played together before and won a title in Istanbul in April.
An assured start by them looked ominous for Williams and Jabeur, but the star attractions fought back superbly in a more competitive second set.
That took the encounter to a match tie-break and, with light fading on a cool summer evening, Williams and Jabeur clinched victory when Sorribes Tormo put a backhand net volley wide.
Williams yelled in delight before high-fiving Jabeur and sharing a warm hug with her playing partner.
More to follow.