Serena Williams feels that she is back in a strong state of health after beating Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the first round of the China Open in Beijing on Monday, according to ESPN.
The world number one fought back from 0-5 down in the first set to complete a 7-5, 6-2 victory over the qualifier, in her first match since pulling out of the Wuhan Open in China last week with a viral illness in her second round match against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.
The American still seemed to be feeling the effects of the virus in the opening set, as her serve was broken three times in the opening 15 minutes of the match, before saving a set point when being faced with a bagel, and she went on to win seven games in a row to salvage the set.
Myterious illness repeat
It is not the first time the 18-time Grand Slam winner has been forced to come back from a mysterious illness this year, as she was forced to pull out of the women’s doubles at Wimbledon in July with another illness that left her bedridden for three days.
The 32-year-old confirmed after the match that she had been unsure whether to play in Beijing, but made her mind up after she started practicing again a few days ago, and she also spoke of her relief to come back in the first set.
She said: "I just started hitting a couple days ago, taking it day by day. Finally I decided I'm here, I may as well see what happens.
"I'm feeling a lot better. I have more energy. I look back. Like my eyes aren't as dead as they were.
"I didn't want to lose 6-0. I just started fighting. I was like, just let me at least try to break here."
Despite battling with illness on two occasions this year, Williams has been in ominous form since pulling out of Wimbledon, as she is unbeaten in the last 13 singles matches she has been able to complete.
The Michigan-born player’s run included winning her sixth and third consecutive US Open title in New York earlier in September, where she beat Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in the final.
Her form in the hard court season managed to salvage what had been a frustrating year for Williams, as she failed to reach the quarter-finals of the other three Grand Slams.
World number one
Regardless of how she performs in Beijing, Williams is guaranteed to finish the year as the world’s number one, as she holds a lead of over 3000 points from second placed Romanian Simona Halep, before playing at the WTA Tour Championships in Singapore in October.
Williams will be appearing at the Tour Championships for the ninth time, and she has won the title four times, with her last coming in Turkey last year, where she beat China’s Li Na in the final.