Three-time tournament champion Venus Williams showed very little rust in destroying Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3 Wednesday in the first round of Miami.
Venus was playing her first pro tennis match since making the announcement she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome during the 2011 US Open seven months ago.
The 31-year-old, though, had little trouble with the tricky veteran.
“It was great to be back out there,” Venus said. “It was definitely nerve wracking, especially playing an opponent that I know how talented she is and first match back. But I was able to get a great start and settle in and play well against a really difficult opponent.
“I mean, just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me; just to be here is a win,” she said. “That’s what I told myself going in, that this is a win. I have nothing to lose. Just, you know, to gain. Just to get back at this level is a win for me.”
Because of her low ranking, the unseeded Williams now faces Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round Friday.
“I think in some ways we play a very similar game,” said Venus. “Obviously she’s been playing very well in the last 12 months or so. It’s just totally a credit to her. For me I have had a lot of experience with playing well. I played all right today. I’m going into this just focused on executing my game and just trying my absolute best, and, you know, execute my game more than anything, which is the same thing she’ll be trying to do.”
Fellow former No. 1 Kim Clijsters was also victorious. Playing in her first match since an ankle injury hurt her chances at the Australian Open, Clijsters overcame a first set loss to turn away Jarmilla Gajdasova 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
Today, a quartet of No. 1s are in action including Venus’ sister, Serena, Maria Sharapova, Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki who headlines the night session. Clijsters will play Julia Goerges.
For the men, rising teen Ryan Harrison tackles Potito Starache with a Saturday date with Roger Federer on the line. Harrison’s American countrymen Sam Querrey, Donald Young and Jesse Levine are also featured.
Rafael Nadal will appear in doubles this afternoon. Nadal, who teamed with Marc Lopez to win Indian Wells, joins Marcel Granollers today against Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic.
STADIUM start 11:00 am
[WC] R Harrison (USA) vs P Starace (ITA) – ATP
[WC] S Zhang (CHN) vs  S Williams (USA) – WTA
S Peer (ISR) vs  M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
M Cilic (CRO) / I Karlovic (CRO) vs M Granollers (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) – ATP
Starting at 7:30 PM
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs  C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
S Querrey (USA) vs M Ebden (AUS) – ATP
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
 J Jankovic (SRB) vs M Barthel (GER) – WTA
 J Goerges (GER) vs K Clijsters (BEL) – WTA
L Mayer (ARG) vs M Baghdatis (CYP) – ATP
 S Stosur (AUS) vs [Q] V Savinykh (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 5:00 PM
[Q] D Goffin (BEL) vs D Young (USA) – ATP
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Sharapova Shrieked-Down by Azarenka in Miami Final
It’s Venus Williams v. Kim Clijsters in the Miami Final