Playing her first tennis since January, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams returned with a victory Monday at the $618,000 Aegon International, a final grass-court Wimbledon tuneup.
The unseeded former world No. 1 Williams needed all three sets to oust eighth- seeded German Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in 2 hours, 35 minutes at Devonshire Park. The rising Petkovic reached quarterfinals at this year’s French and Australian Opens.
The seven-time major champion Williams, who will turn 31 on Friday, had been sidelined by a hip injury since losing to Petkovic in the third round at January’s Aussie Open.
“It was definitely an adventure today,” Williams said. “Falling down every other point, coming back from such a long layoff, competing against someone who’s been playing so well in the last 12 months.”
“I was extremely excited to come back with the win. More than anything, I was just really extremely excited to have the opportunity to play another match.”