Serena Williams hadn't played a competitive match in a month prior to Thursday's matchup with Flavia Pennetta, but her extended absence was hardly noticeable after she cruised to a dominating 6-1, 6-1 victory in Round 2 of the Sony Open.
Williams defeated the 31-year-old Italian in one hour and 17 minutes, winning 21 of 25 first-serve points throughout the match. Her powerful serving completely stifled Pennetta in the second set, as Williams didn't face a single break point.
A lower-back injury forced Williams to withdraw in Dubai last month. Now back in action as the No. 1 seed, Williams is looking for his sixth title in Miami, which would put her ahead of Steffi Graf in the tournament record books. She will face Ayumi Morita in Round 3. These two last faced off in January at the Australian Open, when Williams breezed through to a 6-1, 6-3 win in the same round.
Her sister Venus endured a lengthy opener against Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 19th-seeded Williams ultimately defeated her opponent 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4 in a match that spanned two hours and 32 minutes. With No. 16 Sloane Stephens up next, the initial three-setter may take its toll.
No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 5 Li Na, No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova and No. 30 Kirsten Flipkens all won in straight sets. Seventh-ranked Petra Kvitova and ninth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki both struggled in the first set of their opening matches, but each settled down as play progressed and easily emerged victorious in the last two sets.
On the men's side, Bernard Tomic found himself facing a tough qualifier in Marc Gicquel, as the young Australian pulled out a 7-5, 7-6(3) victory. His road looks bleak going forward, with No. 2 Andy Murray next on the schedule.
Jarkko Nieminen, Yen-Hsun Lu and Viktor Troicki were some of the notable names advancing to Round 2. Dennis Istomin, No. 45 in the world, made an early exit after suffering a straight-set defeat to Daniel Gimeno-Traver. For full results, click here.