Serena, Victoria and Maria returned

Serena and Victoria winning returns

BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

It was the tournament that had the much awaited return of the veterans: Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. How would they fare? Two are now mothers.

Maria Sharapova 2018 Indian WellsSharapova’s return since her suspension has been one of a few ups and a lot of downs, due in part to a lack of match play, which has made her susceptible to a slew of injuries and vulnerable to everyone. No longer is [41] Maria Sharapova (RUS) the lethal force that she once was. The fear factor is gone and players now feel they have a much better chance of defeating the former champion.

[44] Naomi Osaka (JPN) was certainly aware of that last night when she stepped on court to face Sharapova for the first time. She outplayed Sharapova and although she got a little tentative when she had commanding leads in both sets, she fought through the nerves for the 6-4, 6-4 victory.

[PR] Serena Williams (USA) has been missing from tennis since she won the 2017 Australian Open. Her return, no matter the opponent was always going to be difficult. Not because of the opponent, but because of the major changes that has taken place in Serena’s life. Would she come back with the single-mindedness that drove her to 23 major titles? Did she want to win with that same intensity that she had before baby and marriage? [53] Zarina Diyas (KAZ) has had her own issues. Plagued by injuries, Diyas is trying to find her top form and Williams should have been the perfect opponent; however, Williams was having none of that. Despite the rust, Williams won in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

[204] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) made her initial comeback from maternity in June 2017; however, it was marred by custody battles and she has been absent since the 2017 Wimbledon. Her record against [70] Heather Watson (GBR) was impeccable and it remained so. Like Williams, there was rust; however, she kept her record against Watson perfect with the 6-4, 6-2 victory.

The two mothers made successful returns, how far will they go in the draw?

SOURCE OF IMAGES: (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America: Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America: Maria Sharapova).

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