Krystina Pliskova, who shared the Wimbledon winners’ stage with Serena back in 2010 — the Czech was junior champion as Serena won the real thing that year, played her part across the net on centre court, but there was only one star.
Dressed in a skintight, all-in-one black bodysuit, broken up by a vivid scarlet belt, Serena captivated the French crowd from the start of the contest to its 7-6(4) 6-4 conclusion.
“You know me, I really feel like I can improve on literally everything. And that’s the great thing, I feel like I can improve and there’s room for improvement and that means I can get better so I’m really excited that I’m playing again and I’m getting to that level and there’s so much room for improvement in my game,” she said.
The last time the American had appeared in a Grand Slam tournament was at the Australian Open in 2017, when she won it while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.
This time there was a little rust to shake off — she only gave birth in September — and she didn’t quite move as when at her best. But all the same Serena was too strong, too good, simply too Serena for her world 70-ranked opponent.
Next up for the three-times champion is Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty, who overcame a back injury to compete in Paris.