Serena Williams Earns First Singles Match Win in 14 Months: 'I Forgot What It Felt Like'

Serena Williams battled her way to a two-set victory against Spain's Nuria Párrizas Díaz in Toronto

serena williams Photo: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

Serena Williams proved she still has the ability to win at the Canadian Open.

On Monday, Williams, 40, beat Spain's Nuria Párrizas Díaz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 at the tournament's opening round in Toronto, according to CNN.

Williams had not won a singles match in 430 days — her last singles victory prior to Monday's nearly two-hour-long win came during her 2021 French Open run against Danielle Collins.

A 23-time Grand Slam winner, Williams suffered a hamstring tear during Wimbledon in 2021 that kept her out of singles competition until this year's edition of the tournament in London, in which Williams dropped her comeback match to France's Harmony Tan.

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Monday's match was just Williams' second singles match of 2022, and while her win proved Williams can still compete, the veteran athlete made reference to her career's twilight hours as she celebrated the victory.

"I guess there's just a light at the end of the tunnel, I'm getting closer to the light, so lately that's been it for me, can't wait to get to that light," Williams humorously told reporters after the match, via ESPN. "I love playing though, it's amazing but I can't do this forever so sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can."

Williams had suggested after her loss at Wimbledon that she may have played better if she was competing more frequently, according to ESPN.

Monday's match win lent credence to that notion as Williams entered the Canadian Open unranked and fended off Párrisas Díaz's attempts to bring the match to three sets. The match was no easy win, and the second set alone lasted 76 minutes, the outlet reported.

"It's just one win, you know," Williams told reporters afterwards, per ESPN. "It takes a lot. But I was happy to have a win, it's been a very long time. I forgot what it felt like."

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Williams, who won the Canadian Open in 2001, 2011 and 2013, will next face the victor of Tuesday's match between world No. 12 Belinda Bencic and the Czech Republic's Tereza Martincova. Should Williams emerge victorious from the second round, the veteran tennis star could meet one of the sport's great young talents in Naomi Osaka down the road.

Prior to her 2021 injury, Williams was still ranked within the world's top 10 players, according to WTA Tennis. It's unclear exactly what Williams has in mind for her career's future beyond upcoming appearances at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and at the US Open in New York for a run toward a record 24th Grand Slam title victory.

Last Tuesday, Williams told PEOPLE how life has changed in recent years as she balances tennis with family life with her nearly 5-year-old daughter Olympia and her work leading a venture capital firm.

"Now when I prepare for a tournament, I practice in the morning, I take VC calls in the afternoon and then I spend time with Olympia, and that didn't happen five years ago," Williams said.

On a recent day, the tennis ace said, she trained, worked in her office on her VC firm Serena Ventures and then spent the rest of the day playing games with Olympia. "It's totally different," she says. "I can't imagine having this conversation with you a little while ago and saying that this is what my life looks like."

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