Tennis: Superstar Serena Williams shows no signs of rust in dominant return to court

Superstar Serena Williams has shown no signs of rust, as she began her tennis season with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 win over Daria Gavrilova to reach the second round of the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is warming up for the Australian Open, was at her dominant best, after staving off four break points in the opening game of the contest at Margaret Court Arena.

Former world No.1  Williams has not played since withdrawing from last year's French Open second round in September with an Achilles injury, but made quick work of Gavrilova, striking 27 winners, including 16 in the opening set.

"It feels good to be back here," says the 39-year-old Williams, who will chase a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

 "I felt I was definitely composed and in a zone, and trying to do the things I've been working on."

Up next for Williams is Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, whom she was due to face at Roland Garros before her injury.

The tournament is one of six arranged by Tennis Australia before the Australian Open, which begins next Monday.