Serena Williams returned on Sunday to the red clay of the French Open, and this time there was no stumble at the start.
Upset in the first round a year ago, Williams channelled any lingering frustration into her overpowering strokes and drubbed Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-1.
Also advancing on the first day of play were Gilles Simon, Roger Federer, Sara Errani, the 2012 runner-up to Maria Sharapova, and 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic.
Roger Federer swept qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Federer earned a big roar from the centre court crowd after he closed out the victory with a picturesque backhand winner.
Federer lost only seven points on his first serve and was broken just once by Carreno Busta.
Former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt lost a seesaw marathon to No. 15-seeded Gilles Simon, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5.
Simon overcame a two-set deficit to win for the first time in his career despite blowing a 5-love lead in the final set of the first round match.
The Frenchman steadied himself to hold for 6-5, then broke at love in the final game.
Williams lost her opening match at a Grand Slam tournament for the only time in her career a year ago, when she was beaten by France’s Virginie Razzano. That was the most surprising in a succession of losses for Williams at Roland Garros, where she hasn’t won the title since 2002 and hasn’t reached the semifinals since 2003.
Determined to avoid another bad start, Williams won the first nine games, and 30 of the first 37 points. There was no letup from there, and she was still pumping her fist and shouting “Come on!” a game from the finish.
Williams, who keeps an apartment in Paris, was then interviewed on centre court and spoke French, a first for her at Roland Garros.
“I’m a beginner,” she said, referring to her French, not her tennis. “I think I am French because I have a flat here. I love Paris.”
Williams won 56 of 78 points, including 28 of 33 on her serve, and hit eight aces.
Errani beat Arantxa Rus 6-1, 6-2 in the opening match on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Errani reached a Grand Slam final for the first time a year ago at Roland Garros.
“Last year was an unbelievable tournament, the best tournament of my life,” Errani said. “But I don’t want to think about that. I just want to come here and play another tournament. I try to concentrate on my tennis, not too much about last year.”
Now ranked a career-best No. 5, Errani dominated Rus from the baseline and won four games at love. Rus double-faulted seven times and lost her 13th consecutive match on the WTA Tour.
Ivanovic beat Petra Martic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
In men’s play, No. 14 Milos Raonic hit 16 aces, won 32 points at the net and defeated Xavier Malisse, 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
No. 23 Kevin Anderson beat lucky loser Illya Marchenko 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.