Serena Williams’ first match on tour in nearly a year ended in triumph for the longtime former world number one.

Williams teamed up with Ons Jabeur to claim a first-round doubles victory at the Rothesay International on Tuesday, edging Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo 2-6, 6-3, [13-11]. Williams and Jabeur saved match point in the home and away tie-break match.

After 1 hour and 33 minutes of thrilling play, USA’s Williams and Tunisia’s Jabeur, playing their first event together, managed to contain the Czech-Spanish pair and line up a second-round clash against Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao- tiresome.

Happy to see you again: The victory marked an emotional comeback for Williams, who has an Open Era record of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, as well as 14 Grand Slam doubles titles. Williams had not played on tour since suffering the injury in her first-round singles match at Wimbledon last year.

But she and Jabeur were given a wildcard for this week’s doubles draw, and Williams was able to return to action with aplomb. It was Williams’ first doubles match since she and the now-retired Caroline Wozniacki qualified for the Auckland doubles final in January 2020.

Key moments: Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo, who teamed up to win the Istanbul doubles title earlier this season, were the strongest pair in the opener. A volley from Sorribes Tormo capped an opening set where she and Bouzkova’s nine winners far outpaced Jabeur and Williams’ four.

But Williams found her rhythm in the second set and she fired a host of winners to put her and Jabeur ahead 5-3. At 30-30 in that game, a pass winner from Williams, followed by a shout of delight from the American, lined up the set point, which Williams converted with an ace.

In the tiebreak, Williams and Jabeur saw two match points disappear at 9-8 and 10-9, and Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo had their own match point at 11-10. But a thrilling rally ended with a Jabeur winner to set up a third match point for the wildcards at 12-11, which they converted after a wide volley from Sorribes Tormo.

Burrage shocks Badosa

As Williams and Jabeur won on center court, a homeland prospect pulled off a stunner on court 1. World No. 169 Jodie Burrage of Great Britain swept past No. 1 seed Paula Badosa of Spain 6-4, 6-3 to claim a spot in the singles round of 16.

Burrage will now face No. 15 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in the third round. Haddad Maia is currently on an 11-game winning streak, having won back-to-back titles at Nottingham and Birmingham.

More soon…