Parma: Serena Williams brushed aside the challenge of local Lisa Pigato in the opening round of the WTA tournament in Parma on Monday.
Williams, ranked eighth in the world, beat the 572nd-ranked Pigato, making her WTA debut, 6-3, 6-2 in the first meeting between the two players.
The 39-year-old American had been given a wild card to play in Parma after her premature exit from the Italian Open, where she crashed out in the second round in what was her first match in nearly three months since her semi-final defeat in the Australian Open.
The Emilia-Romagna Open is a perfect clay warm-up ahead of the French Open, which kicks off in Paris on 30 May.
Williams needs one more Grand Slam title to match Australian great Margaret Court's record of 24 major trophies.