ALBUQUERQUE, NM, USA - Playing her first match in over four and a half years, Nicole Vaidisova made a winning start in her comeback to professional tennis on Tuesday, beating Sesil Karatantcheva in straight sets in the first round of an ITF Women's Circuit event in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Vaidisova held nine of her 10 service games and broke serve three times en route to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Karatantcheva, who had just reached the quarterfinals of the WTA event in Québec City.
Vaidisova, who was in tears afterwards, was asked what her first match back felt like.
"Surreal, nerve-wracking!" she said. "I am so glad I got to play."
From 2004 to 2009, Vaidisova was one of the brightest young stars in women's tennis, winning six WTA titles - including three in three weeks at one point - and reaching the quarterfinals or better at Grand Slams five times, including semifinal runs at the 2006 French Open (falling to Svetlana Kuznetsova) and the 2007 Australian Open (falling to Serena Williams). She broke into the world's Top 10 as a 17-year-old in 2006, eventually making it as high as No.7 in the world the next year.
Vaidisova stopped playing in March 2010 but recently announced she was returning to the game.
Vaidisova will next play on Thursday against the winner of No.3 seed Konta and Julia Cohen.