After a couple of years blighted by illness and injury - most notably her battle with the autoimmune disease, Sjögren's syndrome - Williams made a bright start to 2014, highlighted by her triumph in Dubai. However, illness has interrupted her European clay court campaign, with just two matches under her belt going into her first round against last year's junior champion, Bencic.
The Turning Point
At the start of the first set, this lack of time on court looked like it could come back to haunt Williams, as a remarkably calm Bencic built an early lead. Williams was unruffled by the teenager's bright start, though, drawing on all her experience to break twice in quick succession and wrestle back control of the set.
Having burst Bencic's bubble, the seven-time major winner rapidly set about taking charge of the match. A quick-fire exchange at the net gave her the break and it was not long before she was pummeling a forehand winner into an open court to wrap up a 6-4, 6-1 triumph.
"It's definitely good to get the first round out of the way and try to get some rhythm," Venus said. "I think I have started on Sunday before. In any case, we're all ready to be called on Sunday and maybe this year it's an opportunity, because I think the weather is not as good tomorrow. I was happy to play without any interruptions."