SAN JOSE, CA, USA - In her first singles match in 10 months, CoCo Vandeweghe was a winner again.
The former World No.9, sidelined since the WTA Finals with recurring ankle and foot injury, defeated Maria Bouzkova in the first round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Monday night, 6-2, 6-4.
Despite winning the US Open in doubles with Ashleigh Barty and qualifying for the WTA Finals, the two-time Grand Slam semifinalist had not contested a singles match since last September's China Open, where she lost in the first round.
The victory also snapped a nine-match losing streak for Vandeweghe in singles, dating back to the Libéma Open on grass last June.
"It wasn't easy. To think, five months ago, I wasn't even walking to be here, playing, in my first...match of the year, I'm just full of emotions," Vandeweghe said on-court after the match.
"I love the hard court season. I love the weather that comes along with it. I was bummed to miss the first year here last year, but I'm happy to come out and I'm just happy to compete again."
The serve was the story for Vandeweghe in the win, as she saved seven of the eight break points she faced against the World No.91, and broke Bouzkova four times.
The 27-year-old needed one hour and 23 minutes to move past her Czech foe, and she sealed victory with her fourth ace of the evening.
Vandeweghe nearly tripled the Czech's total of winners, hitting 21 to Bouzkova's eight, as she was also the aggressor off the ground.
"I think, first and foremost, I was just thinking of having fun. It was a big-picture sort of scenario, where...I wasn't walking five months ago," the American said.
"I was trying to have fun, keeping the ball heavy to her, playing my style of tennis, and just trying to execute as best as possible."
Currently ranked outside the Top 600 following her inactivity, Vandeweghe is a wildcard into this year's field as a two-time former finalist at the event's previous iteration in Stanford, and advances to face No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the second round.