PARIS, France - Venus and Serena Williams were victorious in their first Grand Slam women's doubles match in nearly two years on Wednesday, recovering from a set down to defeat No.14 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Miyu Kato, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 at the French Open.
Formidable doubles players on their own, Aoyama and Kato paired up for the first time on the WTA level at the start of the clay corut season; though they were winless heading into Roland Garros, they nonetheless pushed the Williamses to the brink as they took the opening set and broke serve as they served to level the match.
Drawing from their combined experience, the unseeded Americans rolled through the ensuing decider to secure victory after one hour and 56 minutes on Court 18.
Playing just their second doubles match of the season - the sisters reunited ahead of Serena's singles comeback at a Fed Cup tie in February - the 14-time Grand Slam women's doubles champions hadn't played a major tournament together since 2016, when they blasted past Timea Babos and Yaroslava Shvedova to win the Wimbledon Championships.
Venus was playing her first match since falling in the first round of singles to Wang Qiang, while Serena was fresh off a hard-fought win over Kristyna Pliskova on Tuesday - her first major main draw victory since the 2017 Australian Open.
Up next for the Williams sisters will be either Sara Errani and Kirsten Flipkens or the French wildcard duo of Diane Perry and Clara Burel.
Earlier in the day, No.4 seeds Latisha Chan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands eased past another French team in Virginie Razzano and Jade Suvrijn in straight sets. Mattek-Sands is playing her first major tournament since injuring her knee at last year's Wimbledon.
Lucie Safarova - typically the other half of Team Bucie - was also victorious, this time with Svetlana Kuznetsova as they beat Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova, 6-2, 6-4. No.8 seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Yang Zhaoxuan knocked out Andrea Petkovic and former doubles World No.1 Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-4, 6-4.
More to come...