The American will play her first, though unofficial, match of her comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition event held for the men's players before the new season.
She was two-months pregnant at that time and took off for the birth of her first child in September.
But she failed to fully rediscover her rhythm and quickly dropped the first set 6-2 to the Latvian Ostapenko, the French Open champion.
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However, despite impressing after taking a set off the No. 7-ranked Ostapenko after almost a year away from tennis, Williams conceded she is still undecided whether she will defend her Australian Open title when the first major of the year gets underway in Melbourne on January 15. "First matches back are always super incredibly hard, especially after having a baby but it was great, I'm glad I could do it here". I'm excited. It's good to be back on court, this is such a good time for me. "I look forward to seeing the fans in Abu Dhabi at the 10th Edition of the Championship very soon". It was a good start for me'.
"To do well here would be an unbelievable feeling but I'm not going to weigh my whole year and rest of career on the next three, four weeks", she said.
Federer won the Australian Open and a record eighth Wimbledon while Nadal claimed a 10th French Open and the US Open in a Slam sweep for the two veteran stars. The younger Williams who has 72-career titles has been top of the Women's rankings for 319 weeks and posted her fifth consecutive top-three finish past year having won at Wimbledon and Rome. But she went ahead 3-0 with a couple of early breaks and hit with more confidence, including several crowd-pleasing double-handed passing shots.
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"In the beginning, it felt a little tough".
"I don't know if I am totally ready to come back on the Tour yet", she said.
Rublev, selected for the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi as a late call-up after Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic withdrew through injury, was beaten 7-5 6-2 on Thursday. The 14th-ranked Anderson immediately broke Bautista Agut and was never in danger of losing serve in the first set.
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