Azarenka makes winning return after break to have baby

She held on to win the first set after stumbling from 4-0 up, but Ozaki's comeback would prove to be meaningful, as she began to frustrate Azarenka, taking the second set and leading by two breaks in the third.

Paris: Former world number one and two-time Grand Slam title victor Victoria Azarenka returns to tennis after a year's absence this week, claiming "I'm ready for a new part of my career".

It was the 27-year-old Belarusian's first match since losing at the French Open in June 2016. "It was a lot of good shots, then a lot of easy mistakes".

Former top-ranked Victoria Azarenka made a winning return to tennis after a year out to have a baby - but she first had to save three match points at the Mallorca Open on Wednesday.

"It was definitely complicated, having to stop and come back for a short amount of time", said Azarenka. When play resumed Wednesday, Azarenka broke Ozaki's serve to level the set, but then lost seven straight points to find herself down a triple match point on Ozaki's serve.

In the second round on Thursday Azarenka will face the seventh seeded player Ana Konjuh.

"I definitely felt better on the tennis court, especially playing-wise", said Azarenka. She battled, saving two match points to stay alive, but unlike Azarenka, Ozaki could not save a third match point.

American CiCi Bellis powered her way into the quarterfinals in Mallorca, rallying from a set down to beat Germany's Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

  • Julie Sanders