Serena Williams
Serena Williams Reuters

United States tennis icon Serena Williams made a strong post-pregnancy comeback easing past Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3 in the opening round of the Indian Wells Masters here.

Serena, playing her first WTA Tour singles match in 14 months, confidently demolished her 53rd ranked opponent on Thursday, and will now face Kiki Bertens in the second round, reports Efe.

"It was incredible. It's been over a year, and a kid later, and I get to go home to her now, and I'm excited about that," the record Grand Slam singles titles winner said after the match.

"It definitely wasn't easy I'm a little rusty, but it doesn't matter. I'm just out here on this journey and doing the best I can," added the 36-year-old American.

In other matches, Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico defeated Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3 and 7-6 (3) to move to the second round, where she will face 21st seed Anastasija Sevastova.

Victoria Azarenka, the winner of the tournament in 2012 and 2016, sent the British Heather Watson packing 6-4 and 6-2, and is now set to face world number 13 Sloane Stephens.

In the men's section, Spain's Fernando Verdasco won against Argentina's Guido Pella 6-2, 1-6 and 6-2 in a match that lasted an hour and 29 minutes. Verdasco will likely now face Grigor Dimitrov in the next round.

Argentina's Horacio Zeballos also defeated the Japanese Yuichi Sugita 6-7(5), 6-4 and 7-6(4) in three sets.

In other matches, another Argentinian Nicolas Kicker topped Jiri Vesely 7-5 and 6-3, and Federico Delbonis won against local boy Ryan Harrison 6-2, 4-6 and 7-5.