WASHINGTON — Venus Williams lost to Rebecca Marino of Toronto on Monday in her return to singles play after more than a year away.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington in her first singles match since last August.
Before the hard-court tune-up for the U.S. Open, Williams last played singles in Chicago on Aug. 23, 2021, when she lost to Su-Wei Hseih. Williams played mixed doubles with Jamie Murray at Wimbledon.
In other action on the women's side, top-seeded Jessica Pegula and former top-ranked Simona Halep advanced.
Pegula beat fellow American Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 6-2. Halep defeated Cristina Bucsa of Spain 6-3, 7-5 after adjusting to a different surface following grass-court season.
"I had a good run in Wimbledon, so it's always tough to start,'' Halep said. "But I'm really happy I won the match and I can play another match here.''
On the men's side, former No. 1 Andy Murray lost his opening match 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-1 to Swede Mikael Ymer. Murray started cramping at the end of the first set and struggled to recover.
"It was disappointing, obviously,'' Murray said." I thought there was some good tennis in the first set. After that, both of us were struggling a bit physically. The level of the tennis was not great.''
Countryman Kyle Edmund defeated qualifier Yosuke Watanuki 6-4, 7-6(8) to win his first ATP Tour-level singles match since October 2020.
Edmund, who was once the top-ranked Brit and climbed as high as 14th in the world, was out while recovering from three knee surgeries.
During his rehab, Edmund pictured himself back on the court in moments like this.
"There was long periods where I was just out, couldn't play, didn't pick a racket up. ... It just wasn't fun at all,'' he said. "These sort of matches or these events are something you imagine when you're out.''