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Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia reacts after winning a point in her second round match against Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013.
BRISBANE, Australia—Serena Williams' first competitive match of the season, on New Year's Eve, was by no means perfect, but a 6-4, 6-4 win over Andrea Petkovic at the Brisbane International was a decent start against a player with a career-high ranking of No. 9.

Top-ranked Williams was understandably below her best after the offseason. She did a quick little dance behind the baseline in the first set to remind herself to move her feet, and after a complete air swing at the net in the second set, she smiled ruefully and drew in some long, deep breaths.

She also netted a service return on her first match point, but still did enough to progress.

Top-ranked Williams started 2013 in Brisbane with a title, the first of 11 for the year that included two major championships. She's back with the aim of carrying the momentum into 2014. She's already into the quarterfinals.