That didn't take long.
Seven weeks after returning to tennis, Serena Williams is back in the winner's circle. The 13-time Grand Slam champion defeated Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in the finals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford to win her first tournament title in over a year.
Williams was out of the sport for 11 months as she recovered from various injuries. She began her comeback in June at Eastbourne, then advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon before losing to Bartoli.
Stanford was just the third tournament of her comeback and her first on hard courts.
Though still erratic with her groundstrokes and serve, Serena cruised to the title with little incident. She lost a total of 13 games in the final three rounds, a number which would be impressive against any competition but is especially so considering those matches were against the ninth-ranked Bartoli and Wimbledon semifinalists Maria Sharapova and Sabine Lisicki.
It can't come as good news to the rest of the WTA that Serena says she's not at 100 percent yet. "I still have a lot of room for improvement," she said after the match. "It's really cool."
With the win, Serena should jump from No. 169 to around No. 80 in the WTA rankings. A good run at next week's Rogers Cup in Canada could conceivably get her into the top 32 and earn her a seed at the U.S. Open. Regardless, she'll enter the year's final Grand Slam as a real favorite, not the paper favorite she was at Wimbledon.
Serena Williams may have returned to tennis in Eastbourne, but she came back Sunday in Stanford.