Serena Williams to Face Zarina Diyas in Pro Return at Indian Wells 2018

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2018

Serena Williams of the United States grimaces as she follows through on a shot during the Tie Break Tens tournament at Madison Square Garden, Monday, March 5, 2018 in New York. The Tie Break Tens' New York event is a one-day day exhibition tournament featuring eight female players competing for a $250,000 winner's prize. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Tennis legend Serena Williams is set to return to the sport at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday, with Zarina Diyas scheduled to face the superstar.

Matt Wilansky of ESPN.com reported the American will play her first match since January of last year after winning the 2017 Australian Open.

Williams took time away from the game after she gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia, but she will now attempt to reign supreme once again as she plays her first competitive tennis of the year.

The two-time Indian Wells champion featured at the recent Tie Break Tens event in New York and appeared in fine fettle as she entertained the crowd.

Per Wilansky, Williams said: "I had a great time. I feel so lucky to be out here, and I'm ready to play."

At 36, Williams is entering the twilight of her career, but the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion remains the benchmark her competitors must measure themselves by.

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