Eastbourne - Venus Williams took delayed revenge for a match she had to abandon nearly five months ago by beating eighth seed Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 at Eastbourne on Monday.
The unseeded Williams carries a number 32 world ranking after last competing on January 21 in the Australian Open third round, when she had to quit after one game against the German due to an abdominal injury.
Along with her sister Serena - out for the past year following her 2010 Wimbledon title due to a cut foot and blood clot issues in her lungs - Venus is making a low-key warm-up for Wimbledon, which starts in a week.
Petkovic went a break up in the first set but could not hold it as the experience of Williams, who turns 31 on Friday, paid dividends.
The world No 11 German salvaged the second set to level the match after clawing back a break from Williams, only for the American to raise her game in the third set to secure a comeback victory in two hours and 35 minutes.
She next plays the winner from the match between German Julia Goerges and former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia at an event featuring seven of the WTA's top 10.
On the men's ATP side of the draw, Czech veteran Radek Stepanek started with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Briton Colin Fleming.
Results on Monday from the Eastbourne International grass-court event at Devonshire Park (seedings in parentheses):
Radek Stepanek, Czech Republic, def. Colin Fleming, Britain, 6-3, 6-4.
Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria, def. Daniel Evans, Britain, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Igor Kunitsyn, Russia, def. Pablo Andujar (7), Spain, 7-5, 6-1.
Venus Williams, United States, def. Andrea Petkovic (8), Germany, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Petra Kvitova (5), Czech Republic, def. Anastasija Sevastova, Latvia, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland, def. Jarmila Gajdosova, Australia, 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Samantha Stosur (7), Australia, def. Nadia Petrova, Russia, 6-1, 6-4.
Victoria Azarenka (3), Belarus, def. Peng Shuai, China, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Spain, def. Shahar Peer, Israel, 7-5, 6-3