http://www.cincytennis.com/en/players/gallery/2006/071506/f_1.jpg http://www.cincytennis.com/en/players/gallery/2006/071506/f_2.jpg http://www.cincytennis.com/en/photos/swilliams_2006cincy_sat1_150200.jpg Serena Williams Hits The Practice Courts, Draws Myskina First Round MASON – July 15, 2006 – As Serena Williams was hitting the Lindner Family Tennis Center practice courts for the first time, she was given one of the toughest opening round opponents, as the main draw ceremony took place Saturday at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open. Williams, who has had to take nearly six months off the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour due to a left knee injury, is making her return to professional competition this week at the $175,000, Tier III event, and looked very sharp as she practiced on an outside court with mother and coach, Oracene, at her side. In returning to the Tour, the 24-year-old American brings back one of the great talents of our time, one that has taken her to seven Grand Slam singles titles and the No.1 ranking, among numerous other accomplishments. Unseeded at this event, Williams will have to be at her best in her opening match, however, as she faces the tournament's No.2 seed, Anastasia Myskina. Myskina, currently ranked No.11, has also had a lot of success on the world's biggest tennis stages, winning the French Open in 2004 and rising to the No.2 ranking later that year. After a somewhat disappointing beginning to this season, the 25-year-old Russian has been in solid form as of late, winning 14 of her last 18 matches, her most impressive showing being a runner-up finish at Eastbourne, upsetting Svetlana Kuznetsova before falling to Justine Henin-Hardenne in a third set tie-break. The match between Williams and Myskina is just one of many intriguing first round encounters lined up for Monday and Tuesday in Cincinnati. Stay tuned for more on the upcoming excitement.