(Birmingham) Even aged 43 and ranked 697th in the world, Venus Williams has not said her last word, especially when she plays on her favorite surface.

Williams defeated Italian and world No. 48 Camila Giorgi 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6) in a three-hour grass court duel at the Birmingham Classic on Monday. She scored her first victory in almost four years against a player ranked in the top-50.

The holder of seven major titles, including five at Wimbledon, Williams was sidelined for six months with a thigh injury suffered in Auckland, New Zealand, in the first week of the year.

When she returned to action last week, she lost in the first round at the Libema Open in the Netherlands to 17-year-old Céline Naef.

Williams admitted to having a roller coaster match against Giorgi.

“There were a few moments where I thought it was over and then she found a way to land a spectacular shot,” Williams said. She forced me to play even better than I thought I could and that’s a positive thing for me.

“I haven’t played many games. It’s nice to move on to the next round. »

Third-seeded Magda Linette and No. 5 Anhelina Kalinina also won Monday’s Wimbledon preseason tournament.