Bianca Andreescu made a triumphant return to tennis at the Stuttgart Open. (Photo by Harry Langer/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Former world No. 4 Bianca Andreescu made her return to the tennis court at the Stuttgart Open, taking down Julie Niemeier 7-6(5), 6-3 in the opening round of the tournament.

The 2019 US Open champion had not played in a professional-level tennis match in seven months. She opted out of the Australian Open in early December in order to take a mental health break.

Ahead of her season debut, she told WTA Insider that she considered retirement but ultimately felt a fire to return.

Andreescu had to rally after falling behind 5-3 in the first set but bounced back to take the 1-hour, 44-minute victory. She hit 22 winners and six aces and saved five of the six break points she faced.

“I felt that it took me a while to get my rhythm, but she presented very good tennis,” Andreescu told WTA Insider after the match. “I’m just super happy with how I dealt with everything; especially towards the end of the match, I felt like I had a clear mindset, but it was definitely very emotional, so to get out of that state was hard, but I’m glad that I managed.

“I got a little teary-eyed at one changeover, because I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m back playing again and I’m feeling good.'”

She’ll move on to face last year’s finalist and No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the two’s first tour-level meeting.

Elsewhere, Daria Kasatkina rallied from an early 4-0 deficit at Stuttgart to take a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Coco Gauff. She ran off 12 of 14 games against the world No. 16 to improve her head-to-head record against the teenager to 2-0.

Kasatkina will next face No. 7 seed Ons Jabeur.

Karolina Pliskova edged out her Czech compatriot Petra Kvitova 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) in their first meeting since the 2018 WTA Finals. She’ll next face off against Liudmila Samsonova in the second round.

Iga Swiatek continued her winning ways after the Miami Open, rattling off her 20th win in a row and her 26th set win in a row against Eva Lys, 6-1, 6-1.

It’s the longest set winning streak since Serena Williams rattled off 28 in a row between the 2012 US Open and 2013 Australian Open. Swiatek has lost just seven games in her past four matches.