There was a little rust to shake off on her return but all the same Serena was too strong, and too good, for her world 70-ranked opponent to set up a meeting with Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the next round.
The very first game featured an ace at 112 miles per hour (181 kph) and when it ended with Pliskova netting a backhand, the chair umpire intoned, "Jeu, Madame Williams", - French for "Game, Mrs. Williams", a change from the "Mademoiselle" officials use for unmarried female players.
But she showed flashes of fine form in her straight-set but hardly straightforward victory over Pliskova, the unseeded and left-handed twin sister of Karolina Pliskova, the No. 6 seed here.
Barty, just 17 then and prior to an 18-month hiatus from tennis, has since established herself in the world's top 20 - and Williams is super wary of the threat the Australian poses.
Williams wore a black body suit with long leggings and a red waistband for her first-round French Open match at Court Philippe Chatrier. "It's really fun. Although we designed it way before the movie, but still, it kind of reminds me of that".
'She played really well; she made a lot of aces (15). It is also her first match on clay since losing the 2016 final in the same arena to Garbine Muguruza.More news: MS Dhoni Celebrates IPL Title With Family, Thanks Mumbai for Support
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"She's playing unbelievable, and she's had such an fantastic year last year and this year as well", said the three-times French Open champion and former world No.1.
She had deliberately held back from a return, skipping Rome and Madrid, in order to make sure she was ready to compete on what is her least natural surface, training at the academy belonging to her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
The very first game featured an ace at 112 m.p.h., and when it ended with Pliskova netting a backhand, the chair umpire intoned, "Jeu, Madame Williams", - French for "Game, Mrs. Williams, " a change from the "mademoiselle" officials use for unmarried female players.
"I'm so glad to win a match here and I'm taking it one day at a time".
- Williams breaks back for 1-2 and they are back on serve.
Beginning his bid for a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros, Nadal needed to erase four set points to close things out Tuesday.
Nadal hasn't ceded a set at the French Open since 2015, when he was beaten in the quarterfinals by Novak Djokovic. But already, after one match, she looked a lot more like the Serena of old.