Williams who gave birth to her first child earlier this year will play current French Open victor Jelena Ostapenko on day three (December 30) at 5pm as she prepares for the year's first Grand Slam next month.
In a match featuring a super tie-break and lasting one hour and seven minutes, Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6, 10-5.
"Motherhood is just phenomenal", she said when asked how she felt about becoming a mother for the first time with baby girl Alexis Olympia.
After a first set where she looked understandably off the pace, Williams fought back to level the match in the second. "I'm taking it one day at a time I'm going to asses everything with Patrick and my team and go from there".
"I am really honoured to play Serena in her first match after coming back and I think it is such a great opportunity for me".
"Given the changes and everything she would've gone through I wouldn't expect her to be out here if she doesn't feel like she's ready to play at her best".
The contest, admittedly with only exhibition status at the Mubadala World Tennis event in Abu Dhabi, suggests that defending her Australian title is within reach of 36 year-old Williams.
Nervous organisers were buoyed by news yesterday that the two-time Wimbledon champion was on a flight to Brisbane following the blow of losing world No. 1 Rafael Nadal for the lead-in tournament to the Australian Open.
"But if anyone is going to come back after a few months, you wouldn't bet against Serena, that's for sure".
"When I was fit and healthy a year ago (2016), you think about winning all the major events, getting to number one and winning every competition that you are in and that is what drives you", Murray told Sky Sports. "It was a really great clay-court season, there I was putting the base for all the good ranking, for all the London thing and everything so of course I try to play as successful as I did".
"To do well here would be an unbelievable feeling but I'm not going to weigh my whole year and rest of career on the next three, four weeks", she said.