Ostapenko, this year's surprise French Open victor, triumphed 6-2 3-6 10-5 in their exhibition contest at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships on Saturday, in what was the first meeting between the pair.
Williams admitted her mind wandered to her child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., during the match.
Williams struggled with her serve and Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6 and then 10-5 in a super tiebreaker, but the American still impressed to take a set off the No. 7-ranked Ostapenko after almost a year away from tennis.
It is a surprise to see the American back in action so quickly, but she definitely has her eyes on a 24th Grand Slam trophy in Melbourne, but chose to compete in Abu Dhabi for her comeback, "I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September".
Williams struggled with her serve in the 67-minute match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. "I am definitely looking forward to getting back out there", Williams said. This was such a good time for me. "I am going to assess everything with Patrick [Mouratoglou, her coach] and my team".
Williams has won an Open Era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles. "So, in my eyes, I feel it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me".
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Williams won her opening game, breaking Ostapenko.
It was the returning American who took longer to get up to speed, offering flashes of her familiar best with a handful of heavy forehands but holding serve just once to allow Ostapenko to take control.
By the second set, Williams was more sprightly on her feet and crunching groundstrokes and she broke the Ostapenko serve twice to lead 3-0.
"The first match is always really hard after a break", Williams said.
It could be the ideal test event for Williams, especially after her opponent was revealed to be Jelena Ostapenko, the current world number seven. "I knew I was not going to fall over and break", said Williams.
Meanwhile, Ostapenko sounded delighted in her official statement, mentioning, "I am thrilled to be playing in Abu Dhabi at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship".
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