The last time she had appeared in a grand slam tournament was at the Australian Open in 2017, when she won it while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.
It was a far from easy first Grand Slam appearance back for the American, but she closed out a hard-fought win in two tight sets.
She will face No. 17 seed Ashleigh Barty in the second round. That she is now ranked 451 in the WTA rankings is an irrelevance - more pertinent is that she finished 2017 ranked 22, having played only two events all year.
She went 2-2 in tour matches this year, and had not played since March.
Her haul of 23 Grand Slam singles crowns beats Steffi Graf's total by one, and is just one shy of Margaret Court's record 24.
In Jordan, Israel and Iran secretly negotiate future of Syria
Elaph sources said Iran understood that its heavy losses in Syria resulted from Israeli attacks in the country. By that, he implied a USA and Turkish military presence is unwanted in Syria.
But Serena finally emerged with the lead to get ahead 4-3, and she held onto that lead to finish the 73rd main draw match at Roland Garros - the most matches played here in Paris amongst active 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. She watches every single tennis match she possibly can, scheduling her limited vacation times around tournaments just to be able to watch every match. Pliskova, who hit 10 aces, loses set with a wild forehand. She was given a tough challenge by Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp, but Sharapova eventually prevailed 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. Two years has been a really long time since my last match on clay but I feel good.
After beating Williams in the 2016 final, Muguruza's title defense was ended in the fourth round past year. I had a baby but I am so happy to be back.
Garcia, who hasn't lost in a Grand Slam event to an opponent ranked as low as No.111 Duan since falling to No.114 Siniakova at 2016 Wimbledon, extended to 16-9 her record in Slam first-round matches.
French Open organizers stick rigidly to the WTA rankings, so would not seed Serena.