KAMRAN JEBRELLI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Serena Williams lost in her return to tennis after giving birth in September, beaten by French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and still unsure if she will defend her Australian Open title. Williams called it a ‘‘wonderful’’ match despite the defeat. The world No. 7 Ostapenko won, 6-2, 3-6, and 10-5 in a super tiebreaker. The Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, begins Jan. 15. ‘‘I don’t know if I am totally ready to come back on the tour yet,’’ Williams said. “I know that when I come back I definitely want to be competing for championships. I am definitely looking forward to getting back out there.’’ Williams, 36, took time off after winning the Australian Open last January while pregnant . . . Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next week’s Qatar Open, his warm-up tournament for the Australian Open, saying he still has pain in his right elbow. That problem forced him to withdraw from an exhibition tournament in the United Arab Emirates on Friday . . . Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe gave the United States a perfect start to the 30th edition of the mixed team Hopman Cup by winning their singles matches in the opening tie against Russia in Perth, Australia. Sock beat Karen Khachanov, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, and Vandeweghe defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3, 6-3. The Russian team won the mixed doubles, 3-4 (3-5), 4-1, 4-2, under the FAST4 format in the final match of the tie. World No.2 Roger Federer overpowered Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, 6-4, 6-3, to help Switzerland wrap up its tie with Japan.
Stephen Curry made a sensational return from injury by scoring 38 points with a season-high 10 3-pointers, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 141-128, in Oakland, Calif. Curry shot 13 for 17 and 10 of 13 from deep in 26 minutes for his ninth 30-point game this season after missing 11 games with a sprained right ankle . . . Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points, and the host Utah Jazz handed LeBron James (29 points) and the Cleveland Cavaliers their third straight defeat, 104-101 . . . On the heels of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s winning bucket Friday, on which the Milwaukee Bucks star stepped on the baseline before finishing a dunk to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA’s competition committee will add that type of play to the agenda for discussion at its meeting in March, said league spokesman Tim Frank, ESPN.com reported.
Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg will miss at least three games after he was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. In 37 games this season, Forsberg leads the Predators with 15 goals and 34 points and is tied for the team lead with 19 assists. The Predators did not offer a specific timetable for Forsberg’s return . . . The Calgary Flames acquired defenseman Dalton Prout from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for goalie Eddie Lack.
The New York Giants fired Marc Ross, the team’s vice president of player evaluation for the last five seasons. New general manager Dave Gettleman announced the move, his first since rejoining the franchise. ESPN reported the Gettleman also waived disgruntled right tackle Bobby Hart. Ross joined the Giants in 2007, serving six years as director of college scouting. Ross was in charge of the Giants’ draft, along with previous GM Jerry Reese, who was let go this month . . . The Minnesota Vikings placed long snapper Kevin McDermott on injured reserve, forcing them to break in a new specialist right before the playoffs.
Romelu Lukaku was carried off on a stretcher after a clash of heads during Manchester United's 0-0 draw at home to Southampton in soccer’s English Premier League. Lukaku fell to the ground when Southampton defender Wesley Hoedt’s head went into the back of the striker’s head in an aerial challenge in the 14th minute. Lukaku, wearing an oxygen mask, was carried off to applause from both sets of fans . . . Skier Bryan Fletcher qualified for his second consecutive Olympic team in Nordic Combined after rallying for a victory at the US Trials in Park City, Utah. Fletcher started the 10K race 1 minute, 24 seconds behind leader Ben Loomis. He made up ground quickly and overtook Loomis toward the end of the fourth lap. From there, Fletcher pulled away just enough to clinch an Olympic spot on his final lap.
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