TENNIS

Serena Williams returns, falls in exhibition match

Serena Williams lost in her return to competitive tennis after giving birth, going down to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.

“I don’t think I am going to rate my performance,” Williams said. “I have plenty of comebacks, from injuries, from surgeries, but I’ve never had a comeback after actually giving birth to a human being. So, in my eyes, I feel it was a wonderful, wonderful match for me.”

Williams struggled with her serve and No. 7 ranked Ostapenko won 6-2, 3-6 and then 10-5 in a super tiebreaker.

QATAR OPEN: Novak Djokovic withdrew from the event next week, a warmup for the Australian Open, saying he still has pain in his right elbow. The problem already forced him to withdraw from the UAE exhibitions on Friday.

HOPMAN CUP: Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe gave the United States a perfect start to the mixed-team Hopman Cup event by winning their singles matches in the opening tie against Russia in Perth, Australia. The Russian team won the mixed doubles event.

FOOTBALL

NFL: The New York Giants fired Marc Ross, the team’s vice president of player evaluation for the last five seasons, in Dave Gettleman’s first move as the team’s new general manager. Ross was one of the candidates to interview for the GM job.

The Jets placed running back Matt Forte on injured reserve, possibly ending his stint in New York.

The 32-year-old Forte had been playing with swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. He finished with a career-low 381 yards rushing.

 The Vikings placed long snapper Kevin McDermott on injured reserve, forcing them to break in a new specialist right before the playoffs.

HOCKEY

WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Elias Pettersson and Lias Andersson each had two goals and an assist and Sweden beat Switzerland 7-2 at Buffalo, New York, to move to 3-0 and wrap up Group B.

In another Group B game, the Czech Republic beat Belarus 6-5 to improve to 2-1.

SKIING

U.S. TRIALS: Bryan Fletcher qualified for his second consecutive Olympic team in Nordic combined after rallying for a win at Park City, Utah.

Fletcher finished the 10-kilometer cross-country in 25 minutes, 6.81 seconds to overcome a poor showing in the earlier ski jump. He placed fifth out of nine athletes after jumping 86.5 meters and scoring 102.3 points.

SOCCER

PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea left Eden Hazard on the bench and still overwhelmed Stoke in a 5-0 win at London, with the first three goals coming in the opening 23 minutes.

 Romelu Lukaku was carried off on a stretcher after a clash of heads during Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at home to Southampton.

 Mohamed Salah scored twice to match Roger Hunt’s club record for goals scored before the turn of the year as host Liverpool came from behind to beat Leicester 2-1.

– Staff and news service report