Serena Williams' comeback at Mubadala World Tennis Championship ends in defeat

American, 36, loses to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in Abu Dhabi

epa06410187 Serena Williams of the USA reacts in an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 30 December 2017.  EPA/MARTIN DOKOUPIL
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Serena Williams made her eagerly anticipated return to court at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) on Saturday but her comeback ended in defeat to Jelena Ostapenko.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam champion, has not played competitively since winning the Australian Open in January, taking time out from tennis to give birth to her first child.

Her lengthy absence and lack of match fitness ultimately told against French Open champion Ostapenko, who won their contest 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 at the International Tennis Stadium at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.


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After a first set where she looked understandably off the pace, Williams fought back to level the match in the second.

However, after falling 5-0 behind in the deciding championship tie-break, Williams was left with too much ground to make up as Ostapenko won the first ever women’s match at MWTC.