Serena Williams fell to defeat in her first match in almost a year against French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko today, Saturday.
Ostapenko, 20, triumphed 6-2 3-6 10-5 in their exhibition contest at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, in what was the first meeting between the pair.
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 the Abu Dhabi event.
Speaking after the match, Williams, who had not played competitively since winning her 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open back in January, said, “I’m excited. It’s good to be back on the court. This was such a good time for me. … First matches back are always super-incredibly hard, especially after having a baby. It was great. I was glad I could do it here.”
The great American would now be looking forward to defending her Australian Open title with the tournament set to kick off in two weeks’ time. Although, she’s not officially stated if she’ll play in the tournament, but the tournament director, Craig Tiley has said that Williams was “very likely” to defend her title in the first Grand Slam of 2018.