December 31, 2018 / 6:38 PM / 8 months ago

Serena wins return in Hopman Cup

Serena Williams beat Maria Sakkari in straight sets at the Hopman Cup on Monday, winning her first non-exhibition match since losing the U.S. Open final in September after a tantrum.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - December 27, 2018 Serena Williams of the United States gestures before her match against Venus Williams of the United States REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Williams had to shake off the rust to post the 7-6 (3), 6-2 victory in one hour and 44 minutes in the women’s singles match.

The Hopman Cup, played in Perth, Australia, features one man and one woman from eight countries.

Williams, 37, had wraps on both ankles and needed help from trainers during the match, but said she was happy to be back on the court in competition.

“It was my first match back. I was making a lot of errors,” Williams said. “It was great to be back out on match day.”

Last week, Williams lost to her sister Venus in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi.

Williams later teamed with American Frances Tiafoe in mixed doubles against the Greek pair of Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas, but lost in three sets, 4-1, 1-4, 4-2.

In the men’s singles match earlier Monday, No. 15-ranked Tsitsipas beat Tiafoe 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3.

On Tuesday, the United States will take on Switzerland, with Williams and Tiafoe meeting Roger Federer and partner Belinda Bencic in mixed doubles as part of the day’s slate.

Together, Williams and Federer, also 37, have won 43 Grand Slam singles titles. Federer has 20, Williams 23.

“As a player it’s something that you would dream of playing Roger Federer,” Williams told reporters. “It’s only mixed doubles, but still it’s like a dream come true for me.”

“I really look forward to sharing the stadium with him,” added Williams, who will be pursuing a record-equaling 24th major at the Australian Open next month. “It’s going to be special.”

—Field Level Media

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