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Serena Williams’ coach says she will return for French Open

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ROME (AP) Serena Williams’ coach says she will play the French Open beginning in two weeks.

The tournament will mark the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s first major since returning to the tour from maternity leave.

Coach Patrick Mouratoglou tells the WTA tour’s website, “Serena will play the French Open to win it.”

Williams returned to the tour briefly this year, after a 14-month absence to give birth to her daughter. But she withdrew from last week’s Madrid Open and this week’s Italian Open.

Mouratoglou says when Williams arrived to train with him in France late last month, “We realized that she was not ready yet. The time she lost after the delivery with all the medical issues she had to go through, was missing.”

Mouratoglou adds, “That is the reason why we decided to skip Madrid and Rome as she needed five weeks to be perfectly ready. … I am very satisfied and confident that she will be ready for Roland Garros.”

Williams, a three-time French Open champion, has not played since a first-round loss to Naomi Osaka in March at the Miami Open.

Roland Garros starts on May 27.

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Larsson beats Riske to win Nuremberg Cup

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NUREMBERG, Germany — Swedish player Johanna Larsson won her first WTA singles title in three years by beating Alison Riske of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the final of the Nuremberg Cup on Saturday.

Her only other career singles victory was on home soil at Bastad in 2015.

Having come from a set down to win matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Larsson rallied from a break down in the first set and won the last four points of the tiebreaker. Larsson then won the final five games to take the match and deny Riske a second career singles title.

“When I held for 4-2, I could see some signs that she was a little bit tired,” Larsson said, “and that gave me a lot of energy to fight back.”

Pavlyuchenkova labors past Cibulkova to win at Strasbourg

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STRASBOURG, France — Third-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia won the Strasbourg International after laboring to a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6) win against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia on Saturday.

They spent 3 hours, 35 minutes on court in a grueling contest, which ended when Pavlyuchenkova sealed victory on her second serve.

Pavlyuchenkova won her first title of the year and 12th overall, beating Cibulkova for the fourth time in their 11 career meetings.

Fifth-seeded Cibulkova was bidding for her ninth career title.

Both players head to the French Open in Paris, where first-round play starts Sunday.

Cibulkova reached the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2009, while Pavlyuchenkova reached her only quarterfinal there in 2013.