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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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.
The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.
“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”
Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.
“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”
Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.
Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.
American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.