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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SINGAPORE — In a match between the last two U.S. Open champions, Sloane Stephens came out on top.
The 2017 champion beat Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 Monday at the WTA Finals, the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world.
Both players are making their debut appearances at the tournament, but Stephens appeared to be more composed while Osaka, who became the first Japanese citizen to win a Grand Slam title last month in New York, never seemed comfortable.
“I’m just really happy to get through and play a good competitive match,” Stephens said on court after the match. “I never gave up. I knew she’s been playing well and I’d have to play really good tennis to beat her.”
Both players struggled to hold serve. Osaka was broken on seven of 19 break-point opportunities, while Stephens was broken on four of 12.
Stephens entered the tournament with 33 wins this season, the least of any of the eight qualifiers. She reached her second career Grand Slam final at this year’s French Open, and won the Miami title.
Osaka continually showed her frustration during the match. When she failed to capitalize on four break points in the fourth game of the second set, she made a visible shrugging gesture with both hands.
Stephens gifted the second set to Osaka when she double-faulted on a second set point in the 10th game. But Osaka appeared to be mentally fatigued and only managed to hold serve in the third game of the final set.
Stephens is now 1-0 in the Red Group, while Osaka is 0-1. Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens are also in the group.
STOCKHOLM — Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek tennis player to win an ATP World Tour title when he beat Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Stockholm Open on Sunday.
The 20-year-old Tsitsipas tossed his racket in the air and put both hands to his head when Gulbis put a forehand into the net after 1 hour, 21 minutes.
Tsitsipas had lost his previous two finals, both times to Rafael Nadal. The No. 145-ranked Gulbis was an easier proposition, though, and Tsitsipas won 80 percent of his service points and didn’t have his serve broken.
“Of course I feel happy because I’m the first Greek (to win an ATP title),” said 16th-ranked Tsitsipas, who became the 12th first-time title-winner on the ATP Tour this year. “Hopefully many Greek players can achieve something like this. I would be super-happy to see them achieve something like this in the future.”
Gulbis had won all six of his finals at ATP tournaments. This was his first since 2014, having beaten top-seeded John Isner in the semifinals.
It was still a great week for Gulbis, who only had four tour-level wins this season before coming to the Swedish capital.
“He played a really good match. He had a great week,” Gulbis said. “I know it’s a big deal to win your first ATP title, so enjoy it. I wish that it’s not the last one.”