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Serena Williams makes successful return, wins first match since giving birth

She said she was a little rusty, but Serena Williams had few problems as she won her first match in 14 months.

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Williams, who took a break after the birth of her first child, defeated Zarina Divas of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday night, ESPN reported.

"It was incredible,'' Williams said after the 90-minute match. “It's been over a year and a kid later and I get to go home to her now, and I'm excited about that.''

Williams last competed in January 2017, when she won the Australian Open. She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. six months ago.

Her husband, Redditt co-founder Alexis Ohanian, was in Williams’ box to watch, along with her mother Oracene, and sisters Lyndrea and Isha, ESPN reported. Older sister Venus Williams watched from a balcony seat in an upper-level box.

"It definitely wasn't easy,'' Serena Williams said. "We always have a couple tight sets. It was good. I'm a little rusty, but it doesn't matter. I'm just out here on this journey and doing the best I can.''

Roger Federer becomes first man to win 20 Grand Slam singles titles

Roger Federer became the first man to win 20 Grand Slam tennis singles titles Sunday, defeating Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 to capture his record-tying sixth Australian Open championship.

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Federer tied Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic with his sixth Australian crown and has won three of the last five major tournaments, ESPN reported.

“I'm so happy. It's unbelievable,” said Federer, who broke down in tears after the victory. “Of course, winning is an absolute dream come true -- the fairy tale continues for me.

“After the great year I had last year, it's incredible.”

In addition to his six Australian Open titles, Federer’s Grand Slam résumé includes eight Wimbledon titles, five U.S. Open championships and one French Open title. 

Sunday’s victory meant that Federer, at 36 years and 173 days, is the second-oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era. Ken Rosewall won the 1972 Australian Open when he was 37.

Federer has spent 302 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world during his career and now owns 96 titles. 

“Big congratulations to Roger and his team -- it's amazing what you guys do," Cilic said. "It was an amazing journey for me to come here to the final. I had a slight chance at the beginning of the fifth (set), but Roger played a great fifth set.”

Federer now owns a 9-1 record against Cilic, including a victory in last year’s Wimbledon final.

Tennis greats weighed in with their congratulations.

Tennis greats weighed in with their congratulations.

“Nobody makes me cry like Roger Federer,” tweeted Chris Evert, an 18-time Grand Slam winner and two-time Australian Open women’s singles title winner. “No one. … there is no one like him.”

“Congratulations Roger -- the GOAT!!” tweeted Martina Navratilova, another 18-time Grand Slam champion who won three women’s titles in Australia.

Billie Jean King added her best wishes as well, tweeting “Congratulations to @rogerfederer@AustralianOpen men’s singles champion and GOAT!”

Meanwhile, Rod Laver, who won 11 Grand Slams and three titles in his native Australia, called the six Australian titles won by Federer, Emerson and Djokovic as “Astonishing then, incredible now.”

Caroline Wozniacki first Dane to win Grand Slam tennis title

Caroline Wozniacki now can savor a major victory. Plus, the Dane will regain the top spot in women’s tennis.

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Wozniacki won her first Grand Slam tennis title Saturday when she defeated top-seeded Simona Halep 7-6 (7-2), 3-6 to capture the women’s singles title at the Australian Open.

On a broiling day in Melbourne, the second-seeded Wozniacki outdueled Halep in a match that lasted nearly three hours to become the first player from Denmark to win a Grand Slam singles event.

“My voice is shaking,” Wozniacki said as she held the championship trophy aloft. “I never cry, but this is an emotional moment.”

It was the first time in the Open era of tennis that players ranked No. 1 and 2 met in a major final without either player having a Grand Slam title to their credit, ESPN reported.

Because of the high temperatures, the heat rule was implemented for the first time during the tournament, CNN reported. Each player took medical timeouts, and their stamina was challenged as two games lasted more than 10 minutes.

Finally securing a Grand Slam was a relief for Wozniacki, who lost in the finals at the U.S. Open in 2009 and 2014. She will never be remembered as a player who was ranked No. 1 in women’s tennis for 85 weeks -- including 67 in a row in 2011-2012 -- but could not win a major title.

“I think that's one of the most positive things about all of this,” Wozniacki said. “I'm never going to get that question again. I'm just waiting for the question, ‘When are you going to win the second one?’

“Right now I'm just happy I have this one, and I'm going to really enjoy this moment.”

Wozniacki will regain that No. 1 spot again Monday when the new rankings are released, CNN reported.

Halep was trying to become the second women’s player from Romania to win a Grand Slam singles event. Her manager, Virginia Ruzici, won the French Open women’s singles title in 1978.

Beloved sports broadcasting legend Dick Enberg dies

Beloved Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Dick Enberg, whose exuberant “Oh my!” calls resonated with fans, died Thursday, his wife and daughter confirmed to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

He was 82.

Enberg was a versatile broadcaster, covering 10 Super Bowls, 28 Wimbledon tennis tournaments and eight NCAA basketball title games when he was the play-by-play voice of UCLA during its dynasty in the 1960s and ’70s, the Union Tribune reported.

His last full-time job was as the television voice of baseball’s San Diego Padres. He retired from that position in 2016 after calling games for seven years. He also called games on radio for the California Angels and the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.

Enberg worked for NBC, CBS and ESPN, and his “Oh, my!” call became a legendary punctuation mark after a dramatic play.

He won the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award (2015), the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Rozelle Award (1999) and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Gowdy Award (1995).

Enberg's daughter, Nicole, said the family became concerned when he didn't arrive on his flight to Boston on Thursday, ESPN reported. 

Enberg was found dead at his home in La Jolla, a San Diego neighborhood, with his bags packed. The family said it believes he had a heart attack, but is awaiting official word, ESPN reported.

“I’m heartbroken,” former Padres broadcast booth partner Mark Grant told the Union-Tribune. “It’s so sad. I thought Dick was the type of guy who was going to live until he was 100, going on the circuit, talking to everybody about baseball and football and tennis.”

Enberg joined NBC Sports in 1975 and worked for the network for 25 years. He was paired for many years with former Los Angeles Rams football star Merlin Olsen. He is the only person to win Emmy Awards as a sportscaster, a writer and a producer, ESPN reported.

Enberg also was a game show host, working as the emcee for the sports-oriented “Sports Challenge” from 1971 to 1979. The show pitted athletes from different teams in a quiz show format.

Recently, Enberg began hosting a podcast called “Sound of Success,” interviewing stars such as Billie Jean King, Bill Walton, Johnny Bench and Steve Kerr.

He told the Union-Tribune earlier this week that he hoped to lure NBA legend Magic Johnson, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and actor Jack Nicholson to his online show.

“At the very top of the list,” he said, “is Serena Williams.”

Venus Williams' Florida home burglarized, $400,000 in goods stolen during U.S. Open

The Florida residence tennis star Venus Williams calls home was burglarized as she played in the U.S. Open in September, according to a Palm Beach Gardens police report released Thursday.

>> Watch the news report here

Though what was taken from the home at BallenIsles Country Club is redacted from the report, police indicate more than $400,000 worth of items were taken from the residence.

>> Serena Williams shares wedding photos in new interview

Palm Beach Gardens police indicate in the report that the last time the items were known to be in the home was Sept. 1, the day Williams’s sister, Serena, gave birth to her first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

That was the same day Williams beat Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari in the U.S. Open in New York. Williams made it to the semifinals where she lost to U.S. player Sloane Stephens in three sets on Sept. 7.

The burglary was reported on Sept. 5, according to the report.

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This is not the first time this year Williams has been part of a Palm Beach Gardens police report. On June 9, Williams collided with Linda and Jerome Barson at an intersection near her home. Jerome Barson died weeks later from complication of blunt traumatic injuries.

Williams was not charged in the crash, but Barson’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against her.

Venus Williams posts personal response about deadly crash on Facebook

Tennis superstar Venus Williams took to Facebook to respond for the first time on a June 9 intersection crash resulting in a 78-year-old man’s death. 

“I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident,” Williams said on her Facebook page. “My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”

The news of Williams’ crash surfaced on Thursday, three weeks after the incident. 

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RELATED: Venus Williams in Palm Beach Gardens crash resulting in man’s death

A police report from Palm Beach Gardens found Williams to be at fault for “violating” the right of way, but an investigation continues.  

The wife of the crash victim, Esther Linda Barson,, told police she proceeded westbound through a green light and T-boned Williams’ car. Her husband suffered head injuries and was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he died on June 22. 

RELATED: How will three new developments transform Northlake Boulevard?

Williams told police she stopped in the median break when traffic forced her to stop, the police report said. She then drove her 2010 Toyota Sequoia through the intersection and she didn’t see Barson’s 2016 Hyundai Accent. 

The family of Jerome Barson filed a wrongful death lawsuit the day after news became public of the fatal crash. The court document demanded a trial by jury and judgment for damages against Williams with interest and costs.

UPDATE: Lawyer for victim’s family in Venus Williams crash ‘devastated’

Top-seeded Kerber stunned in first round of French Open 

Angelique Kerber became the first top-seeded women’s player in the Open era of tennis to lose in the first round of the French Open, falling 6-2, 6-2 to Ekaterina Makarova on Sunday. 

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Makarova was successful against Kerber’s serve and took advantage of the No. 1 seed’s numerous mistakes to earn the victory.

The momentum seemed to turn toward Kerber late in the second set as she grabbed a break. But she promptly double-faulted to hand the advantage back to Makarova.

The result will allow Karolina Pliskova or Simona Halep to overtake Kerber for the No. 1 spot with deep runs into the tournament, according to Bleacher Report. Pliskova can clinch the top spot with an appearance in the final, while Halep will need to win the tournament.

Ilie Nastase under fire for comment about Serena Williams

Tennis great Ilie Nastase could face censure after apparently making a racist comment about Serena Williams' pregnancy, ESPN reported.

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At a news conference to tout Romania’s Fed Cup playoff against Great Britain, Romania's captain apparently made a comment about Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion who announced she was pregnant with her first child Wednesday with fiancé Alexis Ohanian.

"Let's see what color it has,” Nastase said, according to ESPN. “Chocolate with milk?"

Williams, who won the Australian Open in January, said she was taking time off from the tour to have her baby. Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, is white.

Nastase was not directly asked about Williams, but made the comment, in Romanian and clearly audible, to the other players while team No. 1 player Simona Halep was answering a question about Williams.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said it has launched an investigation. In a statement, officials said that “The ITF does not tolerate discriminatory and offensive language and behavior of any kind. We are aware of alleged comments made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase and have begun an immediate investigation so that we have the full facts of the situation before taking further and appropriate action."

The Romanian tennis federation declined comment.

It’s the second time in a month that Nastase has made controversial comments about Williams, ESPN reported. After being appointed Romania’s Fed Cup captain in October, Nastase made unsubstantiated allegations of doping against Williams, based entirely on her physique.

Serena Williams shares another shot from Mexico vacation

Tennis star Serena Williams announced she was pregnant on Snapchat earlier this week as she shared — and then deleted — a photo of her baby bump with the cryptic caption “20 weeks” from her vacation in Mexico.

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The world’s top-ranked female player shared another shot from her getaway with fiancé and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian on Instagram, Today reported. The 35-year-old is looking out over the Caribbean Sea at the edge of Mayan ruins in Tulum. Earlier, Williams posted a photo of herself and Ohanian horsing around in New Zealand last January.

Williams has won 72 career WTA titles during her career. She has won 23 Grand Slams in singles competition and has 14 in women's doubles. She also won two Grand Slam events in mixed doubles.

Serena Williams confirms pregnancy; tennis star might have competed while pregnant

Serena Williams is pregnant. 

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The Wimbledon champion posted a photo Wednesday on Snapchat announcing that she is 20 weeks into her pregnancy.

Full-term pregnancies are generally 40 weeks long. Williams is expected to give birth in the fall. 

Williams later deleted the photo before releasing public comment.

“I’m happy to confirm Serena is expecting a baby this fall,” William’s spokeswoman, Kelly Bush Novak, said.

Bush Novak said Wednesday that the 35-year-old tennis star will take maternity leave for the rest of the year, with plans to return to the circuit in 2018.

Williams’ fellow tennis pro athletes and other celebrities wished her well on social media.

If Williams is 20 weeks into her pregnancy, she competed in the Australian Open in January while she was two months pregnant. She went on to win her 23rd Grand Slam tournament singles title.

Williams is the highest-paid female athlete, earning an annual salary of about $29 million, according to Reuters.

Williams recently posted a photo on social media of herself and her fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

The two became engaged in December and announced their engagement on Reddit. 

Last week, Williams posted a photo on Instagram congratulating former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland on her new book, “Whoa, Baby!: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened).”

“This book Kelly wrote is a guide for new moms. One of these days I hope to apply this (but for now I'll stick to my dog Chip),” Williams wrote on Instagram. “The introduction is hilarious and had me hooked from the first word!” 

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