serena wins in return from layoff
BRISBANE, Australia — After winning the first match she has played since her U.S. Open final defeat in September, Serena Williams admitted she's dreading another season of grueling workouts but still can't live without tennis.
Williams, 30, had her service broken in the opening game Monday before settling in and beating Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-3 at the Brisbane International. Williams needed just 68 minutes to advance, firing seven aces and taking advantage of eight double faults by Scheepers.
She was asked after the match whether her four-month layoff indicated she may have fallen out of love with tennis.
"It's not that I've fallen out of love … I've never really liked sports, I never understood how I became an athlete," Williams said.
She added, laughing, that she has never liked working out and "I don't want anything that has to do with working physically."
"If it involves sitting down or shopping I am excellent at that. I don't love tennis today … but I can't live without it so I am still here."
Top-seeded Tampa resident Samantha Stosur, advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Anastasiya Yakimova and sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-2. Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic beat Tamira Paszek 6-3, 6-3.
Dakar Rally: Defending bike champion Marc Coma won the second stage of the Dakar Rally and took the category lead after the 185-mile leg in San Rafael, Argentina. In cars, defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah captured the stage while Stephane Peterhansel pulled into the overall lead. This year's rally, has claimed three lives. Argentine bike rider Jorge Martinez Boero died in a crash in Sunday's first stage. On the same day, the pilot of an ultralight plane and his son died when the aircraft went down while following the race.
Cycling: Alejandro Valverde will make his comeback from a two-year doping ban at this month's Tour Down Under, the opening event of the 2012 ProTour in Adelaide, Australia. Valverde was stripped of his No. 1 world ranking and banned for two years from January 2010 after being implicated in Operation Puerto, a blood-doping ring involving more than 50 riders. Valverde never tested positive for a banned drug.
Baseball: Hanley Ramirez says he'll accept a position switch to third base so Marlins newcomer Jose Reyes can play shortstop. Reyes signed a $106 million, six-year deal with Miami last month.
U.S. falls to Denmark in Hopman Cup
The United States lost to Denmark 2-1 at the Hopman Cup, with late-arriving Caroline Wozniacki and Frederik Nielsen beating Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mardy Fish 7-5, 6-3 in the deciding mixed doubles match in Perth, Australia.
Fish gave the United States an opening victory in this Australian Open tuneup, defeating Nielsen 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. The top-ranked Wozniacki made it to the tournament only four hours earlier on a flight from Thailand. She beat Mattek-Sands 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to tie the best-of-three series before the Danish pair combined to win mixed doubles.