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Serena plays exhibition in Abu Dhabi

Serena Williams of the US (PETER PARKS / AFP)

Serena Williams of the US (PETER PARKS / AFP)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Serena Williams is returning to competition with an exhibition match Saturday in Abu Dhabi against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Williams has not competed since winning the Australian Open last January while she was pregnant. She will face Latvia’s Ostapenko at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in the first year that women will be taking part, tournament organizers announced Sunday.

“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September,” the 36-year-old Williams said in a statement.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record for the professional era. She is expected to compete for her 24th at the Australian Open, the first major of the year.

Williams gave birth to a girl named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on Sept. 1. She married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November.

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