Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 6th 2018 Contents sports A39
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Serena opts out of
Aussie title defence
Serena Williams' decision not to defend her
Australian Open title four months after giv-
ing birth to her irst child had nothing to do
with merely being able to play at Melbourne
The seven-time Australian Open cham-
pion con irmed yesterday she wouldn't at-
tempt to defend the title she won here last
year, saying she wasn't convinced she could
Williams played in an exhibition tour-
nament last weekend in Abu Dhabi to test
her match condition, and indicated after
her loss to French Open champion Jelena
Ostapenko that she might not travel to Mel-
"After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized
that although I am super close, I'm not
where I personally want to be," Williams
said in a statement yesterday. "My coach
and team always said 'Only go to tourna-
ments when you are pre-
pared to go all the way.' I
can compete---but I don't
want to just compete,
I want to do far better
than that and to do so,
I will need a little more
"With that being said,
and even though I am dis-
appointed about it, I've
decided not to compete
in the Australian Open
Williams was pregnant
when she won at Mel-
bourne Park last year,
her Open-era record 23rd
Grand Slam singles title.
She gave birth to her
daughter, Alexis Olympia,
Williams didn't drop
a set while winning last
year's title, and her vic-
tory helped her regain the
world No.1 ranking.
The 36-year-old Williams
needs only one more major
title to equal the all-time record
held by Margaret Court, who won 13 of her 24
Grand Slam titles before the Open era began
Three women have returned after having
babies to win Grand Slam singles titles in the
Open era, including Court and fellow Aus-
tralian Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won
the 1977 Australian Open seven months after
giving birth to daughter, Kelly, and added her
second Wimbledon title in 1980.
Kim Clijsters returned from retirement
after having a daughter, Jada Elle, in February
2008, and won the 2009 US Open in her third
HOUSTON---Stephen Curry had 29 points, Klay Thompson added
28 and the Golden State Warriors pulled away late in the
fourth quarter for a 124 114 victory over the Houston
Rockets on Thursday night.
Draymond Green had a triple-double with 17
points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. The Warriors ex-
tended their road winning streak to nine games and
have won an NBA-best 16 road games this season.
The teams stayed close through most of the game,
but the Warriors had a seven-point lead with about
3 1/2 minutes left. They scored the next ive points,
highlighted by a 3-pointer from Curry, to make it
120 109 and send many of the home fans streaming
for the exits.
The Rockets got 30 points from Eric Gordon, and
Gerald Green came off the bench to score 29 and tie
a career high with eight 3-pointers. Houston played
its second game without injured star James Harden,
out for at least two weeks with a hamstring strain.
The Warriors were short-handed, too, playing with-
out Kevin Durant, who missed the game with strained
right calf. But Andre Iguodala returned after sitting
out Wednesday night with back and hip strains and
had 10 points and eight assists.
Curry added nine rebounds, ive assists and a
steal in his third game back after missing 11 with
a sprained right ankle. (AP)
Westbrook records 13th
'triple' against Clippers
LOS ANGELES---Russell Westbrook had his 13th triple-double of the
season, Paul George scored 31 points and Oklahoma City snapped Los
Angeles' four-game winning streak.
Westbrook inished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in his
latest homecoming. Carmelo Anthony added 22 points for the Thun-
der. DeAndre Jordan led the Clippers with a season-high 26 points and
17 rebounds. Lou Williams had 26 points and Blake Grif in scored 24.
The Thunder have won eight of 10.
They beat the Lakers on Wednesday night and completed a back-to-
back sweep in Los Angeles.
The Clippers led 97 94 at the end of the third quarter, but the Thun-
der---led primarily by their second unit---opened the fourth with a 12 0
run. Los Angeles missed its irst seven shots to begin the period. (AP)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, goes up for a shot as
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin defends during the first half of an
NBA basketball game, Thursday in Los Angeles.
In this January 28, 2017, file photo, Venus Williams
answers questions at a press conference following
her loss to sister Serena in the women's singles
final at the Australian Open tennis championships
in Melbourne, Australia.
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