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Serena Williams loses in first round

The match ended with Serena Williams grinning at the net. She saved her worst shot for last, and after a rare first-round defeat she had to laugh.

Still rusty in her return from giving birth, Williams was unable to overcome a tough opening draw Wednesday at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., and lost to Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-2.

On the final point, Williams thundered forward to attack an easy shot at eye level, hit the ball six feet past the baseline and responded with a sheepish smile.

Not that motherhood has mellowed Williams. She left without talking to reporters.

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The 20-year-old Osaka, who earned her first career title Sunday at Indian Wells, said she was nervous at the start playing her idol for the first time. Osaka said her goal was to avoid Williams winning 6-0, 6-0.

“She’s the main reason I started playing tennis,” Osaka said. “I just wanted her after the match to know who I am.”

Mission accomplished. What did Williams say when they shook hands after the match?

“She said ‘good job’ and stuff,” Osaka said. “I kind of blanked out, but I’m pretty good she said ‘good job.’ ”

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Osaka, who has American and Japanese citizenship and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., raised her profile with last week’s title run and showed no signs of letup and overpowered the erratic Williams. Osaka had the stronger serve and wore Williams down in rallies working her from side to side.


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