Serena Williams ready to return from injury

Serena Williams is set to return from injury at the upcoming Italian Open.

Tournament director Sergio Palmieri said Friday that he spoke with Williams’ agent and that Williams “has already reserved her rooms and should be here a few days early” for the May 13-19 event.

Williams has not played since withdrawing from her third-round match at the Miami Open in March because of a knee injury. She hasn’t played in Rome since winning her fourth title at the clay-court event in 2016, when she beat Madison Keys in the final.

Roger Federer’s status, meanwhile, remains a question mark. Federer’s announced schedule has him playing the Madrid Open next week as his only warm-up for the French Open, which starts May 26.

Federer, 37, skipped the clay season the previous two years.

“Federer is entered to play, which is different from the last two years when he withdrew ahead of time,” Palmieri said. “So the fact that he’s entered means it’s possible for him to play. It’s impossible to predict, though.”

• Federer will move to No. 3 in the world rankings after current No. 3 Alexander Zverev was beaten 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 by Cristian Garin at the Munich Open.

• No. 12 Stanford and No. 24 Cal opened NCAA men’s play with wins to advance to the round of 32. The host Cardinal defeated Fresno State 4-0, while the Bears beat Drake 4-1 in Urbana, Ill.

ELSEWHERE

Serengeti Empress wins Kentucky Oaks

Serengeti Empress went wire-to-wire to win the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks by 1¾ lengths over Liora at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

The dark brown filly rebounded from a seventh-place run in the Fair Grounds Oaks to win the premier race for 3-year-old fillies and earn her second win in three starts this year. Serengeti Empress also gave trainer Tom Amoss his first Kentucky Oaks victory.

Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Serengeti Empress covered 1 ⅛ miles 1:50.17 and paid $28, $14.80 and $9.60. Liora returned $32.60 and $17, and Lady Apple paid $7 to show.

NFL: The Arizona Cardinals have signed tight end Maxx Williams to a one-year contract. Williams, 25, had 16 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown in 13 games with Baltimore last season, his fourth with the Ravens.

College football: Duke extended head coach David Cutcliffe’s contract through the 2022 season, a two-year extension. Terms were not disclosed.

Motor sports: Chase Elliott followed his first NASCAR Cup win of the season with a pole at Dover, Del, topping the speed chart on a blistering day with a record 165.960 mph.

• Johnny Sauter won for the third straight time at Dover, racing to his first NASCAR Truck Series victory of the season.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Serena-Williams-ready-to-return-from-injury-13818447.php.

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