Serena Williams opened her 2013 season Sunday, and she needed less than an hour to beat fellow American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-1 in the...

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Williams prevails

Serena Williams opened her 2013 season Sunday, and she needed less than an hour to beat fellow American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the Brisbane International in Australia.

The third-ranked Williams won 31 of her last 32 matches during the 2012 season, including titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships. She was 58-4 overall.

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“Tomorrow is the last day of the year, so technically I still had my 2012 rep on the line,” she said. “I really needed to win today so I could finish the year with still just the four losses.”

Williams didn’t show any signs of the minor surgery on her big toes that forced her to withdraw from an recent exhibition in Thailand. She moved freely throughout the match.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams — Serena’s sister — and John Isner gave the U.S. team a 2-1 victory over South Africa in Group B at the Hopman Cup mixed team competition in Perth, Australia.


Talks are likely

The NHL and the players’ association seemingly are ready to get back to the bargaining table.

There were no formal negotiations Sunday, but all signs pointed to talks Monday in an effort to end the lockout and save the season. Those would be the first negotiations since the sides met with a federal mediator Dec. 13.

The league and the union had informational discussions — by conference call and in meetings — with staff members that lasted much of Saturday and concluded Sunday, the 106th day of the lockout.

Those talks were spurred by the nearly 300-page contract proposal the NHL presented to the union Thursday.

U.S. juniors lose

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome scored in the first period, and Canada beat the United States 2-1 in Ufa, Russia, to advance to the next round at the junior world championships.

Jacob Trouba scored for the United States, which needs to beat Slovakia on Monday in Group B to move forward.


Jimenez is hurt

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, 48, broke his right tibia while skiing Saturday. The winner of 19 European Tour events had surgery and is expected to be sidelined for up to five months.


Heather Richardson of High Point, N.C., won her third title in three days at the U.S. long-track speedskating championships, setting a national record of 1 minute, 53.84 seconds in winning the 1,500 meters in Kearns, Utah. Brian Hansen of Glenview, Ill., won the men’s race in 1:44.96.

Richardson previously won the 500 and 1,000 with national-record times.

“It’s just a confidence wave,” she said.

• In English soccer, Frank Lampard scored twice for Chelsea in a 2-1 victory at Everton, boosting the team’s hopes of catching leader Manchester United and second-place Manchester City in the Premier League race. Third-place Chelsea has 38 points, 11 behind Manchester United.

Lampard scored the tying goal in the 42nd minute and the winner in the 72nd. The midfielder’s contract expires this summer and he is free to talk to other teams starting Tuesday.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, officials for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer are negotiating with representatives for Lampard, 34.

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