Headlines from around the world in sports
Smith wins season opener
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Regan Smith won the season-opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway by edging Brad Keselowski at the finish line in overtime yesterday.
It was redemption for Smith, who was leading on the last lap a year ago when he tried to block Keselowski to preserve the win. It triggered a 12-car accident that sent Kyle Larson’s car into the fence. Nearly 30 fans were injured from debris that sailed into the grandstands.
Keselowski finished second, .013 seconds behind. The finish was the second-closest at Daytona International Speedway and seventh closest in series history. Trevor Bayne was third.
NASCAR considers limiting drivers’ double duty
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Busch’s thrilling move in the final few hundred feet of the Truck Series season opener led to his 99th win outside NASCAR’s top series.
The victory infuriated many fans. NASCAR heard them loud and clear.
NASCAR said yesterday it is looking at potentially limiting the number of second- and third-tier events Sprint Cup regulars can run during the season. Officials have already talked about a potential rules adjustments, and Busch’s win Friday night surely will lead to more discussions.
Browns coach dismisses Harbaugh report as ‘noise’
INDIANAPOLIS – New Cleveland Coach Mike Pettine called a report “noise” that the Browns tried to trade for Jim Harbaugh.
The Pro Football Talk website reported Friday that before hiring Pettine last month Cleveland had a deal in place with San Francisco, but Harbaugh decided to stay. Via Twitter, 49ers CEO Jed York denied that was true.
Pettine said yesterday the issue “has no bearing” on his job. The Browns didn’t deny their attempt to acquire Harbaugh, but Pettine said that didn’t bother him, either.
Source: Former Ranger Cruz, Orioles reach one-year deal
Free agent Nelson Cruz and the Baltimore Orioles reached agreement on a one-year deal, giving the slugger a fresh start after his drug suspension.
A person familiar with the agreement told the Associated Press yesterday that Cruz will earn about $8.5 million, and can make more in performance bonuses.
The 33-year-old Cruz was suspended 50 games last year while with the Texas Rangers as a result of Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.
Dodgers sign Cuban SS Arruebarrena for $25 million
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena to a five-year contract. The Dodgers announced the deal yesterday. New reports say the contract is worth $25 million, including a $7.5 million signing bonus.
The Dodgers had been negotiating with Arruebarrena for several days. The 23-year-old infielder defected from Cuba last fall, establishing residency in Haiti.
Arruebarrena was the starting shortstop for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and batted .375 with four runs and two RBI in six games.
Source: Knicks’ World Peace, Udrih could be bought out
NEW YORK – A person with knowledge of the details said the New York Knicks are in serious discussions with Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih about buying out their contracts.
World Peace wrote on his Twitter account earlier yesterday that his agent was working on a buyout and thanked fans and the city. The Knicks were also trying to finalize one with Udrih, the person told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the moves weren’t official.
Neither veteran has earned a place in Coach Mike Woodson’s rotation in his first season in New York. Udrih has appeared in just 31 games, while World Peace, who had a procedure on his knee in January, has played in just 29.
Jackets’ Tyutin will miss 2-3 weeks with ankle injury
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin is expected to miss two to three weeks due to an ankle injury suffered while playing for Russia in the Olympics.
The 30-year-old has four goals and 20 assists with 30 penalty minutes and a plus-6 rating in 53 games with the Blue Jackets this season. In 659 games with the Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, he has 50 goals, 181 assists and 428 penalty minutes.
Els reaches semifinals for first time in 13 years
MARANA, Ariz. – Ernie Els reached the semifinals of the Match Play Championship for the first time in 13 years.
The four-time major champion still hasn’t played great golf at Dove Mountain, but it was good enough to get past 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who was clearly frustrated in losing on the 16th hole.
Graeme McDowell had a lead for the first time all week – and he wound up losing. His magical week ended on the 18th hole when he lost to Victor Dubuisson of France in a tight match. Els next plays the Frenchman.
Jason Day took out an ailing Louis Oosthuizen to reach the semifinals for the second straight year. Day next plays Rickie Fowler, who won the last two holes for a 1-up win over Jim Furyk.
Venus Williams wins Dubai title for third time
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Venus Williams won her 45th career WTA title in an impressive 6-3, 6-0 victory over Alize Cornet of France in the Dubai Championships final yesterday.
The 44th-ranked Williams, playing courtesy of a wild card, also won this title in 2009 and 2010. She’s won her last 15 matches in Dubai.
Williams last won a title at the 2012 Luxembourg tournament.
Tsonga to face Gulbis in Open 13 final in France
MARSEILLE, France – Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came through a stern test against 117th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff to win, 7-6 (4), 7-5, yesterday, setting up an Open 13 final against third-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia after he upset top-seeded Richard Gasquet of France, 6-3, 6-2.
Tsonga broke Struff twice at the end of the second set to reach his 19th career final, where he will bid for an 11th title.
He leads 3-1 in career head-to-heads against Gulbis, who has won all four of his previous finals.
Nadal hangs on to reach Rio final against Dolgopolov
RIO DE JANEIRO – Top-ranked Rafael Nadal will face Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the final of the Rio Open today.
Nadal got a scare before defeating fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10). Dolgopolov pulled an upset, beating second-seeded David Ferrer, 6-4, 6-4, on Rio’s outdoor clay.
Anderson advances to Delray final for second straight year
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Anderson defeated American qualifier Steve Johnson, 6-2, 6-4, yesterday to reach the final of the Delray Beach Open.
Anderson, seeded No. 4 and ranked No. 21 in the world, will be playing in his second Delray Beach final today when he faces the winner of last night’s other semifinal between No. 2 seed John Isner and No. 7 seed Marin Cilic. Anderson won this event in 2012.