Headlines from around the world in sports
Serena Williams returns to Li Na, of China, during the women's final at the Sony Open Tennis tournament, Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Serena Williams, reacts after breaking service against Li Na, of China, in the first set during the final at the Sony Open Tennis tournament, Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Serena Williams beats Li for Sony Open title
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Serena Williams won a record seventh Key Biscayne title yesterday when she overcame a slow start and a set point to beat Li Na, 7-5, 6-1, at the Sony Open.
The No. 1-ranked Williams surpassed the tournament record of six titles she shared with Andre Agassi. By beating the No. 2-ranked Li, Williams extended her winning streak against top-10 opponents to 15 matches.
The world’s top-ranked players will also meet in the men’s final today, when No. 1 Rafael Nadal tries for his first Key Biscayne title against No. 2 Novak Djokovic, a three-time champion.
Williams lives 90 minutes up Interstate 95 from Key Biscayne and considers it her home event. She has played in the tournament 14 times and also won the title in 2002-04, 2007-08 and 2013.
Kerr, Salas share lead at Kia Classic
CARLSBAD, Calif. – Cristie Kerr made a 55-foot par-saving putt after hitting her final approach into the water yesterday at Aviara, giving her a share of the lead with Lizette Salas after the third round of the Kia Classic.
Kerr finished with a 2-under 70 to match Salas at 10-under 206. After dropping a stroke on the par-5 17th, Kerr holed out from the edge of the green on the par-4 18th after taking a penalty drop.
Salas had a 69. She birdied the par-5 17th for a share of the lead and matched Kerr with a par on 18.
Bowditch leads Texas Open; Mickelson withdraws
SAN ANTONIO – Steven Bowditch opened a three-stroke lead yesterday in the Texas Open, while Phil Mickelson withdrew after 10 holes because of a pulled muscle in his right side.
Bowditch, the 30-year-old Australian seeking his first PGA Tour title, shot a 4-under 68 to reach 12 under at TPC San Antonio. Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe were tied for second. Kuchar shot 65, and Loupe had a 70.
Mickelson withdrew after pulling the muscle teeing off on No. 1 – his 10th hole of the round. He hopes to play next week in the Houston Open, the last event before the Masters. He was 1-over par in the round and 4 over overall when he pulled out.
Asada wins world championship title
SAITAMA, Japan – Mao Asada of Japan topped the free skate yesterday to capture her third world figure skating title.
Asada, who held a slim 1.42-point lead after the short program, under-rotated three jumps but finished with 216.69 points, 9.19 ahead of 15-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia. Italy’s Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion, took the bronze with 203.83 points despite placing only sixth in the free program.
Yuna Kim, the defending champion, has retired and Olympic gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova of Russia wasn’t competing at the worlds.
Anna Pogorilaya of Russia was fourth and Gracie Gold of the United States finished fifth.
With defending champions and Olympic gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White not competing, European champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy captured the ice dance title.
Vonn hopes to return to racing in early December
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – Lindsey Vonn says the rehab on her surgically repaired right knee is “slow going” and that she doesn’t anticipate a return to racing until December.
The four-time overall World Cup champion had her ACL fixed for a second time in January, which kept her out of the Sochi Games. There was “quite a bit of meniscus damage” in the knee and that’s caused her to push back her time frame.
Vonn said yesterday she hopes to be back on snow by October and racing in Lake Louise, Alberta, two months later. She said she’s committed to competing at the 2018 Winter Games.
The 29-year-old Vonn was in Beaver Creek to support “Ski Girls Rock,” a program that focuses on empowering girls through the sport.
Giants RHP Lincecum expected to make next start
OAKLAND, Calif. – San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum is expected to make his first scheduled start in the regular season despite getting hit in the left knee by a comebacker.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner walked through the clubhouse without a noticeable limp and rode a stationary bike before yesterday’s exhibition game against Oakland.
A night earlier, Lincecum was on the ground near the pitcher’s mound writhing in pain after getting struck by a hard-hit grounder from Daric Barton in the fourth inning. Lincecum tried to run toward first but immediately fell, unable to put any pressure on his leg. He limped off the field with the assistance of two trainers and underwent X-rays, which were negative.
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said Lincecum appears fine and is hopeful the right-hander will start Thursday in Arizona.
3 minor leaguers suspended under drug program
NEW YORK – Three minor league pitchers have been suspended for violating baseball’s drug program.
The commissioner’s office announced yesterday that Chicago White Sox left-hander Feny Aria and Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Geremia Espinosa have been banned 50 games apiece after testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. Both pitchers are on teams in the Dominican Summer League, and their suspensions will take effect at the start of the season.
Free agent right-hander Elou Jean also was suspended 50 games following a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol. His penalty will begin when he signs with a major league organization.
There have been 21 players suspended this year under the minor league drug program.
Worker dies at stadium hosting World Cup opener
SAO PAULO – A hospital said a worker died after falling at the construction site of the stadium that will host Brazil’s World Cup opener in Sao Paulo.
The press office of the Hospital Santa Marcelina in Sao Paulo confirmed the death.
Construction company Fast Engenharia said in a statement Fabio Hamilton da Cruz fell about 26 feet while helping install temporary seats at the Itaquerao stadium.
The accident comes about four months after two workers died when a crane collapsed at the stadium.
Construction was already behind schedule because of the damage caused by the earlier accident. FIFA said it was expecting the venue to be finished in mid-May, about a month before the June 12 opener, but it wasn’t clear if yesterday’s incident would prompt further delays.
Trucks rained out at Martinsville; twinbill today
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – The NASCAR Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway was rained out yesterday and will be made up as part of a rare doubleheader today.
NASCAR said the Sprint Cup race will start at 1:13 p.m., and the hope is the Truck Series race can start by about 5:30 p.m.
The tricky part will not only be cooperation from the weather, but a smooth Cup race because Martinsville Speedway, the oldest in the premier series, does not have lights.
The track said tickets for both races will be honored, with the caveat that ticket holders with truck tickets only will have to wait until 100 laps have been run in the Cup race to enter the track.
Mercedes’s Hamilton takes pole at Malaysian GP
SEPANG, Malaysia – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix after a wet qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit yesterday.
Tropical rains delayed the start of qualifying for 50 minutes, but even the wet track could not prevent Mercedes continuing the dominance it had shown all weekend, and Hamilton made it back-to-back poles to start the new Formula One season.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel came close, but finished five hundredths of a second behind Hamilton and just in front of Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg, who qualified third.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen qualified fourth and sixth, separated by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.