Headlines from around the world in sports
US Serena Williams returns the ball to Belarus' Victoria Azarenka during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
US Serena Williams returns the ball to Belarus Victoria Azarenka during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Belarus' Victoria Azarenka reacts after losing a point during her final match against Serena Williams, of the United States, at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Belarus' Victoria Azarenka returns the ball to Serena Williams, of the United States, during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Serena beats Azarenka
to win Italian Open
ROME – Serena Williams won her fourth consecutive title in dominating fashion yesterday, beating third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 6-1, 6-3, in the Italian Open final.
The top-ranked American will enter the French Open, which starts on Sunday, on a career-best 24-match winning streak.
Williams was coming off consecutive titles in Miami; Charleston, S.C.; and Madrid last week.
Williams’s only previous title at this clay-court event came in 2002, when she beat Justine Henin in the final.
In the men’s final, Rafel Nadal controlled from start to finish, beating Roger Federer, 6-1, 6-3, in the 30th meeting between the two stars.
Nadal improved to 20-10 in his career against Federer, and won the Italian Open for the seventh time. He also showed once again that he’ll be the player to beat at the French Open.
It was Nadal’s fifth title since returning earlier this year from a seven-month layoff due to a left knee injury.
Istomin in Nice
NICE, France – Ricardas Berankis reached the second round of the Nice Open by beating eighth-seeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, 6-2, 6-2, yesterday.
The Lithuanian broke Istomin five times in the opening match of the tournament. He will face Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France, who advanced when Colombia’s Alejandro Falla retired with a left calf injury while trailing 7-5.
Rosol eliminated in first round at Power Horse Cup
DUESSELDORF, Germany – Daniel Brands of Germany upset fifth-seeded Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-3, in the first round of the Power Horse Cup yesterday.
The clay-court tournament replaced the World Team Cup to become the warm-up event for next week’s French Open.
Ivan Dodig of Croatia defeated Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, 7-5, 6-4, to set up a second-round match against Tommy Haas. Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic defeated Evgeny Donskoy of Russia, 6-2, 6-2.
Bae wins Byron Nelson
for first PGA Tour title
IRVING, Texas – Sang-Moon Bae won the Bryon Nelson Championship yesterday for his first PGA Tour title, beating Keegan Bradley by two strokes after blowing a four-stroke lead.
The 26-year-old South Korean closed with a 1-under 69 to finish at 13-under 267.
Bradley was trying to become the Nelson’s first wire-to-wire winner since Tom Watson in 1980. He set the TPC Four Seasons course record with an opening 60, but finished with a 72 on a day with wind gusting to near 40 mph at times.
Bae already had 11 international victories – on the Korea, Japan and Asian tours.
After four birdies in an early five-hole stretch, Bae had a four-stroke lead. Bradley got even at No. 15, but missed a short birdie putt on the next hole.
Mobile Bay LPGA Classic
MOBILE, Ala. – Jennifer Johnson won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic yesterday for her first tour title, birdieing four of the final six holes for a one-stroke victory over Jessica Korda and Pornagong Phatlum.
The 21-year-old American closed with her second straight 7-under 65 for a tournament-record 21-under 267 total on The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove complex. She two-putted for par on the final hole, tipped her cap and headed toward the practice range in case of a playoff.
But Phatlum was already done and the lead was safe even with Korda’s closing birdie. Phatlum, a 23-year-old from Thailand, closed with a 63. Her previous best finish was third at the Kia Classic.
Korda finished with a 68 that included three bogeys and seven birdies.
Five players finished two strokes back, including Hall of Famer Karrie Webb.
McDowell beats Jaidee
to win World Match Play
KAVARNA, Bulgaria – Graeme McDowell made amends for last year’s defeat to capture the World Match-Play Championship yesterday, defeating Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, 2 and 1, in the final on the Thracian Cliffs course.
The former U.S. Open champion had to fight back from 2 down after four holes and did not get in front of his 43-year-old opponent until the 14th hole before securing victory at the 17th.
It is McDowell’s second win in three events after he also captured the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage earlier this month at Hilton Head, S.C.
Jaidee’s effort should see him move inside the top 50 in the rankings, high enough for a place in next month’s U.S. Open.
Rangers put Kinsler
on DL, recall Profar
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on the 15-day disabled list because of bruised ribs and recalled top prospect Jurickson Profar from Triple-A Round Rock.
The move was announced before the Rangers, with the best record in the majors, were to play their series finale against Detroit last night.
Because Kinsler entered Friday night’s game as a pinch-runner, the DL move was retroactive to Saturday, when Kinsler didn’t play. The earliest he would be eligible to return is June 2.
Kinsler is hitting .302 with seven home runs, 20 RBI and 24 runs scored in 40 games.
Profar was hitting .278 at Round Rock, where he had an eight-game hitting streak. The 20-year-old Profar made his major league debut last season, hitting .176 in nine games.
Van Garderen takes
Tour of California
SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Tejay van Garderen stayed out of trouble to seal his first professional stage race title yesterday, winning the Tour of California in front of BMC Racing Team’s home fans.
The American cruised through the smooth and scenic final stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa without incident to edge Australia Michael Rogers for the overall title by 1:47. Colombian Janier Acevedo was third, 3:26 behind van Garderen.
Van Garderen completed the eight-day, 727.8-mile race that has evolved into North America’s most prominent cycling event in 29 hours, 43 minutes. He held the overall lead the final three days.
Sprinter Peter Sagan pulled away to win the 80.7-mile final stage in 3:04:07. Daniel Schorn was second and Tyler Farrar third in a crowded finish.
Visconti in solo victory
on snowy 15th Giro stage
COL DU GALIBIER, France – A superb solo ride up the grueling Col du Galibier gave Giovanni Visconti the victory in a weather-affected 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia yesterday, while favorite Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall lead.
Atrocious weather conditions once again altered the race course and heavy snow fell at the finish as Visconti won in a time of 4 hours, 40 minutes, 52 seconds, beating Carlos Betancur and Przemyslaw Niemiec by 42 seconds.
Nibali, who finished third and second in his two previous Giro d’Italia races, maintained his 1:26 lead over Cadel Evans.