Category Archives: Sports

Serena Williams big favorite at French Open


Maria Sharapova, shown after winning the 2012 French Open, is seeded second in this year's event behind world No. 1 Serena Williams.   UPI/David Silpa

World No. 1 Serena Williams, with a personal record winning streak intact, heads to the French Open as a huge favorite.

Williams was stunned in the first round of the 2012 French Open by Virginie Razzano but she has been on a tear since then, winning 10 tournaments. Those titles include Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open last year and five this year.

Williams is 36-2 this year and has won her last 24 matches, a career high.

Even with No. 2-ranked and defending French Open champion Maria Sharapova playing well, Williams is a prohibitive favorite to win her second French Open title. She won her first in 2002.

Williams opens her tournament against Anna Tatishvili but down the draw could face eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals. The highest seeds in other quarter of the draw are fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 5 Sara Errani, last year”s runner-up.

There could be an all-Williams semifinal because Venus Williams is in the same half of the draw, but not the same quarter, as Serena.

Sharapova is a healthy 30-4 this year with two titles (three of the losses are to Serena Williams) and is seeking to be the first back-to-back French Open winner since Justine Henin was a three-time winner over 2005-07.

Victoria Azarenka, seeded third, is in the Sharapova half of the draw. She”s won two Grand Slam titles (Australian Open 2012-13) but never advanced past the quarterfinals in Paris. Azarenka”s potential quarterfinal opponent is 2011 champion Li Na, who is seeded sixth. Sharapova”s is seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova.

The French Open begins Sunday and has the women”s singles final scheduled for June 8.

Copyright 2013 by United Press International

Nadal, Djokovic in same half of French Open draw


Rafael Nadal, shown giving the 2012 French Open men's singles championship trophy a bite -- as is his tradition -- will be seeking a record-tying eighth French Open title when the tournament begins Monday. The pairings for the event were released Friday.      UPI/David Silpa

Three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal and world No.1 Novak Djokovic were placed in the same half of the French Open draw Friday.

The two stars could clash in the semifinals.

Nadal, No. 4 in the world rankings, is seeded third in Paris after No. 2-ranked Andy Murray withdrew with a back injury.

Nadal has won the last three French Open titles and took four others from 2005-08. Paul Ayme (1897-1900) and Bjorn Borg (1978-81) are the only other players to have won the event four consecutive times. Nadal is looking to do it for a second time.

Nadal is also trying to match the all-time record for French Open titles. Max Decugis won the event eight times from 1903-14. The Open was first contested in 1891.

Nadal”s efforts to win again could see a semifinal pairing against Djokovic, who is seeking his first French Open title, the only championship missing from a career Grand Slam. Nadal beat Djokovic in four sets in last year”s Open final.

Nadal is 36-2 this year with six tournament titles and two runner-up finishes.

Djokovic is 28-4 with three championships, including the Australian Open.

Fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic, seeded eighth, would be Djokovic”s quarterfinal opponent if the draw plays to form. Seventh-seeded Richard Gasquet is the second-highest seeded player in Nadal”s section.

World No. 3 Roger Federer, seeded second, won the French Open in 2009, completing his career Grand Slam, and has finished second to Nadal four times. His semifinal opponent could be fourth-seeded David Ferrer. Before that, if the tournament results follow the seedings, Federer would meet No. 6-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals. Ferrer would draw fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych.

Top 10 players missing from the men”s draw are Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, who is out of the event due to a viral illness. With one U.S. Open title each, Murray and del Potro are the only players other than Djokovic, Federer and Nadal to have won a men”s Grand Slam title since the 2005 Australian Open, a period covering 32 major tournaments.

The 2013 French Open begins Sunday and closes with the men”s singles final June 9.

Copyright 2013 by United Press International

COL BKB: La Salle 54, Butler 53

Ramon Galloway made a layup to finish off an end-to-end drive with 3 seconds remaining Wednesday, giving La Salle a 54-53 upset victory over No. 9 Butler.

The Bulldogs had won 13 games in a row since Nov. 21, but let a five-point halftime lead slip away and fell for the first time in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

La Salle took a 52-51 lead with 32 seconds to play on jumper by Sam Mills, but Butler moved back in front with 8 seconds left on Andrew Smith’s layup.

Galloway then took the inbounds pass and drove the length of the floor to produce the winning points.

Tyreek Duren led the Explorers with 16 points, five rebounds and six assists. La Salle hit just 41 percent of its shots, made only four free throws and was outrebounded as well. The Explorers, however, forced 13 turnovers and committed just eight.

La Salle improved to 13-5 for the season and to 3-2 in conference play. The Explorers had not defeated a team from the Top 10 in 33 seasons.

Butler (16-3, 3-1) got 16 points from Smith and 15 from Kellen Dunham.

Copyright 2013 by United Press International

Tipsarevic wins Chennai title in 3 sets


Janko Tipsarevic, shown at the 2012 French Open, needed three sets Sunday but came away the winner in the title match of the Aircel Chennal Open in India.     UPI/David Silpa

Second-seeded Janko Tipsarevic got by Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets Sunday in winning the championship at the Aircel Chennai Open in India.

Tipsarevic, who was the tournament runner-up a year ago, rallied for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over Bautista Agut. It was the fourth ATP title for Tipsarevic. All of his championships have come since October 2011.

Sunday marked the first finals appearance for Bautista Agut, who turned professional in 2006.

Tipsarevic faced only one break point on the day and it cost him the second game of the match and subsequently the first set. He won the first five games of the second set in pulling even. Tipsarevic took the lead with a third-game break in the third set, capping the match with his fourth break of the match.

Tipsarevic took home $69,500 along with the title. Bautista Agut, whose best previous ATP result was a quarterfinal appearance in Vienna when he also lost to Tipsarevic, earned $36,650.

Copyright 2013 by United Press International

Serena Williams collects another title


Serena Williams, shown during last year's U.S. Open, rolled to a straight-set win Saturday in collecintg the title at the Brisbane International.     UPI/John Angelillo

Serena Williams turned in another dominant performance Saturday in a 6-2, 6-1 romp over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the Brisbane International title match.

Williams, third in the world rankings and the No. 3 seed in Brisbane, was on the court just 51 minutes, winning 10 of the last 11 games in the match. She took two-thirds of the points overall in the match, including 80 percent on serve as she dropped only eight points over eight service games. Her 50 percent success rate when the unseeded Pavlyuchenkova served helped her finished off four breaks.

“Today was really good,” Williams said. “I kind of zoned, where I”m in a really calm place and not panicking. I”m not over-thinking it and not just blasting every ball. I get really calm and kind of serene.”

It was the 47th WTA title for Williams, which is 10th most all-time. Since last April, Williams has won 52-of-54 matches and will be considered a prohibitive favorite heading into the Australian Open.

Pavlyuchenkova, who won her first three appearances in championship matches, fell to 3-2 in WTA finals.

Williams collected $162,987 for the championship while Pavlyuchenkova earned $87,021 as runner-up.

Copyright 2013 by United Press International

Bartoli wins easily in China


Marion Bartoli, shown at the 2012 U.S. Open, posted a first-set win Monday at a WTA tournament in China.     UPI Photo/Monika Graff

Second-seeded Marion Bartoli dropped just one game Monday in a first-round victory over Chan Wing-Yau at the Shenzhen Gemdale Open in China.

Bartoli, No. 11 in the world rankings, won 60 percent of the points on serve and 65 percent when receiving serve. She did drop one service game but had six breaks.

Fifth-seeded Klara Zakopalova lost only two games for her first-round victory over Andrea Hlavackova. Zakopalova didn”t lose any service games but had to fight off 10 break points en route to a 6-1, 6-1 win in just more than an hour. She finished with five breaks and claimed 58 percent of the points off Hlavackova”s serve.

Sixth-seeded Peng Shuai and No. 8-seeded Bojana Jovanovski also posted solid wins, each losing only four games in advancing in straight sets.

Peng stopped Anne Keothavong 6-4, 6-0 by amassing six breaks. She won 68 percent of the points both serving and receiving in the second set. Jovanovski defeated Alexandra Cadantu 6-3, 6-1 in 61 minutes. Jovanovski dropped only two points on serve in the second set.

Julia Cohen rallied for a 0-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5 win over Nina Bratchikova and Stefanie Voegele beat Timea Babos 6-4, 7-5; Elina Svitolina got by Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-3; Chang Kai-Chen defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa 4-6,l 6-1, 6-3; Ayumi Morita stopped Chan Yung-Jan 6-4, 6-4; and Duan Ying-Ying edged Kimiko Date-Krumm 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

COL FB: Florida 27, La-Lafayette 20

Jelani Jenkins ran in a blocked punt for a score with 2 seconds left Saturday, enabling No. 7 Florida to escape with a 27-20 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett tied the score with 1:42 remaining with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Dunbar and Florida’s defense forced the Ragin’ Cajuns to punt on the ensuing possession with 13 seconds left.

But Loucheiz Purifoy blocked the attempt and the ball fell into the arms of Jenkins, who raced in for the decisive touchdown.

Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel had left with an ankle injury earlier in the second half.

Despite the win, the Gators (9-1) lost out on a chance to clinch the Southeastern Conference’s East Division when No. 5 Georgia defeated Auburn.

Terrance Broadway went 16-of-23 for 171 passing yards for Louisiana-Lafayette (5-4).

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

UPI Sports Calendar for Sunday, Nov. 11

(All times Eastern)

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Football

NFL

Oakland at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Denver at Carolina, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Tennessee at Miami, 1 p.m.

Detroit at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m.

Atlanta at New Orleans, 1 p.m.

San Diego at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

Dallas at Philadelphia, 4:25 p.m.

St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.

Houston at Chicago, 8:20 p.m.

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Basketball

NBA

Orlando at Brooklyn, 3 p.m.

Atlanta at LA Clippers, 3:30 p.m.

Miami at Memphis, 6 p.m.

Cleveland at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

Sacramento at LA Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

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NCAA

Tennessee-Martin at (21) Wisconsin, 2 p.m.

Albany at (4) Ohio St., 2 p.m.

Florida-Atlanta at (12) North Carolina, 2:30 p.m.

Alabama St. at (10) Florida, 3:30 p.m.

Manhattan at (2) Louisville, 4 p.m.

(9) Syracuse at (20) San Diego St., 4 p.m.

Jackson St. at (18) Baylor, 5 p.m.

CSU at (11) Arizona, 6 p.m.

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Men’s Tennis

ATP World Tour Finals at London

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Golf

PGA

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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LPGA

Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Guadalajara, Mexico

-0-

European Tour

Barclays Singapore Open at Sentosa, Singapore

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Motor Racing

NASCAR

AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway

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MLS Playoffs

Eastern Conference Championship

Two-game aggregate goals

D.C. United at Houston, 4 p.m. (1st leg)

-0-

Western Conference Championship

Two-game aggregate goals

Seattle at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (1st leg)

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

COL FB: Kansas St. 23, Texas Christian 10

Quarterback Collin Klein ran for two touchdowns Saturday and third-ranked Kansas State made a case for No. 1 with a 23-10 win over Texas-Christian.

Klein picked up 50 rushing yards on 15 carries while also racking up 145 yards through the air with an interception on 12-for-21 efficiency for the Wildcats (10-0, 7-0 Big 12).

The victory, coupled with current No. 1 Alabama’s loss to No. 14 Texas A&M Saturday, puts Kansas State in position to assume the mantle in Sunday’s Bowl Championship Series rankings.

The Horned Frogs (6-4, 3-4) were led by Trevone Boykin, who was limited to 17-for-31 passing for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

COL FB: Georgia 38, Auburn 0

Aaron Murray fired a trio of first-half touchdown passes Saturday and fifth-ranked Georgia clinched the SEC East title with a 38-0 dismantling of Auburn.

Murray’s hot first half helped the Bulldogs (9-1, 7-1 SEC) jump out to a 28-0 lead at the break. He ended up completing 18-of-24 passes for 208 yards as Georgia secured a spot in the SEC championship game for the second straight year.

Todd Gurley picked up 116 rushing yards with a score on 11 carries and Keith Marshall ran up 105 yards and a touchdown on eight rushes in the Bulldogs’ win.

Jonathan Wallace completed 15-of-22 for 181 yards with an interception for the Tigers (2-8, 0-7), who are in danger of going winless in conference play for the first time since 1980.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International