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Archive for Friday, July 3, 2009

Williams sisters Wimbledon finalists

July 3, 2009

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— The purple “W” logo at Wimbledon might as well stand for the siblings who have made the women’s championship their own playground. Yes, the Williams sisters are back in the Wimbledon final.

Venus and Serena Williams won in contrasting fashion Thursday to set up their fourth all-sister Wimbledon final and eighth meeting in a Grand Slam title match.

Two-time champion Serena saved a match point and overcame Elena Dementieva, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 8-6, in 2 hours, 49 minutes — the longest women’s semifinal at Wimbledon in at least 40 years. Five-time winner Venus, meanwhile, needed only 51 minutes to demolish Dinara Safina 6-1, 6-0 and reach her eighth Wimbledon final.

“Oh, my God, this is my eighth final, and it’s a dream come to true to be here again and have the opportunity to hold the plate up,” Venus said.

The sisters — with 17 Grand Slam titles between them — will face each other Saturday in a Fourth of July final.

“A fourth final — it’s so exciting. It was so hard before my match to watch all that drama,” Venus said, referring to Serena’s semifinal. “It was so difficult. But the hardest part is next to come, to play Serena Williams.”

One Williams or the other has won seven of the past nine championships at the All England Club. Serena beat Venus in the 2002 and ’03 finals, and Venus came out on top against her younger sister last year.

The Serena-Dementieva match was the longest women’s Wimbledon semifinal by time since 1969; records are incomplete before then. Venus’ win was the most one-sided women’s semifinal since Billie Jean King beat Rosie Casals by the same score in 1969. The last time a semifinal ended 6-0, 6-0 was in 1925.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Holy Cross names coach

Worcester, Mass. — Sean Kearney is the new basketball coach at Holy Cross. The former Notre Dame assistant was named Thursday to succeed Ralph Willard, who resigned last month after 10 seasons to become Rick Pitino’s associate head coach at Louisville.

AUTO RACING

Mayfield misses deadline

Daytona Beach, Fla. — Jeremy Mayfield missed the deadline to enter this weekend’s race after successfully fighting NASCAR to get back behind the wheel following a failed random drug test.

His only hope for participating in Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway is as a relief driver, a change NASCAR must approve.

As the cars fired their engines Thursday afternoon for the first practice session of the weekend, the Mayfield watch ended roughly 24 hours after a federal judge lifted the indefinite suspension and cleared him to race at Daytona.

Petty among nominees

Charlotte, N.C. — Stock car racing giants ranging from Bill France Sr. and Junior Johnson to Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt are among the 25 nominees for NASCAR’s first Hall of Fame class.

The announcement Thursday night comes 10 months before the Hall of Fame’s scheduled opening in downtown Charlotte. An inaugural class of five will be chosen from the group that includes the bootleggers who helped create the sport to the drivers, owners and officials who made it popular.

NASCAR patriarch France and his son, Bill France Jr., were among the candidates selected by a 21-member panel. The drivers include Petty, Earnhardt, Johnson, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarbrough and Glenn “Fireball” Roberts.

GOLF

Kim sets course record

Bethesda, Md. — Anthony Kim ran off eight birdies over his final 13 holes Thursday at the AT&T National and set the course record at Congressional with an 8-under 62, giving him a two-shot lead over tournament host Tiger Woods, Bryce Molder and D.A. Points.

Three share Farr lead

Sylvania, Ohio — Morgan Pressel, Song-Hee Kim and Laura Diaz made the most of the defending champion’s absence at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. Each shot a 7-under 64 after Paula Creamer withdrew because of a thumb injury, taking a one-shot lead over Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen after Thursday’s opening round.

PRO FOOTBALL

Jets LB Pace suspended

New York — The NFL suspended Jets linebacker Calvin Pace for four games without pay Thursday for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Pace will miss New York’s first four games of the season.

Vick files bankruptcy plan

Richmond, Va. — Suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick has submitted a revised bankruptcy plan that funnels more of his future earnings to creditors, though a judge did not immediately rule on the proposal.

CFL player fined for tribute

Toronto — The Canadian Football League has fined Toronto Argonauts receiver Arland Bruce because it wasn’t thrilled with his tribute to Michael Jackson after scoring a touchdown.

The league announced Thursday it fined Bruce an undisclosed amount for his “excessive actions.”

After scoring on a 21-yard pass to put Toronto ahead 6-0, Bruce removed his helmet, shoulder pads and uniform top, then laid down in the end zone. Bruce said he was honoring the memory of Jackson by pretending to be buried.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

UNI lineman arrested

Arnolds Park, Iowa — Northern Iowa offensive lineman Austin Steichen and two other men have been arrested in connection with an alleged assault.

NBA

Reports: Lakers add Artest

Ron Artest is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to various media reports. The free-agent forward told CBSSports.com on Thursday that he was leaving the Houston Rockets to join Kobe Bryant and the defending NBA champion Lakers.

“I’m definitely going to L.A. — to sign, yeah,” Artest told CBSSports.com

Shaq makes goals clear

Independence, Ohio — Shaquille O’Neal has one purpose in Cleveland: bring an NBA title to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

“My motto is very simple,” the 15-time All-Star center said Thursday. “Win a ring for the King.”

Gordon: Bulls made no offer

Chicago — A day after jumping to Detroit, Ben Gordon says the Chicago Bulls never made a contract offer even though general manager Gar Forman said re-signing him was the No. 1 priority.

BASEBALL

Leyrtiz accused of battery

Davie, Fla. — Former major leaguer Jim Leyritz was arrested Thursday in South Florida on charges of domestic battery against his ex-wife, just two months before his trial on a DUI manslaughter charge was set to begin.

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