Sports: In brief

June 26, 2014 


Venus Williams still contending

Let others wonder when or whether Venus Williams might move on from tennis. She's not ready to go anywhere just yet.

Here she is, at age 34, once again a factor at Wimbledon, site of five of her seven major titles. And there's a matchup against another former champion looming.

Williams overcame a slow start Wednesday for a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over 41st-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in her past 10 appearances.

A year ago, she skipped Wimbledon because of a back injury. She hasn't been to the fourth round at a major since 2011 at the All England Club. But Williams, a former No. 1 who is seeded 30th, will return to that stage if she beats that year's titlist, Petra Kvitova.

The sixth-seeded Kvitova played with her right leg heavily taped because of a recent injury but had zero trouble in a 6-2, 6-0 victory over 59th-ranked Mona Barthel. The biggest names sent home were No. 8 Victoria Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion beaten by Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, and No. 7 David Ferrer, who lost 6-7 (5), 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 against qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov.

Defending champion Andy Murray and last year's runner-up, 2011 titlist Novak Djokovic, both won. Murray's 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 victory over Blaz Rola, who won the 2013 NCAA singles championship for Ohio State, was free of drama. That wasn't the case with Djokovic's 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) victory over 35-year-old Radek Stepanek, a serve-and-volleyer who tumbled to the grass repeatedly.


Chandler returns to Dallas in six-player deal

The Mavericks and New York Knicks agreed Wednesday to a six-player trade that returns center Tyson Chandler to Dallas three years after he helped win a championship only to leave right away in free agency.

The Mavericks sent guards Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington and center Samuel Dalembert to the Knicks for Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton.

The Knicks also get both of Dallas' draft picks Thursday night, a pair of second-round selections at Nos. 34 and 51. New York didn't have a draft pick before the first major personnel move since Phil Jackson took over as team president.

"The journey to build this team for the upcoming season and beyond continues," Jackson said. "We have added players with this move that will fit right in to our system while maintaining future flexibility."

New York is hoping to keep Carmelo Anthony despite the star forward planning to opt out of his contract and become a free agent on July 1. The Mavericks are reportedly on a short list of new destinations Anthony will also consider.


UK's summer exhibitions to be televised

All six of the University of Kentucky's men's basketball exhibition games in the Bahamas this summer will be televised, the school announced Wednesday.

ESPNU will show the first three games of the tour from Aug. 10-12. The new SEC Network will broadcast the final three games Aug. 15-17.

All six games are scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m. EDT.

The SEC Network launches Aug. 14, so the UK exhibitions will be among the first events shown on the new network.

Fans interested in learning whether they get the SEC Network can go to

■ Notre Dame and Georgia will play in 2017 and 2019, marking the first regular-season meetings between the two schools.

The Bulldogs will play in South Bend on Sept. 9, 2017, while the Irish will play in Athens on Sept. 21, 2019. The top-ranked Bulldogs beat the No. 7 Irish in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship in 1980 in their only previous meeting.

■ With Virginia's season on the line in the College World Series finals, Brandon Waddell pitched a five-hit complete game in a 7-2 victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday that forced a decisive Game 3 Wednesday night, which ended too late for this edition.


Perry seeks repeat in Senior Players

Kenny Perry spent more than three decades futilely chasing the biggest prizes in golf. Now he can't seem to stop winning them, on the Champions Tour at least.

The 53-year-old returns to Fox Chapel near Pittsburgh for the Senior Players Championship on Thursday looking to defend the title he won a year ago, when he overcame a series of near misses in major tournaments with a command performance.

Perry, an Elizabethtown native who golfed for Western Kentucky, shot 19-under 261 to hold off Fred Couples and Duffy Waldorf by two shots last June, stringing together three near perfect rounds that ended 30 years of frustration and took the shackles off his game. "It just made me a more confident player," Perry said Wednesday. "It made me feel like I finally did it and my response was maybe the floodgates will open."

■ Championship flight participants April Emerson, Brianne Coe, Candice Wiley, Abby Smith, Lydia Gumm, Kaitlyn Riley, Becky Sharpe and Ellen Kehoe advanced Wednesday to the match-play quarterfinals of the Women's Kentucky State Amateur at Lakeside Golf Course in Lexington. The quarterfinals will begin at 8:40 a.m. Thursday, with the semifinals to follow about 1:20 p.m.


NFL will remove concussion claims cap

The NFL agreed Wednesday to remove a $675 million cap on damages from thousands of concussion-related claims after a federal judge questioned whether there would be enough money to cover as many as 20,000 retired players.

A revised settlement agreement filed in federal court in Philadelphia also eliminated a provision that barred anyone who gets concussion damages from the NFL from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues.

In January, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody had denied preliminary approval of the deal because she worried the money could run out sooner than expected. The settlement is designed to last at least 65 years and cover retired players who develop Lou Gehrig's disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their pro careers.

The original settlement included $675 million for compensatory claims for players with neurological symptoms, $75 million for baseline testing and $10 million for medical research and education. The NFL would also pay an additional $112 million to the players' lawyers, for a total payout of more than $870 million.

■ U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said the federation plans to speak with Hope Solo and her representatives by Thursday afternoon regarding the goalkeeper's weekend domestic violence arrest in the Seattle suburbs.

Gulati spoke in Recife, Brazil, on Wednesday ahead of the Americans' World Cup Group G finale Thursday against Germany with a berth in the knockout round at stake.

■ The ninth annual Kentucky-Tennessee all-star softball games are Thursday at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. The first game is at noon (Central time), the second game at 2 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it will follow at 4 p.m.

The last word

Freshly minted Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, when asked Wednesday whether he would select Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker with the No. 1 overall pick:

"Anthony Parker," naming the former Cavs guard who played for him in Israel. "I took him once and so did the Cavs, and it worked out great."

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