Kvitova overcomes shaky start in defense of Wimbledon title
Returning to the court where she won her first Grand Slam championship a year ago, Petra Kvitova overcame a shaky start and a late rain delay Tuesday to open her Wimbledon title defense with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Akgul Amanmuradova.
Four-time champion Serena Williams, meanwhile, returned to the same Court 2 where big sister Venus was upset a day earlier and defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-4.
The fourth-seeded Kvitova fell behind 3-0 and 4-1 in the first set on Centre Court before running off seven straight games to take command against the 96th-ranked player from Uzbekistan.
After Kvitova squandered a match point at 5-3 in the second set, play was suspended and the covers rolled onto the court — the first rain break of the tournament. When play resumed half an hour later, it took just three minutes to wrap up the match.
Following Kvitova on Centre Court was two-time champion Rafael Nadal, and he found himself in an early hole just as she had. Nadal was down 4-0 in the opening set, but roared back to beat Brazilian left-hander Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-3.
Play was later suspended for the day because of rain and poor light. Three-time finalist Andy Roddick was leading Britain's Jamie Baker 7-6 (1), 4-2 on Court 1 when the covers came on.
Top seeds, Combs advance in State Am
Defending champion April Emerson defeated Becky Sharpe 2 and 1 to advance to the second round of match play in the Women's State Amateur tournament at Elizabethtown Country Club. Second-seeded Lydia Gumm won her opening match against Krista Power 5 and 3. Anne Combs, a five-time champion who last won in 1983, needed 19 holes to knock off Jennifer Brenzel.
■ Matt Dobyns had a hole-in-one and shot a 3-under 69 to take a six-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Professional National Championship in Seaside, Calif. The 34-year-old Dobyns, the PGA head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., aced the 195-yard 14th hole and closed with an eagle.
First-round leader Mike Small, the University of Illinois coach who won the event in 2005, '09 and '10, was second after a 72.
The top 20 finishers in the tournament will earn spots in the PGA Championship in August at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
Churchill Downs cancels Thursday's card
With weather forecasts calling for triple-digit temperatures, officials at Churchill Downs canceled Thursday's races at the track.
"Our first priority on any day at Churchill Downs is the health and safety of the human and equine participants in our sport," track president Kevin Flanery said. "We know how important these races and their purses are to our owners and trainers, but the health and safety issues convinced us this was the proper call."
■ A recent outbreak of positive tests at Louisiana tracks for the pain-killing drug dermorphin has led to two more suspensions of trainers. In separate rulings this month, Delta Downs stewards suspended quarter-horse trainers Alonzo Loya and Gonzalo Gonzales for six months — the maximum penalty that stewards can give a trainer under Louisiana racing rules. The stewards also disqualified the horses that tested positive and ordered purses won in the questioned races to be redistributed.
Van Treese to remain at Louisville
Forward Stephan Van Treese, who was given his release from Louisville's basketball team on June 6, will remain with the team.
"As far as I'm concerned, Stephan should have never thought of going any place other than Bellarmine or Louisville," Coach Rick Pitino said. "He's committed to helping us have another great season."
Van Treese said upon his release, which came right after the Cardinals signed freshman Montrezl Harrell, that he was seeking a school where he could find more playing time.
■ Jourdan Stickler, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Annapolis, Md., signed with Morehead State. Stickler led the Baltimore area with 26 points per game as a senior at Annapolis High School.
Presidents approve four-team playoff
Playoffs and tournaments long have determined champions of every college sport from baseball to bowling. The exception was major college football. That ended Tuesday. Come 2014, the BCS is dead.
A committee of university presidents approved a plan for a four-team playoff put forward by commissioners of the top football conferences. The move completes a six-month process for the commissioners, who have been working on a new way to determine a major college football champion after years of griping from fans.
No. 1 will play No. 4, and No. 2 will play No. 3 on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS bowls — Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar — and two more to be determined. The winners will advance to the championship on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the last semifinal. The first championship Monday is set for Jan. 12, 2015.
Report: Bird leaving Pacers
David Morway resigned as general manager of the Indiana Pacers amid reports that Larry Bird is on the way out, too. Morway was hired by the Pacers in 1999 and had been GM since 2008. The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday that Bird is expected to leave the Pacers, citing an unidentified source. The 55-year-old Bird was Pacers coach from 1997-2000, returning to the front office in 2003. He took over from Donnie Walsh in 2008 as president of basketball operations and was this season's NBA's Executive of the Year after building a tough, young team that lost to eventual champion Miami.
■ The NBA awarded the Boston Celtics a 2013 second-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of a trade disclosure dispute ruling involving Jeff Green, who sat out this season after heart surgery. Commissioner David Stern determined Tuesday there was no evidence of bad faith or intent to withhold information on the part of the Thunder, but that their cardiologists had knowledge about Green that was not shared with their own team management and should have been disclosed to the Celtics.
■ The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired swingman Chase Budinger from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the 18th overall pick in the draft. The Rockets now have the 14th, 16th and 18th selections in the draft. The Rockets also included the rights to Israeli Lior Eliyahu in the deal.
■ The Detroit Pistons traded guard Ben Gordon and a future first-round draft choice to the Charlotte Bobcats for swingman Corey Maggette, shedding about $15 million in salary.
The last word
Beau Hossler never imagined he would be back at Congressional so soon. A year ago, Hossler qualified for the U.S. Open at age 16 and missed the cut. He made it through both stages of qualifying again this year, and then turned heads at The Olympic Club when he was atop the leader board briefly in the third round of the U.S. Open. His performance was enough to get a sponsor's exemption for the AT&T National, which returned to Congressional this year. No one knew him last year. Now they do:
"I'll tell you what, I was buying socks at Macy's the other day and some person didn't believe that it was me. So I had to show them my ID. It's pretty cool, though, because a lot of people know who I am now, being stopped in airports and everything, taking pictures. ... You really wouldn't expect the guy from Jack in the Box to recognize me, but they kind of do now. So it's definitely different."