Jelena Jankovic won the biggest match of her career Sunday, battling a swirling wind to defeat Dinara Safina 6-2, 6-2 in the championship of the $1.3 million Family Circle Cup at Charleston, S.C.
It was the first Tier I final and victory for Jankovic, who was seeded second here and will improve to No. 7 in the rankings.
The Serbian gained the final by beating Venus Williams in a three-set match that took just over 2 1/2 hours Saturday.
•At Houston, unseeded Ivo Karlovic used his booming serve to stop qualifier Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina 6-4, 6-1 to win the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships and capture his first ATP tour title.
The 6-foot-10 Croat closed out the win on his second match point with a 140-mph ace. He arched his back and clenched his fists before going over to shake hands with his coach.
Karlovic broke Zabaleta in the second game of the final set and again three games later to go up 5-1. His fastest serve of the day was clocked at 149 mph. He had 10 aces in the match and finished the week with 53.
The Croat earned $65,850 for his first tour title since beginning his professional career in 2000.
•At Valencia, Spain, Nicolas Almagro won his second straight Valencia Open title by beating Potito Starace of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
The 21-year-old Spaniard rallied with eight aces and broke Starace four times over the final two sets for his second career ATP title.
Almagro hasn’t lost on the clay courts of Valencia since a first-round loss to Alberto Martin in 2004, a streak that reached 10 matches with Sunday’s win.
America’s Cup begins
Having once held the longest winning streak in sports, Americans will try to start a new one when the America’s Cup begins today with the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series at Valencia, Spain.
Sole U.S. team and challenger of record BMW Oracle Racing begins its campaign for the Auld Mug with match races against newcomers United Internet Germany Team and China Team, the bottom two in the 11-team challenger rankings.
The draw should provide Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s team with a comfortable start on its two-month quest for an America’s Cup finals showdown with defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland.
KC’s Shields retires
Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Will Shields is retiring after 14 NFL seasons, during which he made a record 12 Pro Bowl appearances and anchored one of the top offensive lines in the league.
•Mubarak Shami of Qatar won the Paris Marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 19 seconds.
Defending champion Gashaw Melese of Ethiopia was second in 2:09:53, 35 seconds ahead of Daniel Rono of Kenya.
Tafa Magarsa of Ethiopia won the women’s race in 2:25:07.
•At Rotterdam, Netherlands, Joshua Chelanga became the ninth straight Kenyan to win the Rotterdam Marathon, finishing the race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 21 seconds.
Hiromi Ominami of Japan won the women’s race in 2:26:36.
•Charlotte’s Bobby Lutz turned down an offer to become South Alabama’s new men’s basketball coach and will remain with the 49ers.
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