Serena tops sister to reach finals of Florida tourney


Serena Williams retained the No. 1 world ranking by being the best player in her family Thursday night.

Williams defeated older sister Venus 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open at Key Biscayne, Fla. It was their 20th sibling showdown, and each has won 10 times.

Serena needed to reach the final to retain the top ranking she has held since Feb. 2. Otherwise she would have been supplanted next week by No. 2-ranked Dinara Safina.

Serena’s opponent Saturday will be 19-year-old Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal lost in the men’s quarterfinals to 20-year-old Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3). The upset delighted a partisan crowd that included many transplants from Argentina.

“Wonderful for the crowd,” Nadal said. “Terrible for me.”

The No. 6-seeded del Potro’s opponent today will be No. 4 Andy Murray, who beat No. 8 Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-2. Murray broke serve five times and saved seven of eight break points against him.

Nadal is a six-time Grand Slam champion. He won at Indian Wells two weeks ago, but his best finish at Key Biscayne was as the runner-up in 2005 and 2008.


Stallworth out on bail

Free on bail but facing serious legal charges, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth will get ready for an upcoming NFL season not knowing if he’ll play.

Stallworth surrendered in court on charges that he was driving drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian while returning from a night of partying in Miami Beach on March 14. The 28-year-old Stallworth was released by Miami authorities after posting $200,000 bail.

He was expected to fly back to Cleveland on Thursday night. Stallworth intends to resume voluntary workouts with the rebuilding Browns, who must consider their options and the possibility they will not have the seven-year veteran on their roster next season.

Following a brief hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy, Stallworth, dressed in a dark suit and holding his mother Donna’s hand, expressed his condolences and offered his prayers to victim Mario Reyes’ family. Stallworth added he has “full confidence and faith” in the legal process.

If convicted of DUI manslaughter, Stallworth faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The judge set an April 23 arraignment date for Stallworth to enter a plea.


Wizards upset Cavaliers

Gilbert Arenas and the host Washington Wizards recovered after blowing a 14-point second-half lead and ended the franchise-record 13-game winning streak of LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers with a 109-101 victory.

Arenas, playing his second game of the season in his latest attempt to return from knee surgery, had 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting, 10 assists and six rebounds in 33 minutes.


Lincicome leads

Brittany Lincicome never saw a 66 coming in the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship

Likewise, defending champion Lorena Ochoa wasn’t expecting to open with a 73 when she headed out onto the same desert course where she was 11 strokes better three years ago.

“It was surreal, really,” Lincicome said after taking the lead in the first LPGA Tour major of the year Thursday with her 6-under-par 66 at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Pushed along by playing partner Ji Young Oh in a round she likened to match play, Lincicome hit 16 greens in regulation. Oh hit 14 greens and was tied for second at 67 with Angela Stanford and Brittany Lang.

While Lincicome and Oh fought it out, Ochoa struggled with her driver. The top-ranked Mexican star started on the 10th tee and was 2 under at the turn before carding three bogeys and no birdies on the front nine.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot a 75.

•High winds cause suspension: The first round of the PGA’s Shell Houston Open in Humble, Texas, was suspended because of high wind with only half the 144-player field on the course.


Klitschko-Haye fight set

David Haye of Great Britain can become a heavyweight world champion in only his second fight at that class.

The former cruiserweight world champ announced that he has finalized a deal to fight IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine on June 20, probably in Germany.

•Hamilton disqualified: Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix for giving misleading evidence to race stewards over an incident that also involved Jarno Trulli.

•Court rules for American club: New York’s top court ruled that an American sailing club is the rightful challenger for the America’s Cup, reversing a lower court. The unanimous decision by the Court of Appeals concluded San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, which backs BMW Oracle Racing, is the legitimate Challenger of Record.

•Baker will miss start: Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder stiffness and will miss his opening day start.

•Flames clinch spot: Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves, and Jarome Iginla and Craig Conroy scored to help Calgary clinch an NHL playoff spot with a 2-1 win over host Dallas.

Tags: tennis

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