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Sharapova makes early departure

Thu., June 25, 2009

Give Maria Sharapova credit for honesty.

Before Wimbledon began, she acknowledged that a recent comeback from shoulder surgery made it too much to ask for her to contend seriously for a second title at the All England Club at Wimbledon, England.

Sharapova was right: She didn’t even make it out of the second round. Playing poorly all Wednesday, the 2004 Wimbledon champion lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 to 45th-ranked Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

With easy wins for past champs Serena Williams and Roger Federer, Sharapova’s exit was the most surprising event on Day 3 at the grass-court Grand Slam tourney.

Williams, the 2002-03 Wimbledon champion, moved into the third round by beating Jarmila Groth 6-2, 6-1.

Eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka had even less trouble, defeating Ioana Raluca Olaru 6-0, 6-0, but No. 16 Zheng Jie – a semifinalist last year – lost to Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 7-5.

Another 2008 semifinalist, No. 18 Rainer Schuettler, was the only seeded man to lose, eliminated by Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2. Three U.S. men lost – Taylor Dent, who double-faulted 21 times; Sam Querrey, who lost a five-setter to No. 11 Marin Cilic of Croatia on Centre Court; and Vince Spadea – but No. 28 Mardy Fish beat Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in four sets to reach the third round and match his best Wimbledon showing.

Federer beat 42nd-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

Blazers, Mavericks trade draft picks

Basketball: The Portland Trail Blazers dipped into their collection of picks in the NBA draft, acquiring No. 22 from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for No. 24 and two second-rounders. Portland still has the 33rd, 38th and 55 picks.

Yao needs more time to heal: Yao Ming’s broken foot is not healed and the Houston Rockets say the All-Star center is out indefinitely.

BYU coach issues positive report: BYU men’s basketball coach Dave Rose said he appears to be free of cancer and plans on being back next season. Rose underwent emergency surgery earlier this month, when doctors removed his spleen and a mass that tested positive for cancer.

Panthers’ Peppers signs big deal

Football: Julius Peppers’ stalemate with the Carolina Panthers is over, leaving the defensive end rich and the NFC South champions free from worrying about a holdout.

Peppers signed his one-year, $16.7 million tender, five months after the four-time Pro Bowl selection first announced he wanted to play elsewhere next season.

Packers extend receiver Jennings: The Green Bay Packers have accomplished perhaps their most important goal of the offseason: signing wide receiver Greg Jennings to a contract extension.

The Packers announced they had struck a new deal with Jennings, a second-round draft pick in 2006 who has blossomed into one of the league’s best receivers.

Boley undergoes surgery: New York Giants linebacker Michael Boley, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract as a free agent, had hip surgery and almost certainly will miss the start of training camp.

BCS presidents nix Mountain West: Bowl Championship Series presidents have rejected the Mountain West Conference’s playoff plan.

The MWC proposed an eight-team playoff system that would allow greater access to the national championship game to teams outside the six most powerful leagues. The BCS presidential oversight committee rejected the concept during a teleconference.

Formula One sidesteps split

Miscellany: The cash-strapped Formula One series prevented a breakup when the FIA’s divisive and scandal-plagued president, Max Mosley, agreed to scrap a planned budget cap and step down at the end of his term.

Mosley will immediately take a back-seat role until his 16-year tenure ends in October, a move aimed at easing some of the acrimony that has blighted F1 in recent months.

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