Maria Sharapova’s tennis is not yet back to her lofty standards, as one might expect after shoulder surgery in October and four singles matches in the past 10 months.
The 64th-ranked Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus is not the sort of opponent who would normally trouble a top-of-her-game Sharapova, yet there was trouble Monday in Paris as Sharapova made her return to the Grand Slam stage.
Still, a win is a win, and Sharapova’s first match at a major tournament in nearly a year ended with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Yakimova and a spot in the French Open’s second round. It will take more than that performance for Sharapova to erase the uncertainty that comes with such a long layoff.
Meanwhile, the pressure to produce has not affected Rafael Nadal in the least, and he extended his French Open winning streak to a record 29 matches by beating Marcos Daniel of Brazil 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 in the first round.
Nadal is trying to become the first player to win five titles in a row in Paris, and the man he beat in the past three finals, Roger Federer, also won easily.
More noteworthy, perhaps, was Andy Roddick’s 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over French wild-card entry Romain Jouan, the American’s first win in the tournament since 2005.
•Freshmen take singles titles: Mississippi’s Devin Britton and fellow freshman Mallory Cecil from Duke won singles titles at the NCAA tournament at College Station, Texas.
Britton fell behind early before defeating Ohio State senior Steven Moneke, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Britton broke to go up 4-2 in the decisive set and held serve at 30 to close out the men’s victory.
Cecil beat Miami junior Laura Vallverdu 7-5, 6-4, to add the women’s singles crown to the team title Duke won on Tuesday.
Orange overcome Big Red
Cody Jamieson scored his second goal of the game just 80 seconds into overtime as Syracuse rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final 3:37 of regulation to beat Cornell 10-9 in Foxborough, Mass., and win its second straight NCAA men’s lacrosse championship.
The Big Red took a 9-6 lead with 5:31 left in the fourth before the Orange came back to win their unprecedented 11th college lacrosse title.
Tournament most outstanding player Kenny Nims scored with 4.5 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.
Sastre wins 16th stage
Carlos Sastre of Spain has won the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia, a grueling route made tougher by 100-degree heat. Denis Menchov of Russia remains the overall leader.
Sastre was timed in 7 hours, 11 minutes, 54 seconds over the 147-mile leg from Pergola to Monte Petrano, Italy. Menchov was the runner-up, 25 seconds behind. Danilo di Luca of Italy was third, 26 seconds back.
U.S. Open spots given
Peter Hanson earned a trip to the U.S. Open by making a hole-in-one on the second playoff hole at Sunningdale to grab the 11th and final spot in a European qualifier at Tadworth, England.
Seven players who finished at 139 competed for five spots in the playoff. Jose-Manuel Lara, Jean-Francois Lucquin, Johan Edfors and Francesco Molinari each made birdie on the first extra hole to secure their place at Bethpage Black.
That left Hanson, Richard Bland and Stephen Gallacher to play for the last spot, but not for long. Hanson switched clubs from a 5-iron to a 6-iron for the 206-yard 17th hole on the Old Course, and it proved to be the perfect choice.
Raphael Jacquelin and Simon Khan led the 11 qualifiers with a 9-under 135 over 36 holes. Simon Dyson finished another shot behind, and the other spots went to Thomas Levet, Andrew McLardy and David Horsey.
Korir takes L.A. Marathon
University of Louisville runner Wesley Korir covered the 26.2 miles of the Los Angeles Marathon in a personal best of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds for the victory. Ethiopia’s Tariku Jafar was second in 2:09:32 and Kenya’s Laban Kipkemboi finished third with a time of 2:10:29.
Russia’s Tatiana Petrova was the top woman, breaking away from the pack after 19 miles.
Petrova surged past Ethiopia’s Amane Gobena to finish in 2:25:59. Another Russian, Silvia Skvortsova, was third in 2:28:35.
Youth shines at Bolder Boulder: Tilahun Regassa of Ethiopia won the men’s division of the Bolder Boulder at Boulder, Colo., in the fastest time since 1995.
Regassa, 19, finished in 28 minutes, 17 seconds. Teammate Mamito Daska, 25, won the women’s division in 32:48.
“They weren’t expected to win,” Ethiopia team manager Hussen MacKay said. “They are very young in terms of running careers.”
Ethiopia won the team title, beating out Team USA 19-24.
Castroneves rewarded big
Helio Castroneves has earned a record $3,048,005 for his third Indianapolis 500 victory.
The prize money from Sunday’s race was announced at the annual victory dinner in Indianapolis, and Castroneves’ share for Team Penske broke the former record of $2.99 million to Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon last year.
The total purse of $14.3 million was just short of the record $14.4 million last year.
•U.S. wins friendly with rout: Shannon Boxx, Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley and Lauren Cheney scored to lead the United States to a 4-0 victory over Canada in a women’s soccer friendly at Toronto.
•Jets DB investigated: New Jersey police are investigating a woman’s claim that she was raped by two men at the home of Jets safety Kerry Rhodes.
The New York Post reported in Monday editions that the woman, a Canadian tourist, said she met Rhodes and another man at a Manhattan nightclub before being taken to a home in Morristown, N.J., where Rhodes owns a town house, according to authorities.
Rhodes, in a statement released through a Jets spokesman, said he was not one of the accused.