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In brief: Nadal, Federer post 1st-round U.S. Open wins

Rafael Nadal of Spain breezed to a victory at the U.S. Open.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Rafael Nadal of Spain breezed to a victory at the U.S. Open. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Tennis: Everyone’s been curious about the condition of Rafael Nadal’s knees. So far, so good.

Starting a bid to win the U.S. Open – the only Grand Slam title missing from his resume – Rafael Nadal encountered no apparent trouble from his much-scrutinized knees in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Richard Gasquet at Flushing Meadows in New York.

The Spaniard cited knee tendinitis in deciding not to defend his Wimbledon title.

Roger Federer, whose bid for a sixth consecutive U.S. Open championship – and third Grand Slam title in a row this year – progressed with a 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 victory over Simon Greul of Germany in front of a night-session record crowd of 24,206.

The defending women’s champion, Serena Williams, was spectacularly good in eliminating 51st-ranked Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-1, 6-1 in 53 minutes in the day’s last match.

Sounders win U.S. Open Cup

Soccer: Freddy Montero and Roger Levesque scored to lead Seattle to a 2-1 victory over D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup final at Washington, giving the expansion Sounders their first trophy.

Montero smashed in a rebound in the 67th minute and Levesque scored in the 85th as Seattle joined Chicago (1998) as the only teams to win the Open Cup in their inaugural season.

•Donovan healthy again after swine flu: U.S. forward Landon Donovan has had nearly a month to recover from swine flu and needed more of that time than he expected.

Donovan played through the illness on Aug. 12 in a World Cup qualifier against Mexico, surviving all 90 minutes in the altitude of Mexico City. He knew he was sick – and exhausted after the 2-1 loss to Mexico – but didn’t learn the diagnosis until a couple of days later.

Cowboys top U.S. value rankings list

NFL: The Dallas Cowboys are worth $1.65 billion, the most of any U.S.-based sports franchise, according to Forbes magazine’s annual rankings. Only Manchester United of the English Premier League is worth more worldwide, $1.87 billion.

The Cowboys lead the rankings for the third straight year and are worth $100 million more than the runner-up Washington Redskins. New England is third at $1.361 billion, followed by the New York Giants ($1.183 billion) and Jets ($1.170 billion).

In all, 19 teams are worth at least $1 billion, with the biggest gainer in Forbes’ rankings the Patriots, Chargers, Bills and Buccaneers, each at 3 percent.

Oakland has the least value, not even reaching half of Dallas’ worth. The Raiders are worth $797 billion, down 7 percent from the previous year.

Eight teams saw their value decline in this year’s rankings – including the Seattle Seahawks, who fell 2 percent – and six had no change.

•Favre won’t play against Dallas: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre will not play in the preseason finale on Friday night against Dallas.

Coach Brad Childress made the announcement. He said he does not want to risk injury to Favre or any other starter, so everyone will rest against the Cowboys.

•Former Patriot dies in crash: John M. Stephens, the 1988 Offensive Rookie of the Year for the New England Patriots, has been killed after his pickup truck ran off a highway and struck some trees in Shreveport, La.

Stephens, 43, apparently lost control of his vehicle on a rural stretch of Louisiana Highway 169 near on Tuesday evening.

Stephens played six NFL seasons, reaching the Pro Bowl as a Patriots rookie when he ran for 1,168 yards.

•McDaniels denies trade rumors: Moving to quell rumors, Denver coach Josh McDaniels said the team had not held any talks involving a trade of suspended Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall.

There were reports the New York Jets would be interested in trading for him.

•Jets sign tight end: The Jets have signed veteran tight end Ben Hartsock to a one-year deal, one day after he was released by Atlanta.

•Blue Bombers don’t want Jones: Adam “Pacman” Jones won’t be playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The CFL team announced it has ended its pursuit of the controversial ex-NFL cornerback, one day after multiple reports said Jones would play for the team.

Schilling interested in Kennedy seat

Miscellany: Curt Schilling, the former major league pitcher who won the allegiance of Bostonians by leading the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series, said that he has “some interest” in running for the seat held for nearly 50 years by Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Schilling, a registered independent and longtime Republican supporter, wrote on his blog that while his family and video game company, 38 Studios, are high priorities, “I do have some interest in the possibility.”

•Motor City Bowl renamed: The Motor City Bowl was rechristened as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, with the Detroit-based pizza chain stepping up to sponsor the college football game as two of the region’s beleaguered automakers step down. This year’s game will be played Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit.

•Mercury drop Fever: Cappie Pondexter scored 25 points and the Phoenix Mercury shot nearly 60 percent from the floor in a 106-90 victory over the Indiana Fever in a matchup of first-place WNBA teams in Indianapolis.

The win gives Phoenix a 11/2-game lead over second-place Seattle.

Tamika Catchings had 27 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for the East-leading Fever (20-9), losers of four of their last five. Rookie Briann January – a Lewis and Clark High School grad – scored 14.

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