Tennis: The King of Clay passed up a chance to meet the Queen of England. Rafael Nadal had another priority – winning at Wimbledon.
Queen Elizabeth II visited the All England Club for the first time since 1977 and met a small group of current and former players, including Roger Federer and the Williams sisters. Nadal was invited, but his practice schedule conflicted, and he wanted to be in top form for his second-round match later Thursday.
Hours after the queen departed, Nadal took Centre Court and beat Robin Haase 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
“I am playing in Wimbledon. It’s not a joke. I love this tournament,” Nadal said. “I have a lot of respect for the queen. I have a lot of respect for this tournament. Today is a match day for me, no? So I have my things to do.”
Top-ranked Serena Williams drubbed Anna Chakvetadze 6-0, 6-1. Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Robin Soderling also won easily.
Before her victory, Williams greeted the queen with a curtsy she practiced for days.
“My bow didn’t go the way I wanted,” Williams said. “I didn’t get my wrist action that I thought I would have, and then I got nervous. … I definitely handle pressure way better on the court than off.”
All 10 seeded men playing second-round matches advanced. Three seeded women lost: No. 18 Aravane Rezai, No. 19 Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 23 Zheng Jie.
The day began with royal ritual, and the queen watched from the front row as Andy Murray defeated Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Murray, seeded fourth, is trying to become the first British player to win Wimbledon since the queen watched Virginia Wade win the women’s final 33 years ago.
“I’m sure everyone thought it was a great occasion,” Murray said. “I don’t know whether she’ll be coming in the next few years, but I definitely enjoyed it.”
South Carolina ousts Sooners from CWS
College world series: Brady Thomas singled in the winning run in the 12th inning and South Carolina eliminated Oklahoma from the College World Series with a 3-2 victory in Omaha, Neb.
The Gamecocks (50-16) were down to their last strike against closer Ryan Duke when Jackie Bradley’s full-count base hit past first baseman Cameron Seitzer brought in Robert Beary from second to tie it.
Duke walked Jeffery Jones before Thomas drove his first pitch into center field, scoring Bradley from second and touching off a celebration in the middle of the infield.
Oklahoma (50-18) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 12th on Tyler Ogle’s homer off Ethan Carter.
Trio leads LPGA Championship
Golf: Cristie Kerr shot a 4-under-par 68 for a share of the first-round lead with Stacy Lewis and Seon Hwa Lee in the LPGA Championship in Pittsford, N.Y., the LPGA Tour’s second major of the season.
Kerr had five birdies and a bogey on the Locust Hill Country Club course in suburban Rochester.
Inbee Park, Mika Miyazato and Lindsey Wright opened with 69s in the round that was hampered by gusting wind and a heavy downpour that briefly delayed play.
Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot a 2-over 74.
• Rose rallies for share of lead: Justin Rose birdied five of his final six holes for a 6-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead in the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.
Rose missed a 12-foot birdie putt on 18, leaving him tied with morning starters Padraig Harrington, Charlie Wi and Mathew Goggin.
Vijay Singh, Bubba Watson, Corey Pavin, Ben Curtis, Kevin Sutherland, Matt Jones and Aron Price opened with 65s at TPC River Highlands.
Alex Prugh (Ferris HS) shot a 1-over 71.
• Calcavecchia ready for Champions Tour: Mark Calcavecchia remembers the good old days, when he was a threat to win almost every time out on the PGA Tour. His considerable skills have diminished, though, and he’s more than ready to become the newest member of the Champions Tour.
“Just battling that cut line every single Friday was a nightmare,” said Calcavecchia, who turned 50 less than two weeks ago and will make his debut today in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y. “(The Champions Tour is) a great change of pace.”
U.S. edges China
in worlds opener
Miscellany: Natasha Watley’s RBI single in the top of the seventh inning helped the United States to a 1-0 victory over China in both teams’ opener at the world softball championship in Caracas, Venezuela.
Cat Osterman threw a complete game for the United States with 11 strikeouts. China’s Li Qui gave up only two hits, but her defense made costly errors.
The United States has won this event six straight times and is a strong favorite to reach the final of the 16-team tournament on July 2.
• NHL owners approve blindside-hit rule: NHL owners unanimously agreed to penalize blindside hits to the head with major penalties and ejections.
The new rule was the biggest development from the league’s board of governors meeting in Los Angeles, held one day before the NHL draft at the Staples Center.