Clijsters beats Williams to return to final
No foot-fault calls, no controversy. Instead, simply quite a comeback for Kim Clijsters, and another victory over a Williams sister in the U.S. Open semifinals in New York.
Defending champion Clijsters extended her winning streak at Flushing Meadows to 20 matches and returned to the final by erasing an early deficit to beat Venus Williams 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Friday.
“I just wish,” Williams said, “I could have played the bigger points a little better.”
Williams is 52-2 after taking the first set at the U.S. Open – and both of those losses came against Clijsters, who will face No. 7-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia in tonight’s final. If Clijsters wins the championship, she will be the first woman with two consecutive U.S. Open titles since Williams in 2000-01.
Zvonareva reached her second Grand Slam final in a row by upsetting top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3. A year ago in New York, Clijsters – playing in only the third tournament of her return after more than two seasons away from the tour – beat Wozniacki in the final, after getting past Williams’ younger sister, Serena, in the semifinals.
The latter forever will be remembered for Serena’s racket-shaking, expletive-laden outburst at the lineswoman who made a late foot-fault ruling.
• Bryan twins win men’s doubles title: The Bryan brothers won their ninth Grand Slam title, derailing the “Indo-Pak Express” doubles team of India’s Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in the men’s doubles final at the U.S. Open.
Bob and Mike Bryan captured their third title at Flushing Meadows and 65th overall with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) victory in a match in which neither team broke serve.
Ambassadors from India and Pakistan, neighboring countries with a decades-long history of tension, attended the match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Bopanna and Qureshi have been playing together since 2003, though the story of their attempt to promote peace through sports has gathered more steam in the past few months.
Kuchar hangs on for share of BMW lead
Golf: Matt Kuchar was feeling terrible and playing even worse. He managed to hold himself together long enough to salvage a 1-over-par 72 and share the lead with Charlie Wi in the BMW Championship at Lemont, Ill.
Kuchar made four bogeys through eight holes to tumble down the leaderboard, then rallied with five birdies over his last 10 holes to catch Wi, who played in the morning and shot a 69.
They were at 6-under 136 and had a one-shot lead over Marc Leishman of Australia, whose 65 was the best of the day at Cog Hill.
Tiger Woods, the defending champion and a five-time winner at Cog Hill, didn’t make many putts, threw in a double bogey for the second straight day and shot a 72, leaving him in a tie for 40th, nine shots behind.
Phil Mickelson shot a 71 and was at 1-over 143 for the tournament.
• Pressel takes lead at NW Arkansas tournament: Morgan Pressel shot a 5-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the NW Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark.
Yani Tseng, Gloria Park and Na Yeon Choi opened with 67s. Michelle Wie, coming off a victory in the Canadian Women’s Open, was another stroke back along with Suzann Pettersen, Janice Moodie, Danielle Downey and Jee Young Lee. Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot even-par 71.
• Funk shares first-round Champions Tour lead: Fred Funk, Michael Allen and Jay Don Blake shared the lead after the rain-delayed opening round of the Champions Tour’s Posco E&C Songdo Championship in Incheon, South Korea.
All three shot 3-under 69s after the start was delayed by 1 hour and 39 minutes by rain and wet conditions.
John Cook and Sandy Lyle of Scotland were one shot behind after 70s. D.A. Weibring shot 71.
Harvick victorious in Nationwide race
NASCAR: Kevin Harvick passed Brad Keselowski for the lead with just more than 50 laps to go and won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond, Va.
Harvick earned his third victory of the season and the 37th of his career in the series, spoiling an otherwise remarkable performance by Keselowski, the series points leader.
Keselowski went two laps down before the midpoint of the 250-lap event at Richmond International Raceway, but rallied and was running third when a caution flag came out with 46 laps to go. He emerged third after the leaders pitted, but came up short.
Trevor Bayne was third, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Reed Sorenson.
• Edwards wins Richmond Sprint Cup pole: Carl Edwards will start from the pole position in the final race of NASCAR’s “regular season” tonight at Richmond International Raceway.
The Roush-Fenway Racing driver turned a fast lap at 127.762 mph in qualifying, edging Juan Pablo Montoya, whose lap came at 127.455 mph.
A.J. Allmendinger earned the No. 3 starting spot, followed by Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann for the final race before NASCAR begins its 10-race Chase for the championship.
Villanova considers Big East for football
Miscellany: Villanova’s national championship football program could be Big East- bound.
The Wildcats would have all their varsity sports programs under the Big East banner if they accept an invitation to join the conference. The Big East has informed the Wildcats that it wants to add them to the conference.
Villanova won the Football Championship Subdivision national championship last year and would move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Wildcats play in the Colonial Athletic Association.
• Moore and Lawson help U.S. women rout Australia: Maya Moore scored 16 points and Kara Lawson added 15 to help the U.S. women’s national basketball team beat Australia 89-56 in an exhibition game in Hartford, Conn.
The U.S. was missing a number of key players for the women’s basketball World Championships that begin Sept. 23 in the Czech Republic.
Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Angel McCoughtry were playing in the WNBA finals that begin Sunday. If that series goes five games, it wouldn’t finish until two days before the world championships start.
Australia will play Spain in an exhibition game today and the U.S. will play the Spaniards on Sunday.
• Dayton gets first four games of March Madness: The University of Dayton will host all four first-round games of the newly expanded men’s basketball tournament next March, the NCAA said.
Two games will match the tournament’s lowest seeds, Nos. 65 through 68, with the winners advancing as No. 16 seeds to play a top seed. The other two games will match the last four of the 37 at-large qualifiers