Williams wins WTA title over Sharapova
Tennis: Serena Williams dismissed Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 Sunday to win the WTA Championships in Istanbul for the third time and finish the year with another title, but not the top ranking.
Williams ended the year ranked No. 3 with a 59-4 record and seven titles. Since her first-round loss at the French Open, she is 31-1, winning Wimbledon, the Olympic gold medal and the U.S. Open.
A fist-pumping Williams closed the first set with an ace, one of 11 she had in the match. The American broke serve to start the second and was never threatened again. Williams hit a powerful return on her first match point. She finished with 40 winners to Sharapova’s 13.
Williams finished the tournament without dropping a set. She also beat Azarenka in round-robin play, one of her four wins against the No. 1 player this year.
• Del Potro beats Federer to win Swiss Indoors title: Juan Martin del Potro took Roger Federer’s Swiss Indoors title, beating the hometown favorite 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3) in the final in Basel.
Del Potro showed an impressive all-around game to help avenge a heartbreaking loss to Federer in the Olympic semifinals at Wimbledon in August.
Federer, who had won the event in five of the past six years, was seeking his 77th career title to tie John McEnroe at fourth on the Open Era list.
Del Potro ended a six-match losing streak against the top-ranked Swiss this year, which also included a five-set defeat at the French Open.
The 24-year-old Argentine won for the second straight week after taking the Vienna title. His fourth title of the season is the 13th of his career.
Del Potro’s victory came in 2 hours, 44 minutes compared with his 4-hour, 26-minute defeat at the Olympics – the longest three-set match in history – when Federer won the decider 19-17 on Centre Court at the All England Club.
• Ferrer claims third Valencia Open: David Ferrer won the Valencia Open for the third time, beating Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in Spain.
The top-seeded Ferrer took advantage of Dolgopolov’s poor first serve to build a 3-1 lead in the first set. It was the first set the 21st-ranked Ukrainian had dropped in the entire tournament.
• Federer pulls out of Paris Masters: Roger Federer pulled out of the Paris Masters to rest for the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Harden expects to sign long-term deal
NBA: James Harden plans to sign a long-term extension with the Houston Rockets before the regular season begins.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year joined his new team after he was traded to the Rockets from Oklahoma City late Saturday. The Thunder acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the surprising deal. Oklahoma City also sent center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston.
Harden says the deal “happened very fast” and he “has to make the best of it.” He expects to sign a long-term contract by the time Houston opens the season Wednesday at Detroit.
The 23-year-old Harden says he’ll have to adjust to a rebuilding team after playing for a contender in Oklahoma City.
Spurrier: Lattimore dislocated knee
College Football: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said running back Marcus Lattimore had his right knee dislocated against Tennessee and the injury is something he can come back from to play football again.
Spurrier visited Lattimore and said the junior had a good attitude about his condition. Spurrier said South Carolina team doctor Jeffrey Guy was able to put Lattimore’s knee back in place soon after he was taken from the field to the hospital.
Spurrier said the injury was significant, but discounted speculation Lattimore would never play football again. Lattimore has not used a redshirt season so he could take as long as necessary to recover and still return to the Gamecocks for the 2014 season.
• Maryland loses fourth QB: Maryland has lost a fourth quarterback to a season-ending injury.
Coach Randy Edsall announced that Caleb Rowe has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and is done for the year.
The injury occurred in Saturday’s 20-17 loss to Boston College. It was the first college start for the true freshman.
Quarterback C.J. Brown tore an ACL in August and was replaced by Perry Hills, who tore an ACL in a game against North Carolina State on Oct. 20. Devin Burns broke his foot in that game and is also out for the year.
That means either converted linebacker Shawn Petty or converted tight end Brian McMahon will start at quarterback this Saturday against Georgia Tech.
Maryland (4-4, 2-2 ACC) has lost two straight.
Bernard steps down as IndyCar CEO
Auto Racing: Randy Bernard has stepped down as CEO of IndyCar.
Jeff Belskus, President and CEO of series owner Hulman & Co., will step in as interim CEO.
Bernard will stay on in an advisory position.
Ligety wins World Cup opening slalom
Skiing: Ted Ligety won the first men’s World Cup giant slalom of the season by 2.75 seconds over Manfred Moelgg of Italy in Soelden, Austria.
In difficult conditions due to fog and snowfall, Ligety finished the race on the Rettenbach glacier in 2 minutes, 36.02 seconds.
• FIS set to discuss Vonn’s wish to race against men: The International Ski Federation will discuss Lindsey Vonn’s wish to compete in a men’s World Cup downhill race during a meeting Saturday and Sunday in Switzerland.
FIS communications manager Riikka Rakic told the Associated Press that the federation has been asked by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to address the issue.
LA pitcher Kershaw wins Clemente Award
Miscellany: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has won the Roberto Clemente award, given annually to a major league player who gives back through community service and also excels on the field.
• Alves, Palermo defend PBR titles: Silvano Alves and Robson Palermo became the first Professional Bull Riders to defend their titles in the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.
Alves earned his second consecutive $1 million bonus for winning the season points championship, and Palermo claimed his second straight $250,000 bonus as the winner of the six-round event at Thomas & Mack Center.