Tennis: Yet to be seriously challenged at this U.S. Open, Serena Williams now gets a sure-to-be-hyped match against one of only three women to beat her all year, Sloane Stephens.
From the moment the women’s draw came out at Flushing Meadows in New York, it was clear which potential fourth-rounder was the most intriguing: defending champion Williams against up-and-coming talent Stephens, who got the better of Serena at the Australian Open quarterfinal in January.
Williams advanced out of the third round by beating 78th-ranked Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-1 in a match that wrapped up at 1:05 a.m. Saturday.
Much earlier, on a ho-hum afternoon devoid of any significant surprises, Stephens reached the round of 16 in New York for the first time by beating 23rd-seeded Jamie Hampton 6-1, 6-3.
Williams’ match against Shvedova began at nearly midnight because it followed 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt’s stirring 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 comeback victory over 2009 winner Juan Martin del Potro, which lasted more than four hours.
Also on Friday, top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat 87th-ranked Benjamin Becker 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2.
Defending champion Andy Murray dropped a set but finished well, taking the last five games of his 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 victory over 81st-ranked Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
The only seeded man to bow out was No. 17 Kevin Anderson, a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 loser against Marcos Baghdatis, while all seven women’s matches were decided in two sets.
China puts end to U.S. title defense
Volleyball: The U.S. women’s national volleyball team lost to China 25-20, 25-23, 25-17 at the FIVB World Grand Prix in Sapporo, Japan, ending its three-year run as champions.
The U.S. fell to 0-3 in the six-team round robin tournament.
Team USA faces Italy in the loser’s bracket on Saturday.
Brittany Force leads Top Fuel qualifying
Auto racing: NHRA rookie Brittany Force powered her 8,000-horsepower dragster to a 3.820-second run at 313.44 mph to claim the Top Fuel qualifying lead in the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Clermont, Ind.
Bob Tasca III topped the Funny Car field with a 4.085 at 312.28; Allen Johnson earned the Pro Stock lead in 6.661 at 207.02 and Matt Smith led in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 7.010 at 192.
The event ends the 18-race regular season. The top 10 in each division will qualify for the six-race Countdown to the Championship.
• Stenhouse claims first Sprint Cup pole: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has won the first Sprint Cup pole of his career at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.
Stenhouse turned a lap of 189.688 mph Friday night on the 1.54 tri-oval. His previous best qualifying run was third at Kansas this season.
• Larson tabbed to replace Montoya: Kyle Larson has been chosen to replace Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42 car at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing after only two wins in eight Sprint Cup seasons.
The 21-year-old Larson will compete this weekend in a Nationwide Series race.
• Graf takes Baltimore ALMS pole: Klaus Graf took the pole for the American Le Mans Series race today at the Grand Prix of Baltimore.
Graf had a course-record lap of 1 minute, 25.290 seconds on the street circuit, averaging 86.106 mph in the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda HPD prototype that he co-drives with Lucas Luhr.
Czech rider wins seventh Vuelta stage
Cycling: Czech rider Zdenek Stybar won the seventh stage of the Spanish Vuelta, and Vincenzo Nibali of Italy maintained his overall lead.
Stybar broke away with Philippe Gilbert in the final miles of the 128-mile stage from Almendralejo, Spain, to Mairena del Alijarafe and edged the BMC rider at the finish line.
Nibali, the Giro d’Italia champion, kept his 3-second lead over American rider Christopher Horner.
Bayern beats Chelsea for UEFA Super Cup
Soccer: Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved a penalty by substitute Romelu Lukaku to give Champions League winner Bayern Munich a 5-4 win over Europa League winner Chelsea in a shootout to claim the UEFA Super Cup in Prague.
All nine players converted their penalties before Lukaku stepped up, and Neuer dove to his left to keep the shot out.
Bayern won its first Super Cup in the club’s fourth attempt, earning a first trophy for new coach Pep Guardiola.
Cuban earns gold at judo worlds
Miscellany: Asley Gonzalez of Cuba beat Varlam Liparteliani of Georgia to win the gold medal in the men’s 90-kilogram division at the judo world championships in Rio De Janeiro.
In the women’s 70-kilogram division, Colombia’s Yuri Alvear won her second world title, beating Laura Vargas Kock of Germany. In the women’s 78-kilogram category, Kyong Sol of North Korea won the gold by beating Marhinde Verkerk of the Netherlands.
• Grizzlies waive newly-acquired Melo: The Memphis Grizzlies have waived Fab Melo two weeks after sending forward Donte Greene to the Boston Celtics to acquire the Brazilian center.
• Longhorn Network partners with Time Warner Cable: Time Warner Cable has added The Longhorn Network, the ESPN network dedicated to the athletic program at the University of Texas.
The network went live on Time Warner Cable’s Texas systems Friday, in time for tonight’s telecast of the Texas Longhorns’ opener.