Tennis: Done with a dominating performance in the French Open semifinals, Serena Williams climbed the stairs leading from the locker room to the players’ lounge, looking to give her mother a hug.
Smiling widely all the while, Williams greeted visitors, posed for photos and signed autographs on her way.
It’s been more than a decade since she was so happy – and played so well – this deep in the tournament at Roland Garros.
Coming as close to perfect as seems possible, Williams absolutely overwhelmed last year’s runner-up, fifth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy, 6-0, 6-1 in a mere 46 minutes Thursday to reach the final for the first time since winning her lone French Open championship in 2002.
To collect her 16th Grand Slam title Saturday, Williams will need to beat defending champion Maria Sharapova, who put aside 11 double-faults and got past third-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in a much more competitive semifinal.
Williams is 13-2 against Sharapova, winning 12 straight.
Crowded leaderboard at St. Jude Classic
Golf: Davis Love III and Stuart Appleby shot 4-under 66 for a share of the lead with four other players after the first round of the St. Jude Classic at Memphis, Tenn.
Harris English, Nathan Green, Martin Flores and Glen Day also pushed their way into the lead on a day where at least three others had a piece of the top spot lead at some point.
Defending champ Dustin Johnson finished with a 67 and was tied with 10 others including David Toms and Shawn Stefani.
• Rain postpones LPGA Championship: A steady rain punctuated by heavy downpours has forced the postponement of the first round of the LPGA Championship at Pittsford, N.Y.
The LPGA’s second major of the year will begin today, the second round will be staged on Saturday, and the players will attempt to complete 36 holes on Sunday, the LPGA said.
• Sluman takes lead at Regions Tradition: Jeff Sluman birdied No. 17 en route to a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples after the first round in the Regions Tradition at Birmingham, Ala., the second of five Champions Tour majors.
Duffy Waldorf and Peter Senior shot 67. Two-time defending champion Tom Lehman had a 69. Former Pullman resident Kirk Triplett shot a 71.
Rees named Notre Dame’s starting QB
College football: Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly confirmed Wednesday that Tommy Rees will be the team’s starting quarterback entering the 2013 season.
Kelly was asked by a Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press reporter to parse his quarterback situation with incumbent starter Everett Golson on an academic-related suspension, and Kelly endorsed Rees as his starter. The comments took place during a ceremony at Grand Valley State where Kelly and his wife, Paqui, were honored with a leadership award.
Rees will be a senior with 18 career starts and 4,413 passing yards, and he jumped into action in relief of Golson to push the Irish to multiple victories in 2012. He also started 12 of 13 games during an eight-victory 2011 season.
Gatlin edges Bolt in 100-meter dash
Miscellany: Justin Gatlin beat Usain Bolt by one-hundredth of a second to win the 100 meters at the Golden Gala meet – the Jamaican’s first significant loss since his false-start disqualification at the 2011 world track championships in South Korea.
Gatlin was timed in 9.94 seconds and was restrained in his celebration at Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy. The American has won all five of his 100-meter races this year and is shaping up as a serious threat to Bolt at the world championships in Moscow in August.
• Brazil slips in FIFA rankings: Brazil has dropped to a historic low of No. 22 in the FIFA rankings a year out from hosting soccer’s World Cup, and the United States has moved up one spot to No. 28.
World and European champion Spain stays on top. Germany, Argentina and Croatia are next.
The Netherlands rose four spots to No. 5. England dropped two to No. 9.
• Restaurateur wins $1.2M poker prize: A Canadian restaurant manager is the first poker aficionado to become a millionaire at this year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Benny Chen, of Prince Edward Island, won $1.2 million Tuesday night in the seven-week poker bonanza that’s just getting underway at the Rio hotel and casino off the Strip.
The 32-year-old beat out 6,343 other players.
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