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Mattek-Sands upsets 2011 champion Li

Fri., May 31, 2013, midnight

Bethanie Mattek-Sands celebrates beating Li Na 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. (Associated Press)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands celebrates beating Li Na 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. (Associated Press)

French Open: There were moments, as recently as last year, when a body that would not stay healthy and on-court results prompted Bethanie Mattek-Sands to wonder whether it was simply time to call it a career after more than a decade as a professional tennis player.

“She was ready to quit,” her husband, Justin Sands, recalled. “She was like, ‘I’m done. I can’t do it. I don’t want to come back.’ ”

Instead, Mattek-Sands “stuck it out,” in her words, making some significant changes – to her diet after discovering a host of food allergies, to her point-to-point focus. And at age 28, in her 27th Grand Slam tournament, Mattek-Sands earned her most significant victory to date, a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 upset of 2011 champion Li Na at the rain-soaked French Open on Thursday to join four other American women in the third round.

“I know how I can play, and, you know, there were times when I just physically couldn’t do it,” the 67th-ranked Mattek-Sands said, “and I think that’s really frustrating.”

By beating the sixth-seeded Li to earn her fourth career win in 25 tries against top-10 players, Mattek-Sands helped give the United States its largest group of women in the third round at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament since six made it in 2004. The five U.S. women left, out of the 15 in the main draw, are the most this far at any Grand Slam tournament since the half-dozen at Wimbledon in 2005.

The other Americans in the third round: No. 17 Sloane Stephens and 54th-ranked Jamie Hampton, who also won Thursday, and No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 29 Varvara Lepchenko, who won Wednesday.

Up next for the 23-year-old Hampton is No. 7 Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion. The 20-year-old Stephens, meanwhile, faces 92nd-ranked Marina Erakovic, who beat No. 16 Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to become the first woman from New Zealand to reach the French Open’s third round.

Stephens, like other players on a wet afternoon, weathered two rain delays during a 6-1, 6-3 win against Vania King of the U.S.

Only 18 of 32 scheduled singles matches were completed, with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur among the winners.

Last year’s runner-up, Novak Djokovic, gestured at the dark, threatening sky between points, as if to admonish the clouds for even considering halting play before he could finish a 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 victory over 83rd-ranked Guido Pella of Argentina.

Source: Kings hire Malone as coach

NBA: A person familiar with the decision said the Sacramento Kings have reached an agreement with Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone to be their head coach.

The person, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Malone was incoming owner Vivek Ranadive’s top choice. Ranadive has been a minority owner of the Warriors the past three seasons and is closing a sale with the Maloof family to buy the Kings.

Malone’s hiring officially ends Keith Smart’s tenure as Sacramento’s coach. Smart took over for the fired Paul Westphal in January 2012 and had one year remaining on his contract.

Brazil-England friendly back on

Soccer: The Brazil-England friendly on Sunday is set to go ahead after all following a judge’s overruling of a previous court order that had suspended the match on safety grounds.

The Rio de Janeiro state government issued a statement confirming the new ruling, just hours after judge Adriana Costa dos Santos had ordered the match at Rio de Janeiro’s renovated Maracana stadium could not proceed due to ongoing construction at the venue.

The statement said “the match between Brazil and England is confirmed on June 2 with all the safety conditions assured.”

The chaos of the on-again, off-again match raises more red flags about Brazil’s readiness to hold the Confederation Cup – which opens in two weeks – and next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

AS Roma to play MLS all-stars: Italian club AS Roma will try to follow in the footsteps of Manchester United when it takes on the best players in Major League Soccer this summer.

Man U dominated MLS players in two of the league’s annual all-star games, winning by a combined score of 9-2. But the top domestic league in the U.S. has never lost to another international club since it adopted its current all-star game format a decade ago.

Chivas USA names interim coach: Sacha van der Most will be Chivas USA’s interim coach for Saturday’s match against the Seattle Sounders. Chivas USA announced van der Most’s one-game appointment as its interim coach Thursday, one day after firing coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola. Jose Luis Real Casillas will take over Chivas USA next week.

Hoppe sets mark for scoreless innings

Miscellany: Minnesota State, Mankato, right-hander Jason Hoppe set the NCAA single-season record with 551/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

Hoppe pitched 31/3 scoreless innings in the Mavericks’ 6-5 victory over St. Edward’s to help them advance to the school’s first Division II national championship game. Hoppe’s streak ended with a one-out single in the fourth inning. He broke the previous record of 54 set by SIU-Edwardsville’s Kyle Jones in 2006.

Giants, Jets file lawsuit over mall: The New York Giants and New York Jets refiled a lawsuit to stop developers from expanding a planned $3 billion megamall near MetLife Stadium.

At issue for the teams is how much additional traffic the mall will produce on days when the Jets and Giants play at home.

The lawsuit claims developer Triple Five Group and the New Jersey sports authority violated a 2006 agreement that essen- tially gave the teams veto power over any modifications to the original design for the mall.

• Jaeger wins 800 free: U.S. Olympic swimmer Connor Jaeger won the 800-meter freestyle in the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara, Calif. Jaeger finished in a meet-record 7 minutes, 50.14 seconds. In the only other timed final, Canada’s Tabitha Baumann won the women’s 1,500 free in 16:37.03.

Mayweather-Alvarez Sept. 14: Floyd Mayweather will fight young Mexican star Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand. The bout will be the second in Mayweather’s six-fight, 30-month contract with Showtime.


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