Serena out of China Open
Reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from the China Open because of flu, while her sister Venus has also pulled out, citing a back injury, organizers said yesterday. Serena, who confirmed her place among the tennis greats this year by raising her Grand Slam haul to 15 and winning gold at the London Olympics, pulled out late on Thursday, just two days before the start of the first round. It is a big blow to the organizers of the Beijing event as the world No. 4 — who has already qualified for the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, next month — is one of the tour’s most bankable stars. “We would have loved for Venus and Serena to play the China Open this year, but unfortunately, players get injured and sick and are unable to compete,” said Charles Hsiung, a director of the tournament. “We hope that they both recover quickly and look forward to them returning to the National Tennis Stadium in 2013,” he added.
Andersen up for Hall of Fame
Morten Andersen, who became the NFL’s all-time leading scorer during a 25-year career, was among 13 first-year eligible players nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. Offensive linemen Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden, defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan and defensive back John Lynch also were among those nominated for the Class of 2013. The complete list of candidates consists of 127 nominees and is comprised of 89 players, 14 coaches and 24 contributors, the Canton, Ohio-based Hall of Fame said in a statement. The list will be trimmed to 25 in November and to 15 in January.
Astros name Porter manager
Bo Porter, a third-base coach for the Major League Baseball playoff-bound Washington Nationals, has been named as the next manager of the Houston Astros. Porter will remain with the Nationals as long as they remain in the Major League Baseball playoffs before taking over the Astros, who fired Brad Mills last month and replaced him with interim manager Tony DeFrancesco. The Astros, who went a team record-worst 56-106 last year, are flirting with breaking that mark with a 51-105 record with six games remaining in the season. “Bo’s experience and management style will help lead our young players in creating a sense of urgency to restart the Astros’ winning tradition,” Astros owner Jim Crane said. Porter will lead the Astros into new territory next season when the club switches from the National to the American League to balance the number of teams in each league at 15. The Astros have played in the National League since being established in 1962.
Indians fire manager
The Cleveland Indians have fired manager Manny Acta and named Sandy Alomar to finish the season, the Major League Baseball team said on Thursday. Acta had a 214-266 record in three seasons as manager of Cleveland, who are 65-91 this year and tied for last place in the American League’s Central Division. “Managerial changes are never easy or taken lightly, but as we approached the end of the season and turned our attention to assessing the year, we determined a change was necessary,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement. Alomar, 46, has been a member of the Indians’ coaching staff since 2010. The six-time All-Star catcher, who played 11 seasons with Cleveland during a 20-year career, will be a candidate for the full-time position, the team said.