Peterson named MVP
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, who overcame a career-threatening injury to lead his team to the playoffs, was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player on Saturday. Peterson, whose season ended with a torn knee ligament, came within nine yards of setting a single season NFL rushing record and was named the Offensive Player of the Year at the NFL’s awards show. The 27-year-old rushed for 2,097 yards, falling just short of the record set by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams in 1984, and his brilliant effort helped the Vikings register a 10-6 record to earn a trip to the post-season. While pleased to have won recognition for his performance, Peterson told reporters he was disappointed to have fallen short of his ultimate goal this season. “I was definitely hoping to get to the Super Bowl. That was my goal,” he said. “Come back, lead my team and help my team get to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but I played my heart out every opportunity I had ... [and] I got a couple of good pieces of hardware to bring back and stack in my statue area. So it feels good.”
Mavs coach Carlisle fined
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has been fined US$25,000 by the NBA for public criticism of officiating, the league announced on Saturday. The punishment came for comments made by Carlisle after the Mavericks lost 100-97 at Golden State on Thursday last week, what had been their third loss in four games. Dallas also played the game without injured German star Dirk Nowitzki and center Chris Kaman. Carlisle’s comments also came in the wake of an NBA statement on Wednesday last week that said officials botched a late-game call that went against Dallas and could have cost the Mavericks the game in a loss to Portland on Tuesday last week. Dallas guard O.J. Mayo was whistled for a charging foul with 1.5 seconds remaining when, the league said, a replay ruled that Portland’s Ronnie Price should have been called for a blocking foul.
Errani races into Paris final
Top seed Sara Errani benefited from a retirement for the second time in a week as the Italian raced into the final of the Paris Open when Dutch opponent Kiki Bertens pulled out while trailing 5-0 on Saturday. The 25-year-old, returning to Paris less than a year after reaching the French Open final, was in command when Bertens was forced out with back pain. The world No. 7 had already seen Madgalena Rybarikova of Slovakia retire in the first set of their second-round encounter. Errani was bidding for a seventh career title yesterday against world No. 45 Mona Barthel of Germany, who only needed 65 minutes to sweep aside 19-year-old Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-1, 6-4.
Kirilenko wins in Pattaya
Maria Kirilenko defeated Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) to claim the Pattaya Open title in a tension-filled final yesterday. The Russian second seed took the title in 2 hours, 37 minutes at the end of a fluctuating final set during which both players served for victory. It was the sixth title of her career and her first since 2008. Since her last tournament victory she has lost four finals, including last year’s Pattaya final to Daniela Hantuchova. “I had a birthday before the tournament started and had a cake in my room with some candles, and I made a wish,” said Kirilenko, who turned 26 on Jan. 25. “The wish was to win this tournament and the wish came true.”