Italy’s Flavia Pennetta booked herself a second-round clash with world No. 1 Serena Williams at the WTA and ATP Sony Open hard-court tournament in Miami after a 6-4, 6-1 first-round victory over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson on Tuesday, while defending champion and fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland will open against Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, who downed Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 7-6 (17/15).
Pennetta, ranked 103rd, will meet Williams on Thursday in a second-round match at the US$8.5 million event, which awarded byes to all 32 seeded players in both the men’s and women’s draws.
The third-round foe for Williams if she beats Pennetta will be either 31st seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium or Japan’s Ayumi Morita, who outlasted Britain’s Heather Watson 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Williams will try to become the first six-time winner in Miami in her first event since reclaiming the top ranking, while men’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia tries to claim his fourth Miami crown.
Williams, a 15-time Grand Slam singles champion, won in Miami in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. The 31-year-old American, who also reached the final in 1999 and 2009, is the reigning US Open, Wimbledon and Olympic champion.
Williams’ 19th-seeded sister Venus, a former world No. 1 with seven Grand Slam singles crowns, will open against Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm, who ousted South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-0.
Chinese fifth seed Li Na learned she will open against Dutch rival Kiki Bertens, who won the first seven games, before Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili retired from their match.
China’s Peng Shuai downed Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-2 and faces Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova in the second round.
French 10th seed Marion Bartoli opens against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who downed Serbian Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 6-1.
France’s Kristina Mladenovic defeated Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak 7-5, 6-2 to book a second-round date with Slovakian 13th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu edged New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 and next faces 25th seed Varvara Lepchenko of the US.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on