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Serena Williams defeats Bartoli for title

August 1, 2011

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Tennis
Serena Williams captured her first tournament title since returning to tennis, beating Marion Bartoli, 7-5, 6-1, to win the Bank of the West Classic yesterday in Stanford, Calif. The 13-time major champion overcame two breaks in the first set to rally for a dominating finish. “Coming back and hearing the claps when I walk out there are moments that I truly missed,’’ Williams said. “It’s so awesome to be back and to be a part of those moments. Not everyone can be a sports - I don’t know if ‘star’ sounds full of myself, but I’ve worked hard for that title.’’ The victory was even sweeter because the ninth-ranked Bartoli beat the former world No. 1 in straight sets in the fourth round at Wimbledon this year. The finals appearance also was the first for Williams since winning at the All England Club in 2010 and her best showing since missing nearly a year because of blood clots in her lungs and two foot operations. Unseeded and ranked 169th, Williams mowed down the competition with relative ease, including a 6-1, 6-3 thumping of Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals. She capped it off with a vintage performance against a well-rested Bartoli, who advanced when Dominika Cibulkova withdrew in the other semifinal because of a strained abdominal muscle . . . Second-seeded Nadia Petrova beat top-seeded Shahar Peer, 7-5, 6-2, to win the inaugural Citi Open in College Park, Md. It marked the 10th career WTA title for Petrova, who has beaten Peer in all six of their meetings.

Gulbis tops Fish in Farmers Classic final Ernests Gulbis won the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles, rallying past top-seeded Mardy Fish, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, for his second career ATP tour title. Fish struggled late in his attempt at back-to-back victories, following last week’s win in Atlanta . . . Marcel Granollers won the Swiss Open in Gstaad for his first title in three years, beating Fernando Verdasco, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, on clay in an all-Spanish final. The only other time the eighth-seeded Granollers won on the ATP tour was in 2008 in Houston . . . Alexandr Dolgopolov won the Croatia Open in Umag for his first ATP title, defeating home favorite Marin Cilic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. It was only the second final for Dolgopolov, who lost a clay-court final to Nicolas Almagro this year in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil.

WNBA
Montgomery, Jones key Sun’s victory Renee Montgomery scored 19 points and Asjha Jones had 17, including 8 in the final 3:50, to lead the host Connecticut Sun to a 99-92 win over the Atlanta Dream. Danielle McCray scored 16 points and Tina Charles had 10 points and 11 rebounds to help the Sun overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half for their fifth win in six games. Angel McCoughtry scored 19 of her 36 points in the fourth quarter for Atlanta . . . Lindsay Whalen hit a fadeaway jumper from the right corner over Jayne Appel with 1.5 seconds left to give the Minnesota Lynx (13-4) a 70-69 victory over the host San Antonio Silver Stars (11-6) in a battle of the league’s best teams. Becky Hammon had a chance to give the Silver Stars the win, but missed a runner at the buzzer. Whalen scored 23 points, while Seimone Augustus had 16 and Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 15 for the Lynx . . . Jessica Davenport scored 16 points as the Indiana reserves combined for a franchise-record 57 in the Fever’s 98-63 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks.

Soccer
Henry helps Red Bulls win Emirates Cup After receiving a hero’s return at Arsenal, Thierry Henry exposed his former team’s defensive deficiencies in helping the New York Red Bulls win the Emirates Cup with a 1-1 draw in London. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wanted Henry to play for the Gunners in the last five minutes, but the Frenchman instead played a key part in the Red Bulls’ late equalizer. Henry threaded the ball through to Roy Miller, whose cross was knocked into his own goal by Arsenal’s Kyle Bartley in the 84th. The draw and Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain ensured that the Red Bulls finished atop the four-team standings . . . Marvin Chavez scored in the 26th minute to lead FC Dallas to a 1-0 MLS win over Chivas USA in Frisco, Texas.

Miscellany
Andover captures Little League crown Dan Gemmell hit a grand slam and Cedric Gillette struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings as the Andover National All-Stars held off Braintree American, 7-6, to win the Little League state championship in Taunton. Mike Reilly struck out nine and had a three-run homer for Braintree. Andover advances to the New England regionals in Bristol, Conn., one step away from the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. . . . Tiger Woods will play in the Australian Open Nov. 10-13, a week before the Presidents Cup, in his first appearance in Sydney since his first year as a pro . . . Jenson Button celebrated his 200th Formula One race with a victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel stretched his commanding lead in the championship with a second-place finish. McLaren’s Button was steadiest in wet conditions to secure his 11th career win, finishing 3.5 seconds in front of Vettel . . . Versus will be renamed the NBC Sports Network early next year. The cable channel’s parent company, Comcast, took over NBC Universal in January, and NBC Sports’ production and programming have already been appearing on Versus. The change will take place Jan. 2, the day NBC airs the NHL Winter Classic.