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Japan's Daisuke Takahashi takes first world figure skating title

Still on a roll: Venus Williams returns a shot during her 11th straight win, 6-4, 6-3 over Sorana Cirstea at the Sony Ericsson Open.

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Still on a roll: Venus Williams returns a shot during her 11th straight win, 6-4, 6-3 over Sorana Cirstea at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Figure skating

Takahashi takes first world title

TURIN, Italy — Olympic bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi on Thursday became the first Japanese man to win gold at the world championships.

Skating last, Takahashi two-footed a quadruple flip but did a soaring triple axel. His score for the free skate, 168.40, was his best of the Olympic season and gave him a total of 257.70, 10.48 more than Canada's Patrick Chan. Without Evan Lysacek (gold) and Evgeni Plushenko (silver), Takahashi was the only medalist from Vancouver to compete.

"It was more of a challenge-based competition for me," said Takahashi, who missed last season for knee surgery. "And I really enjoyed that challenge,"

Chan won silver for the second straight year. France's Brian Joubert, the 2007 world champ, took bronze.

Horses

Fall in race sidelines TB Downs' top jockey

Tampa Bay Downs leading jockey Daniel Centeno will be our for several days after a spill Thursday at the Oldsmar track, his agent said. Dan Mellul said Centeno had several bruises, including some to his shoulder, after his horse, My Power Bullet, clipped heels with a rival and fell in Race 8. Centeno was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where X-rays were negative. "He'll probably be back riding on Wednesday," Mellul said. Another rider who fell, Stevica Djuric, appeared uninjured, Mellul said. Laurels for Eunice, which finished second under Kristina McManigell was disqualified and placed last.

Lane's End Stakes: Connemara was made the 9-5 favorite after drawing the post for today's race at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., a major Kentucky Derby prep. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt is one of 10 horses for the 11/8-mile race.

Tennis

Former world No. 1 ends losing streak

Ana Ivanovic beat Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-3 in her first match at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne to end a career-long four-match losing streak. Ivanovic, who turned pro in 2003, once was No. 1 in the world but has struggled with injuries since winning the 2008 French Open. The Serbian, 22, faces Agnieszka Radwanska. Top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova struggled in her first match before beating Shuai Peng. On the men's side, Nicolas Lapentti, who made the draw only because another player pulled out, advanced to face No. 1 Roger Federer on Saturday.

ET CETERA

College softball: Stephanie Brombacher struck out five in Florida's fourth perfect game, a 10-0 five-inning win over visiting USF. Chelsey Sakizzie pitched ones in 1997 and 1998 and current Gator assistant Jenny Gladding one in 2004. Brombacher (17-3), a junior right-hander from Pembroke Pines, needed just 56 pitches to retire the 15 Bulls. And she has 116 strikeouts over 932/3 innings.

Soccer: Brazilian star Ronaldo apologized for making an obscene gesture to fans who were upset after his team's loss Wednesday in Sao Paulo. Ronaldo, who was leaving the stadium, said he was offended by an incident in the parking lot. He did not say what happened.

Olympics: Russian president Dmitry Medvedev banned figure skating president Valentin Piseyev and cross-country skiing president Vladimir Loginov from preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi after the nation's poor performance in Vancouver.

Don Jensen, Times correspondent; Times wires

Japan's Daisuke Takahashi takes first world figure skating title 03/25/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 26, 2010 1:04am]

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