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Sports in brief: Serena Williams wins Bank of the West Classic

Tennis

Serena Williams Hoists Trophy again

STANFORD, Calif. — Serena Williams smashed one final serve, dropped her racket and raised her arms in triumph. At long last, a champion again.

After blood clots in her lungs and two foot operations threatened her career for nearly a year, Williams captured her first tournament title since returning with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Marion Bartoli in the Bank of the West Classic final Sunday.

"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. So, yes, I say it and I take pride in it."

The 13-time major champion overcame two breaks in the first set to rally for a dominating finish. She went ahead 5-0 in the second and left no doubt.

Williams entered the tournament unseeded and ranked 169th, so the victory will vault her into the top 80.

"I hated those triple digits," she said, chuckling. "Now I've got to get to single digits."

More Tennis

Tampa's Fish short in back-to-back bid

Two in a row was not meant to be for Tampa resident Mardy Fish. Latvia's Ernests Gulbis rallied past the top-seeded Fish 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to win the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles and his second career ATP tour.

Gulbis, who entered the tournament on a five-match losing streak, went ahead 5-1 in the third set. Fish, the world No. 9 who won at Atlanta last week, broke Gulbis' serve and rallied to 5-4 before Gulbis won three straight points in the final game.

"I was tired and I was fatigued," said Fish, who has a sore right heel. "I played a lot of matches this past month. He was a wee bit fresher than me."

Horses

Baffert wins Haskell a record fifth time

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won the $1 million Haskell Invitational a record fifth time when Coil unleashed a last-to-first rally and beat Preakness winner Shackleford by a neck at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

Breaking last out of the No. 1 post, Coil dropped behind the field of eight 3-year-olds, but jockey Martin Garcia allowed the horse to settle and gather momentum. Coil was still last rounding the last turn but began picking off horses through the stretch, collared Shackleford for the lead and edged away.

"When he straightened out for home and he was digging in and moving on Shackleford it was unbelievable what I was seeing," said Baffert, who won with Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002), Roman Ruler (2005) and Lookin At Lucky (2010).

Et cetera

Boxing: Unseeded super heavyweight Brett Rather defeated No. 1 seed Jonathan Hamm 83-81 in a tiebreaker at the U.S. Olympic trials in Mobile, Ala. Chris Pearson and Edgar Alvardo Jr., the top two middleweights, lost first-round matches in the double-elimination event.

Soccer: Two favorites in the Under-20 World Cup came through as expected with Spain and Nigeria picking up wins as the group play wrapped up. Spain defeated Costa Rica 4-1 in Group C, and Australia drew 1-1 with Ecuador. In Group D, Nigeria routed Guatemala 5-0 and Saudi Arabia beat Croatia 2-0.

basketball: Lindsay Whalen hit a fadeaway jumper with 1.5 seconds left to give visiting Minnesota a 70-69 WNBA win over host San Antonio. … The United States won its fourth straight gold medal at the under-19 women's world championship, beating Spain 69-46.

Times wires

Sports in brief: Serena Williams wins Bank of the West Classic 07/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 1:03am]

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