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Sports in brief: U.S. Open champion Djokovic wins in return


djokovic wins after six-week injury absence

BASEL, Switzerland — Novak Djokovic returned after missing six weeks with a back injury and defeated Xavier Malisse 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the first round of the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday.

The top-ranked Serb (65-3) faced some difficult moments. Djokovic broke his opponent's first service game, but Malisse rallied against the U.S. Open champion in the second set and broke in the ninth game.

Djokovic broke to a lead in the decider but failed to serve out the match at 5-3 and wasted match point in the next game. He quickly closed out the last two games.

Fifth-seeded Mardy Fish retired against Tampa resident James Blake after one game because of a hamstring injury.

Valencia Open: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was given a scare by teenager Javier Marti before rallying to win the first-round match in Spain 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Tsonga trailed early because of unforced errors and the smooth backhand of the 19-year-old wild card, who played his first match against a top-10 player.

Tsonga will play Sam Querrey, who won his first match since June, 6-3, 6-4 over Ernest Gulbis.

Top-seeded David Ferrer opened his title defense by beating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2, and third-seeded Gael Monfils beat Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-1.


Hendrick home after plane crash

NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick returned to Charlotte, N.C., a day after he broke a rib and shoulder when his plane ran off the runway in Key West.

Hendrick Motorsports said the brakes failed when the Gulfstream G150 landed Monday night. The plane is co-owned by Jimmie Johnson and normally shuttles the five-time defending NASCAR champion and his family to and from races.

Hendrick, his wife, Linda, and the two pilots were released from Lower Keys Medical Center on Tuesday morning. Linda Hendrick sustained minor cuts and bruises. The pilots were not injured.

Stewart signs deal with sponsor: Tony Stewart signed Quicken Loans to a nine-race deal for Ryan Newman next season, a sponsorship agreement that gives Stewart-Haas Racing its most stable funding package since Stewart became co-owner in 2009.

"We still have some gaps, but this is the best (sponsorship) position we've ever been in," Stewart said. "This was months in the making."

et cetera

Obituary: Thomas McNeeley Jr., a boxer who briefly dropped heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson to a knee and raised a son who took on Mike Tyson in 1995, has died of complications from a seizure. He was 74. Mr. McNeely died Oct. 25 in Weymouth, Mass., according to his son, Thomas McNeeley III. The elder McNeeley once said of his fourth-round loss to Patterson in 1961: "The stories about the fight said I went down nine or 10 times. I have the film. It was more like 12 or 13." Tyson beat McNeely III in one round.

Horses: French-trained Dunaden won the $6.2 million Melbourne (Australia) Cup, beating England's Red Cadeaux by a nose in one of the closest finishes in the 151-year history of the 2-mile turf handicap.

Jurisprudence: Prosecutors dropped a felony gun charge against Pistons center Ben Wallace, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. Wallace's Cadillac Escalade was stopped Sept. 24 in Bloomfield Township, Mich.

Times wires

Sports in brief: U.S. Open champion Djokovic wins in return 11/01/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 10:06pm]
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