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Sports in brief

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Emotional Murray wins Brisbane again

BRISBANE, Australia — Andy Murray kicked off 2013 by defending his Brisbane International title, holding off up-and-coming Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-0), 6-4 and dedicating Sunday's victory to an absent friend.

"He's back home watching. … You're going to get through," Murray said, his voice starting to break.

He didn't immediately reveal the friend's name but signed "For You Perched" on a small plaque.

Murray heads to the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 14, without the pressure that followed him on every previous trip to Australia to end what had been a drought dating to 1936 for British men at majors. Murray won his first major last year, the U.S. Open.

Soccer

FIFA boss: Don't run from racism

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said players facing racial abuse during games shouldn't walk off the field.

Kevin-Prince Boateng led AC Milan players off on Thursday during an exhibition against Pro Patria that was abandoned because of racist chanting by fans.

Blatter was quoted in Abu Dhabi's the National newspaper as saying: "Walk off? No. I don't think that is the solution. … I don't think you can run away, because eventually you can run away if you lose a match."

He urged local soccer authorities to impose "harsh" sanctions, such as point deductions.

More soccer: Los Angeles defender Omar Gonzalez will return to the U.S. national team after a two-year absence, while Landon Donovan, still deciding if he wants to play, was left off the Americans' training camp roster. … Midfielder Frank Lampard, Chelsea's second all-time leading scorer, will not be offered a new contract by the English Premier League team after the season, his agent said. … Liverpool ousted nonleague club Mansfield from the third round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win, and Arsenal tied Premier League rival Swansea 2-2. … Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored to help their teams win in the Spanish league a day before the two stars and Andres Iniesta vie for the FIFA Ballon d'Or prize, given to the player who was deemed to have had the best season in 2012.

Et cetera

Horses: Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens took third at Santa Anita in California in the first race of his comeback after a seven-year retirement. He was second aboard Jebrica in a $45,000 claiming race until they were caught by a nose. "That's the first time I've knuckled down on one in seven years, and it felt good," said Stevens, who turns 50 in March.

Times wires

Sports in brief 01/06/13 [Last modified: Sunday, January 6, 2013 9:25pm]
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