Despite back problems, federer wins in rome
ROME — Roger Federer put his full array of shots on display in a 6-3, 7-5 win over Alexander Zverev on Wednesday in the second round of the Italian Open, an encouraging performance considering he only decided to play moments before stepping onto the court.
"I was expecting to lose in straight sets," said Federer, who has been having problems with his back. "I played cautious, and I only decided after the warmup that I was actually going to play."
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal also advanced in straight sets on the red clay courts.
In women's action, Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka and last week's Madrid Open winner, Simona Halep, lost.
After withdrawing from Madrid with lower back pain, Federer looked sharp from the start against 44th-ranked Zverev, using his backhand slice drop shot especially well.
Djokovic beat 35-year-old qualifier Stephane Robert 7-5, 7-5 as he seeks a third straight title in Rome. Murray never dropped his serve as he eliminated qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-3. Nadal defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3.
World's richest thoroughbred race planned for Gulfstream
What would be the world's richest thoroughbred race is being planned for next year at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. The $12 million Pegasus World Cup is the vision of Frank Stronach. founder of the Stronach Group, one of the world's leading horse racetrack operators. It will be run Jan. 28; the Stronach Group said the date was chosen to avoid conflicting with the Breeders' Cup and the Dubai World Cup. The race will be run at 11/8 miles on dirt. It will have 12 entrants who pay $1 million each for a spot in the gate, and those entrants can sell or lease their spots. The entrants would also share equally in net income generated by the race.
Autos: NASCAR fined and suspended Kyle Busch's crew chief, Adam Stevens, for violating a lug-nut policy that is only weeks old. Stevens was fined $20,000 and will miss this week's AAA 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover after a lug-nut infraction was discovered after Busch won last week's Gobowling 400 at Kansas. Busch's front-tire changer, Josh Leslie, was also suspended for one race. Both were put on probation through Dec. 31.
Soccer: Sunderland completed its latest escape from relegation in the English Premier League and consigned rival Newcastle to the second tier in the process. A 3-0 win over Everton guaranteed safety for Sunderland with a game to spare this season. Newcastle and Norwich — which beat Watford 4-2 — were demoted instead, joining already-relegated Aston Villa.