Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

Venus Williams making noise at Wimbledon

LONDON — At age 34 and with retirement speculation swirling, Venus Williams again appears to be a factor at Wimbledon, site of five of her seven major titles. And there's a matchup against another former champion looming.

Williams overcame a slow start Wednesday for a 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 victory over 41st-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the second time in her past 10 appearances.

"I don't like watching it on TV. I want to be out there. I'm not about the easy thing. Life is a challenge. For me, when I leave tennis, I want it to be on my own terms. I want to know that I rose to every challenge. I want to look back with no regrets," Williams said. "Everyone messes up. Everyone chokes. Everyone gets tight. Everyone loses matches they should have won. But as long as you walked out there and you gave it your all, you can look back with no regrets."

Williams, a former No. 1 who is seeded 30th, revealed three years ago that she was diagnosed with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease.

A year ago, she skipped Wimbledon because of a back injury. She hasn't been to the fourth round at a major since 2011 at the All England Club. But she will return to that stage if she beats that year's titlist, Petra Kvitova.

"She likes to play on the grass," Kvitova said, "and I'm totally the same."

Williams fell behind 3-0 against Nara, then started finding the mark. In the tiebreaker, Williams again began poorly and trailed 4-1 before grabbing six points in a row for the set.

Nara, 22, spoke about this being a "very special" occasion for her, because she watched Williams on television "when I was a child."

A reporter asked Williams about being the oldest woman left in the tournament, and she jokingly pumped her fists.

"Wisdom has served me well," said Williams, who later returned to Court 3 to win a first-round doubles match with her sister Serena. "I've worn my sunscreen, so I haven't aged terribly. My knees are very tight, not saggy. And the crow's feet have been kept at bay. So I'll give myself an A-plus."

The sixth-seeded Kvitova played with her right leg heavily taped because of a recent injury but had zero trouble in a 6-2, 6-0 victory over 59th-ranked Mona Barthel. The biggest names sent home were No. 8 Victoria Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion beaten by Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; and No. 7 David Ferrer, who lost 6-7 (7-5), 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 against qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov.

Sam Querrey, an American ranked 67th, was at 9-all in the fifth set against 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga when play was halted because of fading light.

In all, the results were nothing like those "Can you believe that?" outcomes of the first Wednesday in 2013, when Roger Federer was among seven players who have been ranked No. 1 to exit the field in less than 10 hours.

The man who defeated Federer that day, Sergiy Stakhovsky, lost his next four Grand Slam matches. But Stakhovsky pulled off another surprise Wednesday, eliminating French Open semifinalist Ernests Gulbis.

Defending champ Andy Murray and last year's runnerup, 2011 champ Novak Djokovic, both won. Murray's 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 victory over Blaz Rola was devoid of drama. That wasn't the case with Djokovic's 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) win over 35-year-old Radek Stepanek.

She's out: Martina Hingis lost in the first round of women's doubles in her return to Wimbledon, seven years after a positive test for cocaine during the tournament led to one of her temporary retirements. The 33-year-old, a five-time Grand Slam singles champion, received a wild-card invitation for doubles. She and Vera Zvonareva lost to fourth-seeded Cara Black and Sania Mirza 6-2, 6-4.

ITALIAN FINED: Fabio Fognini was fined $27,500 by Wimbledon for outbursts during his first-round victory Monday.

Comments
Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

NEWARK, N.J. — Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Taking Care of Business shook the walls of the Lightning locker room not long after it dispatched the Devils in Wednesday's Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.The 3-1 win was sparked by Nikita K...
Updated: 7 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 18

Wednesday’s scoreboardSoftballAdmiral Farragut 2, Boca Ciega 1Springstead 10, Nature Coast 4
Updated: 7 hours ago

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Tigers1 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Yankees6:30 p.m.MLB; 1040-AMMarlins at Brewers8 p.m.FSFBoxingFeatherweights: Roach vs. Cruz9:30 p.m.ESPN2College baseballFlorida at Kentucky7 p.m.SECVanderbilt at Missouri8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA Europe: ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Devils Game 4

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Devils Game 4

I guess the lesson here is never believe a hockey player when he says what happens in a scrum at the end of a playoff game doesn't carry over into the next game. It sure looks like the Lightning and Devils won't be vacationing together this summer.Th...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: How Tampa Bay worked its way to a 3-1 series lead

Lightning-Devils: How Tampa Bay worked its way to a 3-1 series lead

Times columnist Tom Jones gives his thoughts while watching the broadcast of Game 4 of the series between the Lightning and Devils:Hard work beats everythingWe watch the Lightning all season long and marvel at its skill. Nikita Kucherov, Steven ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Restraint? Ha. Lightning-Devils mix it up in early going of Game 4

Restraint? Ha. Lightning-Devils mix it up in early going of Game 4

NEWARK, N.J. — Both sides were in agreement Tuesday that the shenanigans during the final minute of Monday's Game 3 would not carry over to Game 4."I think the emotion of a game in a series carries over, (but) what happened at end I don't think...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays journal: Whew. Alex Colome gets the job done

Rays journal: Whew. Alex Colome gets the job done

ST. PETERSBURG — In the end, Alex Colome got the three outs to save the game, the day and the stomach linings of his bosses from further deterioration, so in theory that should be what mattered most Wednesday.And the fact that he was smiling in...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 4-2 Wednesday win

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 4-2 Wednesday win

Alex Colome's ninth-inning dramatics took the focus, but the work of newly corn-rowed RHP Chaz Roe in the seventh (three Ks) and LHP Jose Alvarado (one K, two infield outs) was textbook, and showed how the bullpen can work.RELATED: Whew. Alex Colome ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Anonymous Rays rally to beat Rangers 4-2, win series

Anonymous Rays rally to beat Rangers 4-2, win series

ST. PETERSBURG — Even before they lost several of the hitters they were relying most on to injuries, the Rays did not exactly have a lineup built on intimidation.Their own owner said opening day that he expected them to rank among the least pro...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Updated: 11 hours ago