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Serena wins first title since March

Serena Williams erased a match point in the second set and came back to beat U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 Sunday at the China Open for her first title in six months.

Williams ended Kuznetsova's 14-match winning streak. The second-seeded Russian won her previous two events, the U.S. Open and a tournament in Bali last week.

Williams, the top seed, saved a match point down 4-5 in the second set. She went on to win the next three games to take the set and raced ahead 4-0 in the third.

"I just played crazy," said Williams, who last won at Key Biscayne in March. "It's kind of encouraging that I was able to win when I wasn't playing my best."

Both players appeared rattled by a boisterous crowd, several times playing after a point was complete because they couldn't hear the call. Professional tennis is new to China, and spectators clapped and cheered during points and between serves. Cell phones rang repeatedly. When the chair umpire tried to silence the crowd with a sharply spoken "thank you," the crowd cheered loudly as if to say "you're welcome."


USF rally ties St. Louis

A late goal by sophomore Keeron Benito helped South Florida (5-0-2, 2-0-1 C-USA) tie visiting Saint Louis (3-3-1, 1-0-1) at 2 Saturday in men's soccer. The Bulls trailed for the first time this season until Benito's score in the 87th minute. Freshman Rodrigo Hidalgo also scored for USF.

WOMEN'S SOCCER: Auburn's lone shot of the game was on a penalty kick goal by Jenn Walters in a 1-0 win over visiting Florida (7-2-1, 1-1 SEC). The Tigers (7-2, 2-0 SEC) were awarded the PK when Chrissy Culver was fouled in the 18-yard box.

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Utah State suspended two players, Jason Williams and Marques Crane, for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and coach Stew Morrill said the two might be dismissed.

VOLLEYBALL: Visiting Florida had four players with at least eight kills each as the Gators bat LSU 30-20, 30-22, 30-25. The Gators (10-1, 2-0) extended their NCAA record win streaks to 132 regular-season conference matches and 108 conference matches overall.

TENNIS: UF's Greg Ouellette and Florida State's Chip Webb reached today's finals at the Southern Intercollegiate in Athens, Ga. Ouellette won two matches in Division I singles and Webb beat UF's Stefan Tell in the Division II semifinals.


Wambach leads win

Abby Wambach scored twice and had an assist in her hometown of Rochester, N.Y., as the Americans defeated Iceland 4-3 late Saturday before a capacity crowd of nearly 15,000. The match was the first of 10 the U.S. team's "Fan Appreciation Tour," a sendoff for departing veterans Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett.

MLS: Host San Jose moved into a tie for the final playoff spot in the West with a 0-0 tie late Saturday with Los Angeles. Andy Herron scored twice as host Chicago beat New England 2-0, opening a five-point lead over the Revolution for the final playoff spot in the East. Jonny Walker had his fifth shutout of the season as the visiting MetroStars clinched a playoff spot with a 2-0 win over Dallas.

VOELLER QUITS QUICKLY: Rudi Voeller, who led Germany to the 2002 World Cup final, quit Roma after less than a month, leaving the Italian club seeking a fourth coach in as many months.


Bump can't stop her

Japan's Yoko Shibui overcame a run-in with an official to win the Berlin Marathon in a race-record 2:19:41, the fourth-best time for a woman at the distance. Just after veering through the giant pillars of the Brandenburg Gate, Shibui bumped into a race official standing in the wrong place. That mishap might have cost her the Asian record held by China's Yingjie Sun, which she missed by two seconds. Felix Limo of Kenya (2:06:43) won the men's division.

MEXICO CITY MARATHON: Philip Metto (men, 2:18:14) and Albina Gallyamova (women, 2:43:17) won their divisions in a race run at an altitude of 7,350 feet.


World record set in 50

Jade Edmistone broke the short-course world record in the 50-meter breaststroke in Brisbane, Australia, one night after tying the mark. Edmistone finished in 29.90 seconds in the Australian short-course championships, 0.06 seconds faster than her 29.96 from Saturday's semifinal when she matched the time set by Emma Igelstrom in 2002. Also, 100 backstroke winner Matt Welsh became the first Australian to claim six successive national titles.


Spaniard wins home race

Roberto Heras of Spain won his second Spanish Vuelta by finishing fourth in the final leg, an 18-mile time trial in Madrid. Heras also won the event in 2000. The 21st stage was won by his main rival, Santiago Perez, in 35 minutes, 5 seconds.


PARALYMPICS: Japan's Yuichi Takahashi, who is blind, won the Paralympic marathon in Athens, Greece, unsure of his victory until well after he finished. Takahashi, running with a guide, ran in 2:44:24 and was told he won 20 minutes later. A cyclist and two weightlifters were stripped of their medals because of failed drug tests, officials said.

DERBY LANE: The track closed Sunday because of the weather but was scheduled to open today at 11:30 a.m. for poker and simulcast wagering.

HORSES: Artie Schiller won the Grade II, $200,000 Jamaica Handicap in a course-record time of 1:45 2/5 at Belmont Park.

OBITUARY: Jockey Dean Kutz, who rode more than 2,800 winners during almost 30 years at tracks in the Upper Midwest and Kentucky, died Sunday at 48.

_ Compiled from Times wires.

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