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CHAKVETADZE RUNS WINNING STREAK TO 10; VENUS ALSO ADVANCES

TENNIS

Anna Chakvetadze began her pursuit of a third straight WTA tournament title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Meghann Shaughnessy on Wednesday at the Acura Classic.

The Russian handled her American counterpart with little difficulty in her first match of the tournament. Chakvetadze will face Ai Sugiyama in the third round after the unseeded Sugiyama defeated No. 15 Sybille Bammer, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

The victory extended Chakvetadze's winning streak to 10 matches. The No. 3 seed has won 21 of 23 matches since the beginning of May.

No. 10 seed Venus Williams continued her strong play with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Virginie Razzano. The former No. 1 player, who has taken both matches in straight sets, will meet sixth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova, a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 winner over Victoria Azarenka.

LEGG MASON CLASSIC: Tampa's Mardy Fish, still bothered by tendinitis in his knees, was knocked out in the second round in Washington, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 by Michael Berrer. Former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson also reached the third round by beating defending champion and No. 4 seed Arnaud Clement 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

SOCCER

Ching's goal helps Dynamo reach SuperLiga semifinals

Brian Ching scored in the 50th minute, and the host Houston Dynamo beat D.C. United 1-0 to advance to the SuperLiga semifinals.

Houston meets Mexico's Pachuca in the semifinals Aug. 14. D.C. United needed a loss by Morelia against Club America later Wednesday to advance to a semifinal matchup at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 15.

U.S., MEXICO TO MEET AGAIN: The U.S. team will play Mexico for the third time this year, a Sept. 9 exhibition game at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The U.S. team is 0-22-1 against Mexico in Mexico but is 9-2-1 against El Tri overall since 2000, including 8-0-1 on U.S. soil.

ET CETERA

SWIMMING: Just for kicks, Michael Phelps nearly set a world record in an event he won't be swimming at the Olympics. Phelps won the 200-meter backstroke with a scintillating performance at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis, finishing more than two seconds ahead of a field that included world-record holder Ryan Lochte. Capturing the 33rd national title of his brilliant career, Phelps touched with a time of 1 minute, 54.65 seconds - the third-fastest ever. Phelps shared top billing on night two of the meet with 40-year-old Dara Torres, who surprised everyone - herself included - by winning the 100 freestyle, the 14th national title of her career. She was two-hundredths off her personal best, set in 2000.

BOXING: Floyd Mayweather Jr. will defend his welterweight title against Ricky Hatton on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas. The site has not been determined, Golden Boy Promotions said. The fighters are a combined 81-0.

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