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VENUS CRUISES TO SECOND TITLE OF YEAR

Tennis

Venus Williams won the Zurich Open on Sunday for her second singles title of the season.

Williams, 28, beat Italy's Flavia Pennetta 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 to take the tournament she last won as a teenager in 1999.

The American, who won at Wimbledon, likely sealed a spot in next month's WTA Tour Championship in Doha, Qatar.

"I love the pressure," Williams said. "I need it in my life.

"It is great to come (to Zurich) and play my best tennis of the week in the final against someone who is playing as well as she is."

Pennetta, 26, upset top-ranked Jelena Jankovic in the second round and went in with a 3-1 career record against Williams after beating her last week in Moscow.

"She just played unbelievable today," 17th-ranked Pennetta said. "It is tough to play against someone who serves like she did today. I didn't have any chance to make any breaks."

Madrid Masters: Fourth-ranked Andy Murray, 21, beat France's Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) to become the first Briton to win four titles in a season. Murray never faced a break point and converted one in the fifth game to take the first set when 16th-ranked Simon hit wide. He then saved two set points in the tiebreaker before closing the match out when Simon, 23, hit into the net for his 30th unforced error.

Clearwater seniors triumph: The Clearwater women's team captured the U.S. Tennis Association League senior national championship in Indian Wells, Calif. The team, which beat Lexington, Ky., 2-1 for the title, is captained by Anne Pulley and includes Turtle Marshall, Linda Miller, Ria Graham, Susan Hobbs, Ann Worthington, Marion Murch, Henriette Skoczen and Joanne Valone.

Boxing

At 43, Hopkins proves doubters wrong in win

After thoroughly confusing and dominating previously unbeaten Kelly Pavlik late Saturday in Atlantic City, Bernard Hopkins walked to the edge of the ring and stared at some of his detractors in the media.

The message was obvious. Don't ever doubt me again, even at 43 years old.

"I'm tired," Hopkins said of having to prove himself. "What do I have to do? Kill someone? I believe I am the most underrated fighter when it comes to defense, when it comes to offense, when it comes to my heart. In my heart, I fought like I had to prove something."

Hopkins (49-5-1) took Pavlik (34-1) to school in the 12-round nontitle fight. He used lightning-quick combinations and a cagey, near-perfect defense to embarrass and confuse 26-year-old Pavlik, the WBC and WBO middleweight champion. Hopkins received winning scores of 119-106, 117-109 and 118-108.

Soccer

Beckham will train in Italy to stay sharp

David Beckham will train with AC Milan beginning in January to stay in shape after the Major League Soccer season ends in November, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

The Los Angeles Galaxy star wants to remain fit so he can be called up for England's 2010 World Cup qualifying matches.

Beckham, 33, has been appointed a vice president for England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

MLS:Conor Casey scored on a penalty kick in the 85th minute to give the visiting Colorado Rapids a 2-1 win over Chivas USA.

Et cetera

NBA: Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (ankle) sat out in an83-66 win over the visiting Nets.

Horses: Red Giant (illness) will miss the Turf and Tropic Storm (soft tissue injury) won't run in the Sprint and Turf Sprint at the Breeders' Cup this week in Arcadia, Calif.

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