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National

  • Peng pulls off another U.S. Open upset

    NEW YORK (AP) — Peng Shuai beat another seeded player at the U.S. Open to reach her second straight Grand Slam round of 16.

    Two days after upsetting fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, Peng defeated 28th-seeded Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-3 on Friday. The Chinese veteran had gone two years without making it past the second round at a major tournament before her Wimbledon run this summer. But she didn't meet any seeded players in the first three rounds there before losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets.

    This time, Peng, ranked 39th, will face 14th-seeded Lucie Safarova or 22nd-seeded Alize Cornet to try to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

    Ninth-seeded Jelena Jankovic also advanced by routing Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-0. The 96th-ranked Larsson had upset Sloane Stephens in the second round.

    The 31-year-old Vinci had made the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open the last two years but lost in the opening round at the first three major tournaments of 2014.

    With third-ranked Li Na sidelined by a knee injury, Peng's success is giving the fans in China something to cheer.

    On the men's side, 20th-seeded Gael Monfils beat Alejandro Gonzalez 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.

  • Sharapova survives after losing set one

    NEW YORK (AP) — A year ago at this time, Maria Sharapova was sitting out the U.S. Open, getting checked by doctors and having tests on the surgically repaired right shoulder that has troubled her off and on.
    On Wednesday, Sharapova found herself down by a set and facing a break point early in the second at Flushing Meadows, bothered by the whipping wind, her own off-target strokes and an opponent who wasn’t backing down.
    As dusk fell and the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights came on, Sharapova came through the way she so often does in the crucible of a third set, beating 95th-ranked Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the tournament.
    Sharapova won in part because of her big shots, yes, but also because she had more in the tank when it mattered.
    “Overall I felt like in the end I was in much better shape than she was, and I could have played another few sets,” Sharapova said. “Mentally that helped me a lot.”
    It helped that Dulgheru had played one set over the past five weeks because of inflammation in her right wrist, which was operated on in May 2013 and flared up recently.
    Dulgheru, though, pointed to Sharapova’s grit as a key factor, too.

  • No U.S. Open for Nadal

    Reigning champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the U.S. Open because of an injury for the second time in three years Monday, leaving Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer as the men to beat at the year’s last Grand Slam tournament.
    Nadal announced his withdrawal, blamed on a bad right wrist, one week before play begins at Flushing Meadows.
    “I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things,” a posting on Nadal’s Facebook page read. “Not much more I can do right now, other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back.”
    The second-ranked Nadal plays left-handed, but he uses a two-handed backhand.
    The 14-time major champion was hurt July 29 while practicing on his home island of Mallorca ahead of the North American hard-court circuit. The next day, Nadal announced he needed to wear a cast on his wrist for two to three weeks and would be sitting out tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.
    The 28-year-old Spaniard also said at that time he expected to return for the U.S. Open.

  • Manfred to take over for Selig

    BALTIMORE (AP) — Rob Manfred was elected baseball’s 10th commissioner Thursday, winning a three-man race to succeed Bud Selig and given a mandate by the tradition-bound sport to recapture young fans and speed play in an era that has seen competition increase and attention spans shrink.
    The 55-year-old Manfred, who has worked for Major League Baseball in roles with ever-increasing authority since 1998, will take over from the 80-year-old Selig on Jan. 25. It’s a generational change much like the NBA undertook when Adam Silver replaced David Stern as commissioner in February. And like Silver, Manfred was his boss’s pick.
    Manfred beat out Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner in the first contested vote for a new commissioner in 46 years. The third candidate, MLB Executive Vice President of Business Tim Brosnan, withdrew just before the start of balloting.
    “I am tremendously honored by the confidence that the owners showed in me today,” Manfred said. “I have very big shoes to fill.”

  • Pacers think George will make recovery

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Pacers expect Paul George to make a full recovery from the compound fracture in his right leg. They’re just not expecting that to happen this season.
    On Tuesday, 11 days after George’s gruesome injury in a U.S. national team scrimmage, Larry Bird and Frank Vogel said doctors believe the two-time All-Star can be his old self after a long recovery.
    What the Pacers don’t know yet is precisely how long that will be. George underwent surgery Aug. 2 and returned to Indianapolis on Aug. 5. He is now recovering at his home.
    Vogel said doctors told the team the injury did not involve ligaments, tendons, joints or nerves, some rare good news in what has become a stressful offseason for the Pacers.
    “It’s bad enough for the franchise, but I feel so bad for Paul because I know how hard he works, how much it meant to him to play for his country,” said Bird, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations. “All he cared about was trying to get better.”

  • Cavaliers sign Kirk

    It was reported this afternoon that the Cleveland Cavaliers have signed free agent Alex Kirk to play for the upcoming season.

    Kirk, a former Los Alamos standout and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico, was inked to a a free agent contract today. Terms of the contract were not immediately disclosed, although Kirk's agent, Graham Boone, said it was a multi-year deal with part of the money being guaranteed.

    Kirk played for the Cavaliers during the 2014 NBA Summer League. He played all five games of the Summer League for the Cavs, playing an average of 15.4 minutes in those games.

    More information on the signing will be in Tuesday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Tiger Watch is on at Valhalla

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Joe LaCava walked nearly every blade of grass on the 18th green at Valhalla Golf Club, jotting notes in his yardage book after stepping off the distances from every edge of the green to every possible pin position. It was just like any other Monday at a major.
    The caddie just didn’t know whether any of this information would be useful in the PGA Championship.
    LaCava was awaiting word on whether his boss, Tiger Woods, would be healthy enough to play the final major of the year.
    “I’m optimistic,” LaCava said after he finished charting the entire golf course. “I’m hoping he plays. So I’m just doing whatever work I would normally do.”
    The caddie was at Valhalla. So was his car, a silver SUV parked in the spot assigned to the four-time PGA champion.
    As for Woods?
    Stay tuned. His agent, Mark Steinberg at Excel Sports Management, said in an email that Monday would be too early for doctors to decide whether Woods could or even should play this week after another back injury.
    The PGA of America said that Woods would not have his previously scheduled news conference Tuesday morning.

  • HGH use is rising among teens

    NEW YORK (AP) — Experimentation with human growth hormones by America's teens more than doubled in the past year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according to a new, large-scale national survey.
    In a confidential 2013 survey of 3,705 high school students, being released Wednesday by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 11 percent reported using synthetic HGH at least once — up from about 5 percent in the four preceding annual surveys. Teen use of steroids increased from 5 percent to 7 percent over the same period, the survey found.
    Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, depicted the numbers as alarming but not surprising, given the extensive online marketing of performance-enhancing substances and near-total lack of any drug testing for high school athletes.
    "It's what you get when you combine aggressive promotion from for-profit companies with a vulnerable target — kids who want a quick fix and don't care about health risk," Tygart said in an interview. "It's a very easy sell, unfortunately."
    Nine percent of teen girls reported trying synthetic HGH and 12 percent of boys.

  • Will Bills be living on a prayer?

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Rocker Jon Bon Jovi is part of a Toronto group that has retained a banking firm and submitted paperwork expressing interest in buying the Buffalo Bills, three people who have reviewed documents regarding the sale process told The Associated Press on Friday.
    It is unclear if the group would eventually want to move the NFL team to Toronto. The club is on the market after Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson died in March.
    The three people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Friday because the process is private and the Toronto group has not revealed its intentions.
    The group includes Larry Tanenbaum and the Rogers family. Tanenbaum is chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which controls the NHL’s Maple Leafs and NBA’s Raptors. The Rogers family includes Edward Rogers, who is deputy chairman of Rogers, the Toronto communications giant.
    The group is on a list of prospective buyers who have submitted a nondisclosure agreement form to Morgan Stanley, the banking firm overseeing the Bills sale. The Toronto group has retained the Goldman Sachs banking firm to assist in the bid.
    Bon Jovi previously expressed interest in owning an NFL franchise but never specifically mentioned the Bills. This is the first real indication linking him to Tanenbaum and Rogers.

  • Baseball gears up for 2nd half of year

    Sure, it was great for a couple days. The cheers for Derek Jeter. The power of Giancarlo Stanton. The excellence of Mike Trout in the American League’s 5-3 victory.
    Baseball’s All-Star party in the Twin Cities was a long series of smiles for players and fans. But the break is over now, and the real fun begins Friday night.
    Heading into the second half of the season, there are all sorts of compelling stories from coast to coast. It could be one fun summer in California, where Oakland begins the weekend with the best record in the majors, and the Giants, Angels and Dodgers are in prime playoff position. The trade deadline is in two weeks, and the recovery of several key injured players could dramatically affect a couple of divisions.
    The A’s bearded collection of shaggy misfits and stars is looking for the franchise’s first World Series title in 25 years. Sensing an opportunity, general manager Billy Beane got an early jump on the deadline when he acquired pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in a deal with the Chicago Cubs on July 4.
    The blockbuster trade created an awkward scene at the All-Star game, where Samardzija was introduced with the NL reserves and then joined his new teammates in the AL dugout.