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Clijsters, 23, changes her mind and retires now

May 07, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Her muscles aching when she gets out bed, Kim Clijsters is done with tennis at 23.

The former U.S. Open champion, once ranked No. 1, had planned to quit after the season. Now, with injuries and her thoughts turning to family and a "new life," her retirement is immediate.

"Health and private happiness are so much more important," she said on her website Sunday.

Still ranked No. 4, Clijsters said she was wary of the injuries that have led to fatigue, lack of motivation and a decline in play.

Clijsters made the decision after losing in straight sets to qualifier Julia Vakulenko in her final match Thursday, failing to defend her title in Warsaw.

Clijsters played for 10 years and won 34 career singles titles. She had wanted to make Wimbledon the last Grand Slam tournament of her career. Instead, her summer will be marked by her July 14 wedding to Brian Lynch, a former Villanova basketball player now playing in Belgium.

A left wrist injury last year stopped Clijsters from defending her only Gland Slam title in New York and from playing in the Fed Cup final.

The first Belgian to reach No. 1, Clijsters reached the 2007 Australian Open semifinals but injured her hip. She recently complained of back pain after losing in Key Biscayne, Fla.

"It has been more than fun, but the rackets are being hung up," she said. "To retire before the age of 24, it is very young -- but it was so beautiful."

Novak Djokovic won his third ATP title of the year, beating Richard Gasquet, 7-6 (7), 0-6, 6-1, in the Estoril Open final at Oeiras, Portugal.

Philipp Kohlschreiber won his first title by beating doubles partner Mikhail Youzhny, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, at the BMW Open at Munich, Germany.

Rain delayed the final of the J&S Cup between top-ranked Justine Henin and Alona Bondarenko until today in Warsaw.

In his first competitive matches since winning the 2002 U.S. Open for his record 14th Grand Slam title, Pete Sampras beat Todd Martin, 6-3, 7-6 (11-9), to win the Champions Cup event at Boston.

The matches are best-of-two sets, with a 10-point tiebreaker in case they split the sets.

MOTOR RACING

Duno eases through

Indy 500 rookie test

Hoping to become only the fifth woman in the Indianapolis 500, Milka Duno breezed through all four phases of her rookie test as practice began for the May 27 race.

If Duno, 35, joins Sarah Fisher and Danica Patrick in qualifying, the race would be Indy's first with three women in the lineup.

Duno's top speed was 214.128 mph.

Melanie Troxel won her first top fuel race of the season at the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals, beating veteran Cory McClenathan with a run of 4.741 seconds to his 5.355 to become the second woman to win at Gateway International Raceway at Madison, Ill.

Ron Capps extended his lead in the funny car points to 121 with his third victory of the year, this one over Del Worsham in 4.882 seconds at 305.98 mph.

Kawasaki's James Stewart raced to his 13th Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series victory in the season finale at Las Vegas late Saturday.

MISCELLANY

Tennessee's Abbott

breaks strikeout record

Tennessee's Monica Abbott became the NCAA's career strikeouts leader in softball, striking out 11 in a doubleheader against Alabama at Knoxville, Tenn., to overtake former Texas star Cat Osterman with 2,276.

Manchester United won its first English Premier League title since 2003 without kicking a ball because Chelsea was held to a 1-1 tie at Arsenal. United has 88 points to Chelsea's 81.

Erik Staal scored 23 seconds into overtime to lift Canada to a 4-3 victory that kept the Czech Republic from reaching the quarterfinals of the hockey world championships at Mytischi, Russia. Slovakia beat Belarus, 4-3.

Panathinaikos won its fourth Euroleague title by beating defending champion CSKA Moscow, 93-91, at Athens.

The College World Series could get a new home under a proposal being considered to build a $50-million ballpark north of downtown Omaha near Creighton that would replace 59-year-old Rosenblatt Stadium.

NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby got an 8.3 overnight rating with an 18 share, up 12% from last year's overnight numbers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 8.3 equals the highest overnight rating for Derby coverage over the past 15 years. The overnight rating was also an 8.3 in 2001, 2002 and 2004.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s split-decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya, televised on pay-per-view, will be replayed on HBO Saturday at 10 p.m.

-- Larry Stewart

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