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Serena Williams reclaims No. 1 ranking

She defeats Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 6-3, 6-2 after top-ranked Dinara Safina loses to wild-card entry Zhang Shuai in the second round at the China Open on Tuesday.

October 07, 2009|Staff and Wire Reports

Serena Williams is headed back to the top.

Williams needed only to win her second-round match at the China Open on Tuesday to reclaim the No. 1 ranking, because the current top-ranked player, Dinara Safina, couldn't get past that early round at the tournament.

Coming in, Williams had to fare better than Safina in Beijing to move to the top of the rankings next week. Safina lost to local wild-card entry Zhang Shuai in the second round Monday.

Williams then needed just over one hour for a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.

"It feels pretty good. I'm really excited, I guess," Williams said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, but I'm obviously happy to be there because I feel like I've been working so hard all year and just happy to be back."

Safina's loss made No. 226 Zhang the lowest-ranked woman to defeat a No. 1. Julie Coin of France was ranked 188th when she beat then-No. 1 Ana Ivanovic at the 2008 U.S. Open.

In other action, Maria Sharapova rallied for a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-5 win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, and Peng Shuai of China upset defending champion Jelena Jankovic, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

In men's play, defending champion Andy Roddick lost to Polish qualifier Lucasz Kubot, 6-2, 6-4, and top-seeded Rafael Nadal had a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Cypriot wild card Marcos Baghdatis.


Marlins will keep Gonzalez

The manager with the most wins in Florida Marlins history will be given a chance to increase his total.

Fredi Gonzalez will return in 2010, the Marlins said Tuesday, ending two days of speculation about his status.

The Marlins, however, will seek a new pitching coach to replace Mark Wiley, who has been offered a different position in the organization.

Gonzalez's job was considered in jeopardy because owner Jeffrey Loria was upset that the Marlins failed to make the playoffs, though they finished 12 games above .500 with the smallest payroll in baseball.


Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the sale of the Chicago Cubs from the bankrupt Tribune Co. to the family of online brokerage billionaire and longtime fan Joe Ricketts.

Tom Ricketts, who has headed the sale for his family, could take day-to-day control of the Cubs by the end of the month. Tribune also owns The Times.


Iverson has hamstring strain

Allen Iverson's debut with the Memphis Grizzlies will have to wait.

The guard strained his left hamstring during a scrimmage on Sunday in Birmingham, Ala., and he was held out of the Grizzlies' opening exhibition game on Tuesday night against Washington in Richmond, Va.

Iverson is scheduled to have an MRI exam taken today in Memphis, and he will miss tonight's home game against Oklahoma City.


The Charlotte Bobcats are exercising the third-year option in guard D.J. Augustin's contract for the 2010-11 season.

Augustin, the ninth pick in the 2008 draft, averaged 11.8 points and 3.5 assists last season. He led NBA rookies by shooting 89% from the foul line.

Augustin will make $2.1 million next season. Charlotte also has an option for a fourth year.


Utah Jazz guard C.J. Miles is scheduled to have surgery today to repair a ruptured tendon in his left hand.

Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor said Miles will have the surgery in New York.


Mickelson says his back is OK

Phil Mickelson says a minor back injury that flared up last week during practice will not keep him out of the Presidents Cup matches this week at San Francisco's Harding Park.

Mickelson said his lower back tightened up Friday when he was chipping and putting. He played only nine holes Tuesday, and said he would play nine more today as a precaution.


The fences at Daytona and Talladega will be raised from 14 to 22 feet following a safety analysis conducted after Carl Edwards' airborne flight into the Alabama track's safety barrier.

A wreck on the last lap in April's race at Talladega Superspeedway sent Edwards sailing into the fence. It bowed, but held, and his car shot back onto the track.

Debris from the accident injured seven fans in the stands, the most serious a broken jaw suffered by a teenage girl.


Embattled Argentina soccer Coach Diego Maradona said he may consider resigning after the final two World Cup qualifying matches in the coming week against Peru and Uruguay.

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