Without Evan Lysacek and Evgeni Plushenko to push him, Olympic bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi had to challenge himself.
Takahashi gave Japan its first men's title at the World Figure Skating Championships at Turin, Italy, on Thursday and he did it with flair, attempting a rare quadruple flip. Canada's Patrick Chan won the silver for a second straight year and France's Brian Joubert took the bronze, both making up for disappointing Olympic results.
U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott finished fifth and newcomer Adam Rippon, winner of the 2008 and '09 junior world titles, was sixth, ensuring the Americans will have three spots again at next year's world championships.
Earlier Thursday, Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada extended their lead over Vancouver runners-up Meryl Davis and Charlie White, winning the original dance with a sultry, saucy flamenco. Virtue and Moir earned a season-best 70.27 points — almost two points higher than their Vancouver score.
They have 114.40 points heading into Friday's free dance. Davis and White, two-time U.S. champions who train with Virtue and Moir, have 112.54 points after scoring a season-best 69.29 for their colorful Bollywood-on-ice original dance.
Venus Williams wins
Venus Williams said she looked "solid" in her opening match at the Sony Ericsson Open, a rather drab adjective considering she played in a red corset.
It was more like an eye-popping victory. Williams began a bid for a fourth title at Key Biscayne, Fla., and her first since 2001 by beating Sorana Cirstea, 6-4, 6-3.
The dress will be back in the third round, when the No. 3-seeded Williams plays unseeded Roberta Vinci, who beat No. 30 Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
On the men's side, lucky loser Nicolas Lapentti and qualifier Kevin Anderson were among those reaching the third round. The 33-year-old Lapentti, who made the draw only because another player pulled out, will face No. 1 Roger Federer on Saturday night.
Edmonds makes team
Jim Edmonds is back in the major leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Gold Glove center fielder, making a comeback after taking the 2009 season off, had his minor league contract purchased, giving the 39-year-old a spot on the 40-man roster.
The move put $850,000 in Edmonds' pocket, with the ability to make up to $1.75 million in bonuses.
A Florida International football player was stabbed to death in an incident on the Miami campus.
University President Mark Rosenberg said in a news release that Kendall Berry was stabbed and that the school was "shocked and saddened."
Berry was a reserve running back for the Golden Panthers from Haines City, Fla.
Pioneering sports broadcaster Chester R. Simmons, who served as president of ESPN during the company's launch in 1979, has died. He was 81.
Simmons' family said he died in Atlanta on Thursday.
Former NFL linebacker Elijah Alexander has died after a nearly five-year battle with cancer. He was 39.
Medical City Hospital spokeswoman Bianca Jackson said Alexander died Wednesday night at the Dallas facility. She declined to comment on a cause of death.
Alexander received a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, in 2005.