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Serena Williams wins easily

Williams defeats Anastasia Rodionova in straight sets during opening round of the Bank of the West Classic.

July 26, 2011|Wire reports

Serena Williams beat Australia's Anastasia Rodionova, 6-0, 6-0, Tuesday in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic at Palo Alto.

Williams, troubled by a right foot injury the last year, played on American soil for the first time since reaching the semifinal of the 2009 U.S. Open. It's her third event since winning at Wimbledon last year. Williams, ranked 169th, moved smoothly on the court against the overmatched, 105th-ranked Rodionova, who has lost five straight.

She figures to stick to a strict schedule the rest of the summer, which means stops in Cincinnati and Toronto before returning to the U.S. Open.

In other first-round matches, Russian Maria Kirilenko beat sixth-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-2, 6-3; seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia was upset by Japan's Ayumi Morita, 6-3, 7-5; and Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova beat Rina Fujiwara of Japan, 6-0, 6-2.

Top-seeded Shahar Peer defeated Japanese qualifier Ryoko Duda, 6-4, 6-2, to advance to the second round of the inaugural WTA Citi Open at College Park, Md.

ETC.

NCAA may close loophole

An NCAA panel recommends broadening the definition of agents to close the loophole that allowed Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton to keep playing despite his father's pay-for-play scheme.

The Division I Amateurism Cabinet is sponsoring legislation that would include family members and other third parties who shop an athlete's services to schools for financial gain. The proposal was announced Tuesday on the NCAA's website.

The NCAA determined that Cecil Newton, Cam's father, shopped his son's services to Mississippi State when Cam Newton was being recruited in junior college.

Oklahoma is the overwhelming favorite to win the first football championship in the new-look Big 12 Conference, according to a preseason poll of media who cover the league. The Sooners received 41 of 43 first-place votes…. Boise State was picked by members of the media to win the Mountain West Conference title in its first year in the league. The Broncos, who finished last season ranked No. 10 in the nation while playing in the Western Athletic Conference, received 28 of 31 first-place votes…. Toledo is the preseason favorite to win the Mid-American Conference championship.

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The U.S. men lost to Hungary, 9-8, in the quarterfinals of the world water polo championships at Shanghai. Ryan Bailey scored three goals for the Americans on Tuesday. Daniel Varga and Denes Varga scored two goals each to lead Hungary. The U.S. was attempting to win a men's water polo worlds medal for the first time.

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Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony said they will consider offers to play professional basketball in China if there is no resolution to the NBA lockout.

Former Kings coach Andy Murray signed a five-year contract to coach hockey at Western Michigan. He won 333 games in 10 seasons in the NHL.

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