compiled by staff , wire reports and WTA Tour
The career comeback of Kim Clijsters continued over the weekend, when she beat the older Williams sister, Venus, 6-2, 6-1 in the finals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.
The match was surprisingly lopsided than the scores show. Clijsters won 17 consecutive points in the second set which equal to four games. The championship match lasted just 58 minutes.
Kim Clijsters WTA Tour (creative commons/wfe photo)
Clijsters also won this tournament in 2005.
After retiring in 2007, Clijsters married and became a mother before returning to the tour in August of 2009. She won the U.S. Open in September and now has three titles in her comeback.
Of the 55 points that Clijsters won, 30 came on unforced errors by Williams. She double-faulted twice in a row. Her volleys that cleared the net made work easy for the linesman, often sailing long out of bounds. Williams was also beaten at the baseline which is usually her strength, but she lost in that battle, 37-9 in points.
Clijsters earned $700,000 for the win and she’ll climb to 10th in the world this week. It’ll be the highest ranking for the former number 1 since she returned to the tour.
Venus’ sister Serena, watched the match from the photograher’s pit and like everybody in attendance, couldn’t believe what she was watching. Serena has been sidelined with a left knee injury since winning the Australian Open two months ago.
While Serena has been recuperating, Venus had been the hottest player on the tour with 15 consecutive wins, her longest streak since 2004. But throughout the match she looked less than 100 percent especially with wraps on both her legs.
compiled from staff, wire and Duke Athletics
The current Duke Blue Devils roster has no clear-cut superstar players meaning there are no Tommy Amakers, Danny Ferrys, Christian Laettners or Grant Hills.
They do have players and leaders in Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith who can carry them when needed.
Jon Scheyer scored 23 points Saturday night to lead Duke, to a surprisingly easy 78-57 triumph over the West Virginia Mountaineers and set up the NCAA Championship matchup with Indianapolis’ hometown school, Butler University. It’s a matchup of big school vs. little school.
Blue Devils' Jon Scheyer (Duke photography)
The Blue Devils are now 34-5 after the win in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday.
Duke has been yearning to get back to the national championship and has gone six years since its last appearance and it’s been nine years since they won it all. That lengthy drought has not sat too well with the folks in the Tobacco Road area and Coach Mike Krzyzewski has taken alot of heat eventhough he is one of the games upper-tier coaches.
The Blue Devils beat a West Virginia team coached by alumnus Bob Huggins, who led the his team to a 31-7 record and a 10-game winning streak that included the Big East tournament championship and ended with the Final Four trip. West Virginia hasn’t seen anything close to this season, in 51 years when Jerry West was in Morgantown.
Coach Huggins returned to West Virginia to bring back winning basketball and a national spotlight on the program and he has done that for the state’s #1 school.
The Mountaineers chances dimmed when at the 8:59 mark in the second half, star player Da’Sean Butler, twisted his left knee and, was charged with an offensive foul as he fell to the ground. Butler was in a lot of pain and was consoled by Coach Huggins until he was helped off the floor, never to return. If it wasn’t for Butler, West Virginia would never have seen the Final Four; he saved them in several games with buzzer-beating shots.
West Virginia was also stopped inside by Duke’s tall forest of big men led by 7’1 Brian Zoubek and 6’10 brothers, Mason and Miles Plumlee who clogged the middle and forced the Mountaineers to shoot medium-range jumpers.
compiled from staff, wire and Butler Athletics
Butler coach Brad Stevens (megasportsnews.com file)
Butler's Matt Howard (megasportsnews.com file)
All of college basketball’s favorite programs are out of the NCAA tournament; Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Ohio State and Georgetown to name a few.
But Mid-major power Butler University of the Horizon League is still standing and will be playing in “the next game” which has been their theme all year, the National Championship Game against the Duke Blue Devils who beat West Virginia, 78-57.
The State of Indiana’s latest version of the movie “Hoosiers” is playing out as Butler has shown that a small Mid-major university can dream big and play for a championship.
Gordon Hayward had 19 points and nine rebounds, including one with 2 seconds remaining left that sealed the game. The small-school Bulldogs took down another big-name in college basketball, Michigan State by a 52-50 score in the Final Four in Indianapolis, Indiana, Butler’s hometown.
The venue was Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, is 6 miles from Butler’s campus on the north end of town around Meridian and 49th Street.
Butler (33-4) and winners of 25 games in a row, will play Duke (34-5) in Monday’s title game.
The entire Hoosier state is along on the bandwagon. Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame are the state of Indiana’s benchmark universities when it comes to college basketball but Butler, a small school of 4,200 has silently been in the Top 25 polls for years and has produced some solid basketball coaches over recent years in Barry Collier, Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter and now Brad Stevens. They have given college basketball fans a glimpse that the Horizon League is a quality league.
Michigan State (28-9) had been playing on the edge all tournament, after being hampered by injuries and sneaking by game after game but not against the scrappy Bulldogs who shutdown all of their scorers, Draymond Green, Durrell Summers and Raymar Morgan.
compiled from staff and LPGA reports
Karen Stupples started Saturday’s round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, one shot behind Song-Hee Kim. Her caddie, Jerry Woodard gave her stern pep talk about being nervous and settled her down.
That pep talk really did wonders because Stupples came thru with a 4-under par 68 at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California to take a one-stroke lead into Easter Sunday’s final round, with six past majors winners snipping at her heels within seven shots.
Karen Stupples (lpga)
The 36-year-old Stupples, who is a star in England, won the 2004 Women’s British Open, had a 10-under 206 total in the season’s first major tournament.
On Easter Sunday, she’ll need to play well again to stay ahead of the field of capable majors winners including Kristie Kerr, Lorena Ochoa, Grace Park, Suzann Pettersen, Yani Tseng and Karrie Webb.
Pettersen, the first-round leader who likely has played her way out of contention with a 73 on Friday, and Tseng shot 67′s to reach 9 under par.
Number 1 Lorena Ochoa, who won the Kraft Nabisco two years ago, rebounded from a slow start with birdies on three of her last seven holes for a 71 to tie second-round leader Kim at 7 under.
Webb fired a 72, Kerr a 74 and Park a 69 also were in the top nine. Webb is alone at 5-under par, Kerr is tied with Brittany Lang at 69 and 4 under and Park is tied with five others including Michelle Wie, at 3 under.
Pettersen won the 2007 LPGA Championship. She has two top-10 finishes in three starts this year but also has been slowed by a hip injury. She has three straight to-five finishes in the tournament.
compiled by megasportsnews.com staff
Boston's Fenway Park (creative commons/wfe photo)
Baseball’s most heated rivalry is ready to get heated up again and it’ll start on the day of the new 2010 baseball season.
Easter night’s game between two of baseball’s benchmark franchises. the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will be a prime-time showcase for themselves, while the other MLB teams including the oldest, the Cincinnati Reds, will have to wait until Monday to open their seasons.
The Yankees will start this season off as defending champions for the first time since the opening game in 2001. The world championship is the 27th in the history of the franchise.
The opening night pitchers will be C.C. Sabathia for New York and Josh Beckett for Boston. Both will be making their second consecutive opening day starts in what is expected to be warm temperatures in Beantown.
There will be some new faces on both benches for this season’s rivalry.
The Yankees said goodbye to World Series MVP Hadeki Matsui and fan favorite Johnny Damon, both left as free agents and the team traded Melky Cabrera. However, they picked up speedy centerfielder Curtis Granderson, designated hitter Nick Johnson and righthanded pitcher Javier Vasquez.
Boston made additions as well. They lost Jason Bay in free agency but vastly improved their defense by signing Gold Glovers Mike Cameron to play centerfield, Adrian Beltre will play third base and Marco Scutaro will be the new shortstop. John Lackey will be the number 3 starter behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.
Checking the baseball record books, this will be the fourth time in 26 years that the rivals have met in the opener. The Yankees were the winners in 1992 and 2005 in Yankee Stadium. Boston won at Fenway Park in 1985 and is opening the season at home for just the third time since 1996.