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Sharapova wins 22nd career title in France

compiled from staff, wire and WTA Tour news

Maria Sharapova won her 22nd career title after a two-month layoff with a right elbow injury, defeating Kristina Barrois 7-5, 6-1 Saturday in the Strousbourg International final.

The title was Sharapova’s second on clay and a boost on the eve of the French Open, where she’s reached one semifinal and three quarterfinals.

Maria Sharapova WTA (John Fulton photo)

Sharapova lost her first match in two months last week in Madrid, then accepted a late wild card to be the top seed in Strasbourg, where she rolled all the way to her second title of the 2010 season.

The 13th ranked Sharapova trailed 5-3 in the first set, then during a changeover, came out and won seven straight games.

Sharapova broke Barrois, a German and a first-time finalist, twice more in the second set and closed it out with a backhand winner.

The popular Russian tennis star had dropped to number 126 in the world in 2008 and rebounded to number 14 in 2009.

Byron Nelson Championship leaders: Beckman, Adams

compiled from staff and wire reports

The 2010 Byron Nelson Championship is a little different than in years past. This tournament is lacking the big names but it has a 16-year-old who made the cut; a 34-year-old rookie and the only recognizable golfer this week has been 47-year-old Steve Elkington.

16-year-old Jordan Spieth took time off from being a junior in high school to make his PGA Tour debut, becoming the first high school golfer to take on the pros in Irving, Texas since Tiger Woods in 1993. Woods didn’t make the cut in those days, but Spieth did it with ease on Friday, becoming the sixth youngest player to do so at a Tour event

Cameron Beckman (PGA)

47-year-old Steve Elkington got into the field as an alternate, when another golfer dropped out. He then shot a 66 to become part of a seven-way tie for the lead. He folloews with another 66, putting him two shots behind the lead.

Elkington first played the Byron Nelson back in 1987. He was once a star on Tour, winning 10 PGA events in the 1990′s, including a major. He hasn’t won since 1999, and hasn’t finished better than 54th on the money list, instead finishing in the 100′s.

34-year-old Blake Adams is a rookie who spent the last three years on the Nationwide Tour who has a career story worth listening, no matter how sad it is about perseverance. He was a part of that cluster at the top after the first round, then put up six birdies on his way to a 64 and a 10-under 130 and a share of the second-round lead.

Adams is from Georgia. He has had bad rotator cuffs and broken bones that have slowed his career. He has had a bulging disk in his back, bone spurs, a cyst and a hip that needs to be replaced.

Blake Adams (PGA)

Cameron Beckman and Jason Day are somewhat recognizable names.

Beckman won a PGA tour event for the first time a few months ago, but that was against a weak field and he has struggled every week since. He started Friday down around the cutline, but walked off the course with the lead.

Beckman finished his delayed opening round with a pair of birdies that turned a 1-over into a 1-under 69, then shot a 61, tying the TPC Four Seasons course record setting a personal best. He’s tied for first with Adams; Day is a stroke behind and Spieth is tied for 22nd, 3-under 137. Not bad for a teenager in a major golf tournament.

Day is a 22-year-old Australian who has been set back due to illnessess.

The 2010 winner of the Byron Nelson will not be a household name but will definitely have a unique story to tell.

NASCAR PREVIEW: Race#13 Charlotte Motor Speedway (All-Star Race)

compiled from staff, wire and NASCAR reports

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to the state where the circuit was born; the state of North Carolina.

Concord, North Carolina is a Charlotte suburb and is the home of the annual All-Star race.

Charlotte Motor Speedway (nascar)

Charlotte Motor Speedway provides for high-speed competition with the opportunity for passing. It became the first modern superspeedway to host night racing in 1992.

In 2009, Tony Stewart passed Matt Kenseth with two laps to go, becoming the second owner/driver to win the event. Geoff Bodine was the first in 1994.

The All-Star race will be on the SPEED CHANNEL.

Columbus Clippers blast Gwinnett Braves, 8-1

Info Courtesy of Gwinnett Braves and Columbus Clippers

STAFF WRITER DAN HOCK CONTRIBUTED TO THIS STORY

The Columbus Clippers defeated the Gwinnett Braves, 8-1 on Friday night at Coolray Field. Columbus pitcher Josh Tomlin allowed only 1 hit in his 7 innings of work. The Clippers clinched the series win with victory (3-1). Gwinnett (18-23) now sits in a second place tie with Norfolk in the International League South, 4.5 games behind Durham. Columbus (27-16) remains in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Toledo.

Josh Tomlin (MiLB)

Josh Tomlin only faced only two batters more than the minimum and walked 2. This is his third win in a row. Tomlin, now 5-1, struck out 5 batters and held the G-Braves scoreless.

Second Baseman Brian Bixler went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI’s.

GAME NOTES

* Chris Resop of the Gwinnett Braves was selected International League pitcher of the week, for the week of May 10-16. The 27-year-old Resop went 2-0 in beating Pawtucket and Lehigh Valley to run his 2010 record to 4-1 and a 1.90 ERA thru eight starts. He pitched five innings in the win over Pawtucket and pitched seven innings versus Lehigh Valley giving up only one hit striking out eight hitters. Resop signed with Atlanta before the 2010 season as a free agent. He has pitched in 57 games in the major leagues with the Braves, Angels and Marlins. He pitched in 2009 in Japan.

Bowling Green Hot Rods beat slumping Dayton Dragons, 6-2

Info Courtesy of Dayton Dragons

Wilking Rodriguez tossed seven strong innings and Mark Thomas belted a two run home run to lead the Bowling Green Hot Rods to a 6-2 win over the Dayton Dragons on Friday night before a crowd of 9,240 at Fifth Third Field.

Rodriguez (2-3) allowed just five hits and two runs (one earned) while walking none and striking out five to earn the win.

Wilking Rodriguez (MiLB)

Dayton starting pitcher Jacob Johnson (0-4) suffered the loss. He pitched four innings, allowing six hits and four runs with one walk and one strikeout.

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