NEW YORK (AP) Good as she is, even Serena Williams can find it tough to deal with swirling wind, so much so that she double-faulted three times in her first service game against 81st-ranked American Vania King. Williams quickly put her rough start behind her and beat King 6-1, 6-0 in 56 minutes to reach the third round of the U.S . Open.
While buzz around the tournament grounds built all day waiting for 15-year-old CiCi Bellis to play her second-round match at night – she wound up losing – Williams ran her U.S. Open winning streak to 16 matches as she tries to become the first woman to win three consecutive titles at Flushing Meadows since Chris Evert took four in a row from 1975-78.
Two past major champions, No. 8 Ana Ivanovic and No. 24 Sam Stosur, lost, as did No. 23 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No. 27 Madison Keys, bringing the total to 11 seeded women gone after only two rounds.
In the men’s draw, 2012 U.S. Open champion Andy Murray won in straight sets, Sam Querrey beat No. 28 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, and 34-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic also won.
NEW YORK (AP) – Acknowledging he ”didn’t get it right” with a two-game suspension for Ravens running back Ray Rice, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced tougher penalties for players accused of domestic violence, including six weeks for a first offense and at least a year for a second.
In a letter sent to all 32 team owners and obtained by The Associated Press, Goodell never mentions Rice by name but makes clear references to the Baltimore player who was charged with assault after being caught on video dragging his then-fiancee off a casino elevator.
Since January 2000, 77 players have been involved in 85 domestic violence incidents with six being cut by their teams, according to USA Today’s NFL Arrests Database. The NFL suspended six players for one game each, and Rice was the second player to be suspended for two games.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Josh Gordon can’t run a deep pass route into Canada and play.
The Cleveland Browns’ suspended star wide receiver wanted to play in the Canadian Football League during his indefinite suspension, but CFL rules prohibit him from doing so.
Gordon, whose season-long suspension by the NFL was upheld a day earlier, asked the Browns for permission to play for the Calgary Stampeders, a person familiar with the Pro Bowler’s situation told The Associated Press on Thursday. However, a CFL rule that has been in place since 2006 bars any suspended NFL players under contract from playing.
CFL spokesman Jamie Dykstra said the only way Gordon could play in the league is if he was released by the Browns and became a free agent.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Tony Stewart will return to Sprint Cup competition Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, ending a three-race hiatus taken after he struck and killed a fellow driver during a dirt-track race.
The three-time NASCAR champion has not raced since his car hit Kevin Ward Jr. at an Aug. 9 sprint car event in upstate New York. Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen the next morning, then skipped races at Michigan and Bristol Motor Speedway.
Stewart, who was described by police as ”visibly shaken” the night of Ward’s death, has been in seclusion ever since. Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood has said the emphasis was on giving Stewart time needed to get him ”in a better place than he is.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian believes he shares blame with the athletic department for publicizing cornerback Josh Shaw’s fictitious story about injuring his ankles while saving his nephew from drowning.
Sarkisian also said the suspended Shaw could ”potentially” return to the Trojans at some point this season, news that was welcomed by Shaw’s attorney.
The first-year coach said Shaw still hasn’t told the Trojans exactly how he sprained both of his ankles last weekend, extending this curious distraction into the weekend of Sarkisian’s debut game. No. 15 USC hosts Fresno State on Saturday.
Shaw admitted his elaborate story of heroism was a lie Wednesday in a meeting with USC officials, but offered no alternate explanation.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Running back Anthony Brown has quit Southern California’s football team, and coach Steve Sarkisian was stunned by Brown’s apparent accusations of racism against him on social media.
A photo of the words ”Couldn’t play for a racist man!!!!” was posted on what USC said was Brown’s Instagram account. The posting was later deleted. ”Sark treated me like a slave in his Office,” was posted in the caption to the photo, along with the hashtag ”Fighton.”
Sarkisian was told about the apparent posts from Brown, who is black, shortly after USC finished practice. The visibly disturbed coach called them ”ridiculous,” saying Brown had shown no indication he felt slighted or insulted in their relationship.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – I.K. Kim birdied the first four holes on the back nine and finished with a 7-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Portland Classic.
The South Korean player birdied seven of the first 13 holes and closed her afternoon round with five straight pars. She won the last of her three LPGA Tour titles in 2010.
Amelia Lewis and Jennifer Song were a shot back in ideal conditions at Columbia Edgewater. Lewis, winless on the tour, had a bogey-free round. Anna Nordqvist, a two-time winner this year, was another stroke back at 67 along with Mina Harigae, Julieta Granada, Laura Diaz, Alison Walshe, Emma Jandel and Paula Reto.
Juli Inkster, making her 28th appearance in the event at age 54, topped the group at 68.