Federer returns to court with straight-set win

Roger Federer returned from a five-week layoff to beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-6 (6) on Wednesday in the second round of the Madrid Masters in Madrid, Spain.

The 2006 champion rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the tiebreaker with some excellent shotmaking, including a backhand that landed in the far corner on match point.

American qualifier Robby Ginepri had the biggest upset of the day, beating fifth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Andy Roddick beat Spain’s Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 6-4.

Also: Third-seeded Venus Williams defeated Alona Bondarenko 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Zurich Open.

Williams saved four break points in the match, one in the first set and three in the second. Bondarenko saved two match points while serving and down 5-3, but she sent a forehand long in the next game to end the match.

Three UNLV players remained alive in the ITA Region 7 Men’s Tennis Championships at Darling Memorial Tennis Center.

Elliot Wronski beat Utah’s Jason Smits 6-3, 7-6, and Luca Barlocchi topped the Utes’ Othman Ouariti Zerouali 6-2, 6-2 after both Rebels had first-round byes.

Wesley Burrows posted two wins to advance, including a 6-3, 6-3 second-round victory over Montana State’s Jakub Dybala.


U.S. men’s team falls to Trinidad and Tobago

The United States men’s soccer team, playing without the majority of its regulars, lost to Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 in a World Cup qualifying match in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

It was a meaningless match for the U.S., which has clinched a spot in next year’s North and Central American and Caribbean region finals.

In other qualifying matches, Spain, England and the Netherlands maintained perfect starts to open big leads for spots in the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Spain rallied past host Belgium 2-1, England topped host Belarus 3-1, and the Netherlands beat Norway, 1-0.

Mexico tied host Canada, 2-2.

Also: A group that includes two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash submitted a bid for a Major League Soccer franchise in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the family of Liverpool co-owner George Gillett applied for a team in Montreal.

Seven cities submitted bids for two expansion teams, which the MLS said will be selected by the end of March. Also applying were Atlanta, Miami, Ottawa, Portland, Ore., and St. Louis.


Furyk edges Harrington for Grand Slam victory

Jim Furyk won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Tucker’s Town, Bermuda, birdieing the final hole to force a playoff with Padraig Harrington and winning with an 8-foot eagle putt on the first extra hole.

Furyk, playing in place of the injured Tiger Woods in the four-man event for major champions, shot 2-under-par 68 to match Harrington at 4-under 136.

Furyk made $600,000.

Retief Goosen was third at 1-over 141, and Masters champion Trevor Immelman was last at 145.

Also: Chicago White Sox outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this week.

Recovery time is generally four to eight weeks.

Family, friends, teammates and thousands of fans in Omsk, Russia, paid their last respects to Alexei Cherepanov, a 19-year-old rising hockey star who died after suffering heart problems during a game outside Moscow.

The cause of his death was still under investigation, federal investigators said. A first-round draft pick for the New York Rangers, Cherepanov collapsed on the bench during a game Monday outside Moscow.

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Ryan Hollweg received an automatic three-game suspension by the NHL following his fourth game misconduct, which came in Monday’s loss to St. Louis.

The Minnesota Wild placed defenseman Marek Zidlicky on injured reserve. Zidlicky, a key free-agent acquisition, will miss at least a week.

The 2009 French Grand Prix was canceled when the cash-strapped French Motorsport Federation withdrew its backing of the Formula One race.

FFSA’s board of directors said it didn’t want to risk a financial loss by holding the race next year, but that it will try to resurrect the world’s oldest grand prix in 2010.

Cyclists will face four-year bans next season if found guilty of serious doping offenses.

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid plans to double the current penalty of two years in “aggravating circumstances.”

Italian cyclist Marta Bastianelli was banned for one year by the Italian Olympic Committee for testing positive for a banned stimulant.

Bastianelli, who won the women’s road race at last year’s world championships, was kept out of the Beijing Olympics after testing positive during July’s under-23 European championships.

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