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In Brief

GOLF

O’Hara, Kruger open with 65s,
share South African Open lead

Scotland’s Steven O’Hara and local favorite Jbe Kruger shot 7-under-par 65s to top the leaderboard Thursday after the first round of the South African Open in Johannesburg.

Two-time champion Retief Goosen was a stroke back along with fellow South Africans Tyrone Mordt, David Hewan and Merrick Bremner.

Defending champion Ernie Els opened with a 69. He has won the event five times.

Also: Australia’s Richard Green and Brendon Jones shot an 11-under 61 in better-ball play to take a two-stroke lead in the World Cup in Haikou, China.

Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, the last two U.S. Open winners, were second along with Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and Martin Laird. McIlroy and McDowell are from Northern Ireland.

Americans Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar were another stroke back along with the Netherlands’ Robert-Jan Derksen and Joost Luiten.

The 28 teams will play alternate-shot rounds today and Sunday and another better-ball round Saturday.

Australia’s Steven Bowditch and South Korea’s Choi Joon-woo shot 6-under 66s to share the first-round lead in the Australian PGA in Coolum.

American Bubba Watson was a stroke back along with Australians Aaron Baddeley, Andre Stolz and Aaron Townsend. British Open champion Darren Clarke and Rickie Fowler were in a group at 69.

HORSE RACING

Arena Elvira bests long shot,
captures Falls City Handicap

Arena Elvira beat long shot Afleeting Lady in the deep stretch to win the 96th running of the $193,725 Falls City Handicap by a neck at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Junior Alvarado, Arena Elvira won the race for fillies and mares in 1:50.76 for 1 1/8 miles over a fast track.

Arena Elvira is a Kentucky-bred daughter of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper out of Two Item Limit. The victory was worth $116,506 and increased Arena Elvira’s earnings to $391,436.

She returned $4, $3 and $2.80.

Afleeting Lady returned $8 and $4.40, while It’s Tea Time paid $5.20 to show.

Also: So Brilliant held off a late bid by Brother Francis to win the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, So Brilliant covered seven furlongs on the synthetic Cushion Track in 1:22.96 and paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60.

It was the fifth Hollywood Prevue victory for trainer Bob Baffert. His previous wins were with In Excessive Bull (1996), Commitisize (1997), Premier Property (1998) and Massive Drama (2007).

Galex was euthanized after he suffered injuries to his left front ankle and sesamoids.

Sunrise Smarty posted a front-running victory in the $95,000 Fall Highweight Championship, the traditional holiday feature at Aqueduct in New York.

Ramon Dominguez was aboard for trainer Michael Hushion as Sunrise Smarty held off Nathan’s H Q by a half length. The 4-year-old ran the six furlongs in 1:09.92 for his fourth win in 12 starts.

Sunrise Smarty paid $6.90, $3.10 and $3.

TENNIS

Tsonga stuns Nadal, reaches
final four of ATP World Tour

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga qualified for the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London at the expense of Rafael Nadal, beating the second-ranked Spaniard 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3 in a decisive round-robin match.

Tsonga improved to 2-1 in group play while Nadal fell to 1-2, meaning the sixth-seeded Frenchman will join Roger Federer in the last four from Group B.

Federer beat Mardy Fish 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 earlier to finish the group stage 3-0.

In perhaps the hardest-fought match of the tournament so far, Tsonga broke twice in the third set to go up 5-2. But he faltered in the next game, double-faulting three times to give Nadal renewed hope, only to bounce back and break the Spaniard at love. Tsonga sealed the victory with a hard forehand winner.

Also: Venus Williams defeated her sister Serena 6-4, 7-6 (5) in an exhibition match in Medellin, Colombia, the first match for both siblings since the U.S. Open in September.

The match late Wednesday was the first for Venus since she pulled out of the U.S. Open after the first round because of an immune system disease. Serena’s last match was her loss to Samantha Stosur in the U.S. Open final.

Serena leads Venus 13-10 in competitive head-to-head matches. The exhibition match is not being counted in that list.

The Williams sisters will play Italians Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta in another exhibition in Milan on Dec. 3.

 

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