In Brief

SOCCER

Fabregas finally returns home
by signing deal with Barcelona

Cesc Fabregas’ long-awaited return to his boyhood club was finalized Monday when he signed a five-year contract with European champion Barcelona.

“It took a lot of years, months, days to get here. … It’s nice to be home after eight years,” the former Arsenal captain said in Catalan, Spain, during his presentation to fans at Camp Nou, where he repeatedly kissed the Barcelona crest on his new No. 4 jersey.

But while the 24-year-old Fabregas said it was one of the happiest days of his life to once again don Barcelona’s burgundy and blue, he acknowledged it was also bittersweet that he didn’t leave Arsenal as a winner.

“I gave everything. But it didn’t show in the club because I really only won an FA Cup,” Fabregas said. “One of my biggest regrets is not leaving Arsenal with a championship.”

Also: Robbie Keane is the latest international star to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The MLS-leading Galaxy agreed to terms with the Irish national team captain, adding another big name along with David Beckham for the playoff run.

The UNLV men’s soccer team was picked to finish fifth in the eight-team Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, according to a poll of league coaches.

Defending league champion Cal State Bakersfield was chosen to repeat.

UNLV finished fourth in the league last season with a 3-5-2 record.

TENNIS

Improving Serena Williams
continues climb in rankings

Her game growing stronger as the U.S. Open nears, Serena Williams soared from No. 80 to No. 31 in the WTA rankings following her win in the Rogers Cup.

Williams has won her last two tournaments, the other title coming at the Stanford Classic two weeks ago. She has played in four events since her return.

She beat Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday in Toronto, the latest step in a comeback from injury and illness that sidelined her 49 weeks. The U.S. Open starts Aug. 29.

Caroline Wozniacki is No. 1 in Monday’s rankings, followed by Vera Zvonareva, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na. Zvonareva advanced one spot.

The top five men held their rankings: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling.

Also: A testy Andy Roddick lost to Phillipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-1 in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.

The 11th-seeded Roddick received a warning from the chair umpire for flinging his racket to the court after losing the second set. Then he double-faulted in the second game of the third set to fall behind 30-40.

He smacked a ball high into the stands, earning a point penalty which gave the game and a 2-0 lead in the set to Kohlschreiber, who later closed it out with an ace.

MISCELLANEOUS

Penguins not sure injured star Crosby will make training camp

The Pittsburgh Penguins have no plans on rushing star Sidney Crosby back to the ice.

General manager Ray Shero said it’s too early to tell if Crosby will be ready when training camp begins next month. The former NHL Most Valuable Player hasn’t played since being diagnosed with a concussion in January. He missed Pittsburgh’s final 48 games, including a loss to Tampa Bay in the playoffs.

Crosby has spent the summer working out in Canada and Shero said the 24-year-old is “progressing well.” Shero acknowledged Crosby continues to deal with symptoms related to the concussion, but added the issues have not forced him to stop training.

Also: Winnipeg Jets center Rick Rypien was found dead in his home, nine months after he took a leave of absence to deal with an undisclosed personal matter.

An official with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Coleman, Alberta, called Rypien’s death sudden, but not suspicious. Rypien, a cousin of Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien, was 27.

North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education decided to retire the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname by year’s end in a move that anticipates lawmakers will soon repeal a law requiring the school to keep the nickname.

Former American 100-meter champion Michael Rodgers tested positive for a stimulant found in an energy drink and could be ineligible for the world track championships later this month.

Las Vegan Dylan Kwasniewski, 16, won his second consecutive race in the regional NASCAR K&N Pro West Series on Saturday night at Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell, Mont.

The win on the quarter-mile oval came one week after he became the youngest to win in the series’ 57-year history.

Ty Lawson will join Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas, signing a deal that will allow the Denver Nuggets point guard to return to the NBA if the lockout ends.

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