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Venus wins Qatar event

Associated Press

Venus Williams rallied to win the WTA’s season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships for the first time, defeating Vera Zvonareva, 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-2, Sunday at Doha, Qatar.

The Wimbledon champion took command in the last two sets with powerful serving, smashes and aggressive groundstrokes against her Russian opponent.

“I’m so excited,” Williams said. “That was a hard-fought match, every point, right down to the end.”

Williams won $1.34 million at the event, which for the first time offered the same prize money as the men at the ATP’s season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai.

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Williams’ ranking will improve to No. 6 from No. 8, while the ninth-ranked Zvonareva also will move up two spots. The two were the lowest-ranked players at the event, which featured the top eight players in the world.

“I know I can go higher” in the rankings, said Williams, a former No. 1 who defeated top-ranked Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals.

Novak Djokovic ended his Masters Cup jinx, overcoming a rash of errors to defeat Juan Martin del Potro, 7-5, 6-3, in the season-ending tournament at Shanghai.

Nikolay Davydenko used his strong ground game to rally past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (0), in the other gold group round-robin match.

Djokovic failed to win a set last year in three matches, citing exhaustion from a heavy schedule in his rise to No. 3 in the world.

The red group -- which includes Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and Gilles Simon -- will play today.

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GOLF

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Love III wins 20th title

Davis Love III closed with an eight-under 64 to win his first PGA Tour tournament in more than two years, holding off a late challenge from Tommy Gainey for a one-shot victory in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

It was the 20th career PGA Tour victory for Love, giving him a lifetime exemption. Among active players, only Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson have won at least 20 times.

Erik Compton, who has had two heart transplants, the second one six months ago, and was playing on a sponsor’s exemption, shot an even-par 72 and finished tied for 60th.

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One of the biggest shots belonged to Martin Laird, who holed an eight-footer for par on the last hole for a 71 to tie for 21st.

That enabled him to move up to No. 125 on the money list and secure his full Tour card for next year.

Shin Ji-yai won the Mizuno Classic at Shima, Japan, for her second LPGA Tour title and ninth international victory of the year, shooting a five-under 67 to easily hold off Mayu Hattori.

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ETC.

Pettitte files for free agency

New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte filed for free agency after repeatedly saying he hopes to return to the club next year.

Pettitte went 14-14 last season with a 4.54 ERA -- his highest ERA since 1999.

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General Manager Brian Cashman said last week he wants Pettitte to return next season but the 36-year-old veteran said he hadn’t heard from the team.

Pettitte probably would have to agree to a cut from his $16-million salary last season.

Pettitte is the 169th free agent, and seven more are potentially eligible to file before Thursday’s deadline.

Walter Ray Williams Jr. earned his 45th career PBA Tour title, defeating Bill O’Neill, 246-202, in the Lake County Indiana Golden Anniversary Championship at Hammond, Ind.

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Williams is the all-time leader in titles and also the career money leader with $4,030,116.

Dane Richards had a goal and an assist, and the New York Red Bulls won MLS’ Western Conference semifinal series on goal aggregate with a 3-0 win over the Houston Dynamo at Houston.

New York will travel to Real Salt Lake for the Western Conference championship series on Saturday.


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