Serena Williams wins in first match back from injury
Playing tennis again after recovering from blood clots in her lungs and two foot operations, Serena Williams slipped and fell in the final game of her match at Eastbourne, England.
She got up immediately and carried on the point, although she lost it. But it was not long before the 13-time Grand Slam champion was a winner once more.
After nearly a year off the WTA Tour, Williams regrouped after a slow start to defeat Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, Tuesday in the first round of a Wimbledon warmup.
Williams was briefly worried about tweaking the right foot that was in a cast for 10 weeks.
“I felt a little something. I got a little nervous,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh.’ Then I thought this is grass. You know, you’re really moving. You’re stopping, you’re going. If I can survive this, especially with this long match, I’ll be good.”
Wearing a pink dress that she said was inspired by French actress Brigitte Bardot, Williams walked onto the court to the song “I’m the World’s Greatest,” chosen by organizers. She was given a warm welcome when introduced to a stadium three-quarters full.
She initially looked nothing like the player who lifted the 2010 Wimbledon trophy in her last tournament. Her movement was uncertain, and she appeared not to trust her groundstrokes or her usually dominant serve.
She held for the first time at 5-0 down, with the help of her first ace. Williams reeled off the first three games of the second set to take control. Despite squandering a 2-0 lead in the last set, she broke again and victory was secure.
Williams hadn’t played since July after cutting her foot on glass at a restaurant in Germany. She had surgery twice and later was diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms.
Next up is a repeat of the 2010 Wimbledon final against top-seeded Vera Zvonareva, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over British wild card Heather Watson.
In other matches, Ana Ivanovic advanced to a second-round match against with Venus Williams with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Julia Goerges of Germany.
Kim Clijsters is in doubt for Wimbledon after aggravating an ankle injury during a 7-6 (5), 6-3 loss to Italy’s Romina Oprandi at the Unicef Open at Den Bosch, Netherlands.
Clippers extend qualifying offer to DeAndre Jordan
The Clippers made a couple of procedural, and expected moves
Tuesday, extending a qualifying offer to center DeAndre Jordan and
exercising its fourth-year option on Blake Griffin, and
third-year options on Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu.
The offer to Jordan makes him a restricted free agent, meaning the Clippers
have the right to match any offer. The qualifying offer to Jordan,
who made $854,359 last season, is for $1.091 million. Griffin is to make
$5.731 million next season, and $7.226 million in 2012-13. That will make him the third-highest-paid Clipper, behind Chris Kaman ($12.7 million) and
Mo Williams ($8.5 million).
— Lisa Dillman
Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip named to Hall of Fame
Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip are headed to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The two drivers got in on their third try, headlining the third five-member class, announced Tuesday. They’re joined by eight-time series champion crew chief Dale Inman, nine-time Modified champion Richie Evans and pioneering driver and owner Glen Wood.
FBI seeks tapes of Lance Armstrong-Tyler Hamilton meeting
The FBI has contacted a Colorado restaurant to get surveillance tapes of a conversation between seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and former teammate Tyler Hamilton over the weekend.
Hamilton went on “60 Minutes” last month and accused Armstrong of doping repeatedly and encouraging his teammates to using performance-enhancing drugs as well.
Armstrong and Hamilton ran into each other at a restaurant in Aspen on Saturday night.
Hamilton attorney Chris Manderson said his client was rattled by some of Armstrong’s comments. Armstrong and one of his lawyers said the conversation was uneventful.
A co-owner of the restaurant, which is called Cache Cache, the FBI was coming to take the restaurant’s surveillance tapes. It was not whether the conversation was captured on tape.
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has been investigating doping in cycling for more than a year, with Armstrong as a primary focus.
NBA Commissioner David Stern, players’ association Executive Director Billy Hunter and members of their staffs have met and there are more discussions planned for later this week.
An NBA spokesman would not disclose what was discussed Tuesday. A full round of negotiations is scheduled for Friday, and will include the league’s labor relations committee and the union’s executive committee.
The owners and players are negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the deal that expires June 30.
Kelsey Bruder of Florida won the Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top softball player. Bruder, a graduate of Santiago High in Corona, hit a home run in the first inning against Alabama, helping Florida to a 9-2 victory and a spot in the Women’s College World Series finals this month.