Lindsey Vonn reaches milestone with 50th World Cup victory

Lindsey Vonn earned her 50th World Cup win Saturday at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, taking the downhill on the Kandahar course with temperatures plunging to minus 13.

"It's crazy. I am at a loss for words. I already cried with one of the TV crews and that is enough crying for the day," Vonn said. "Fifty World Cup wins is a huge mark for me in my career and more than I even thought possible. I just wanted the 50th win."

Few skiers reach the 50-win landmark. Among the women, only Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria (62) and Vreni Schneider of Switzerland (55) lead Vonn. Three men have 50 or more: Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden (86), Hermann Maier of Austria (54) and Alberto Tomba of Italy (50).

At the rate Vonn is going, Schneider's mark probably will not last long. Vonn has nine victories this season. She won Saturday in 1 minute 44.86 seconds. Nadja Kamer of Switzerland was 0.41 of a second behind and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third, 0.79 back.

Vonn was 0.62 of a second behind at the second split and nearly crashed midway down the icy, bumpy course before regaining her balance and winning by nearly half a second.

"That wasn't part of the plan," she said. "I hit a bump and lost the inside edge of my ski and went onto my hip. From that point until the finish I skied well and was able to make up some time."

Vonn leads the overall World Cup standings by 482 points and the downhill standings by 230 points, with 100 points for a win.

"I am just so happy. Every win is special, but 50 is a huge mark," Vonn said. "I feel like today will be a day when I look back at my career and see what I have achieved. I have a lot more to do. I have a lot more years of skiing in me, but Alberto Tomba has 50 ski wins and he is one of the best skiers of all time. I don't see myself in that way, but to know that I have accomplished so much to this point is amazing."

In a great day for Canadian skiing, Jan Hudec won a men's World Cup downhill for a surprising victory and teammate Erik Guay finished third in piercing cold over an icy slope at Chamonix, France.

Hudec, whose career has been marred by knee injuries and operations, won for the first time in more than four years. He finished in 2:03.25 and was followed by Austria's Romed Baumann in 2:03.78. Guay, the reigning world downhill champion, was 0.63 of a second behind the winner.

Bode Miller, who came in eighth, was the top U.S. finisher.


U.S. leads Belarus, 2-0, in Fed Cup play

Serena Williams was back in the Fed Cup for the first time in five years, giving the United States a strong lineup. Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka was hoping to provide a similar lift for Belarus, but she was sidelined by a lower back injury.

The Americans capitalized with straight-set victories by Williams and Christina McHale for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, which concludes Sunday at Worcester, Mass., with two singles matches and one doubles match.

McHale beat Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-0, 6-4, before Williams overpowered Olga Govortsova, 7-5, 6-0, in her first Fed Cup match since 2007, leaving the U.S. team one victory from advancing.

Williams is to play Azarenka in the first match Sunday, but it might not happen because of a back injury that forced the Australian Open champion to withdraw from her match Saturday.

Defending champion Gael Monfils saved a match point and beat Gilles Simon, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, in an all-French semifinal in the Open Sud de France at Montpellier. Monfils will next face top-seeded Tomas Berdych, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-3, 6-4.

Lukas Lacko of Slovakia reached his first ATP final when he ousted 2007 champion Marcos Baghdatis, 7-5, 7-6 (3), in the Zagreb Indoors semifinals in Croatia. Lacko will face third-seeded Mikhail Youzhny, who beat Michael Berrer of Germany, 6-3, 6-4.


Lawrie leads by one in Qatar Masters

Paul Lawrie recovered from a penalty for dropping his ball on a marker and shot five-under-par 67, giving him a one-shot lead over Nicolas Colsaerts (68) going into the final round of the Qatar Masters at Doha.

Lawrie made six birdies for an eight-under total of 136 after two rounds. The tournament has been disrupted by wind all week, and organizers called off play Friday and shortened the event to three rounds.

Peter Hanson (69) and Ricardo Gonzalez (67) were two shots off the lead.

The Atlanta Hawks said reserve center Jason Collins will sit out the next two weeks because of a sprained left elbow. Collins was injured Thursday in a loss to Memphis.

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