Williams sisters help U.S. defeat Belarus in Fed Cup play

Venus Williams returned from a five-month layoff, and Serena Williams and Christina McHale won singles matches Sunday, sending the United States past Belarus, 5-0, in the first round of the Fed Cup at Worcester, Mass.

By sweeping Belarus in World Group II, the Americans head to a playoff in April in hopes of playing their way back into the top tier of the Fed Cup after being bounced last year.

Venus Williams and Liezel Huber completed the shutout with a doubles victory, defeating Darya Kustova and Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-1, 6-2. This was Williams' first sanctioned match since the opening round of the U.S. Open. She had received a diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain and forced her to withdraw from the Open.

McHale won in straight sets for the second consecutive day, beating Kustova, 6-0, 6-1, to put the U.S. up 4-0.

Serena Williams had already guaranteed a U.S. victory earlier in the day by defeating Yakimova, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.


Tomas Berdych won the seventh title of his career, beating defending champion Gael Monfils, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, in the Open Sud de France final at Montpellier.


Mikhail Youzhny beat Lukas Lacko, 6-2, 6-3, to win the Zagreb Indoors in Croatia in the 18th final of his career.


Juan Monaco beat Carlos Berlocq, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-1, in the final at the Vina del Mar VTR Open in Chile to win his fourth ATP title.


Mancuso gets first win of World Cup season

Julia Mancuso won a super-G at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, for her first World Cup victory of the season, and fellow American Lindsey Vonn skied off the course and did not finish.

Vonn captured her 50th World Cup win in a downhill on the same slope a day earlier. But she could not hold the line Sunday after hitting a bump midway down the icy course.

Anna Fenninger of Austria was second, and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third.

Vonn remains the overall leader.


Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie chipped in for an eagle and a birdie on his way to winning the wind-shortened Qatar Open at Doha, shooting a seven-under-par 65 to hold off Jason Day and Peter Hanson.

Lawrie finished with a 15-under total of 201. Day (65) and Hanson (67) tied for second, four strokes back.


Game On Dude defeated Uh Oh Bango by 5 1/4 lengths to win the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita, giving jockey Chantal Sutherland a victory over ex-fiance Mike Smith that she was denied in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

In November at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Smith and Drosselmeyer overtook front-running Sutherland and Game On Dude in the closing furlongs to win the $5-million Classic.


The city of Seattle has been working behind the scenes the last eight months with a hedge-fund manager to bring an NBA team back to town — possibly as early as next fall if the Sacramento Kings fail to get a satisfactory deal for a new arena, newly released documents show.

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