The Sports Report: Serena Williams cruises past Maria Sharapova at U.S. Open

Serena Williams after her victory over Maria Sharapova.
Serena Williams after her victory over Maria Sharapova.
(Getty Images)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell. Today, we revamp the newsletter a bit, to give each sport or local team a spot when warranted. If you are a Rams fan, or Chargers fan, or, sadly, an Angels fan, it hopefully will be much easier for you to find news for your team.


Remember how Serena Williams’ U.S. Open experience ended last year? Yelling at the chair umpire for what she viewed as unfair and sexist calls against her?


Well, she’s back again this year. Williams was intense and businesslike in a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of Maria Sharapova in the first round Monday. Williams took 59 minutes to defeat Sharapova for the 19th time in a row, a streak that excludes a walkover in Sharapova’s favor in the fourth round of the 2018 French Open.

“I just feel like her game really matches up well against mine,” Williams said after improving her record against Sharapova to 20-2. “I always said her ball somehow lands in my strike zone. I don’t know. It’s just perfect for me.”

Williams, seeded eighth, wisely controlled her emotions as well as she controlled the play against the unseeded Sharapova. Trying again for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam event singles championship, she was efficient and calm, a distinct contrast to her unbridled anger in unleashing a tirade at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in last year’s final. Asked Monday for her reaction to U.S. Tennis Assn. officials deciding Ramos won’t officiate her matches this year she replied, “I don’t know who that is.”

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic moved toward a 17th Grand Slam title by defeating Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in a first-round match.

“They matter the most in the history of our sport. And certainly motivate me the most,” Djokovic, 32, said of the Slams. “Of course, I do value every tournament that I play in, especially the big ATP 1000 Masters events, try my best. These are the events where I want to perform my best.”

Djokovic said it was “a solid performance” for an opener. “I’m hoping that I can build from here,” he said. On Wednesday, he will face Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina, who defeated American Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 7-5. Djokovic and Londero have never faced each other.


Men’s singles (first round): Novak Djokovic (1), Serbia, d. Roberto Carballes Baena, Spain, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4; Juan Ignacio Londero, Argentina, d. Sam Querrey, United States, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 7-5; Denis Kudla, United States, d. Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-1; Dusan Lajovic (27), Serbia, d. Steve Darcis, Belgium, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3; Stan Wawrinka (23), Switzerland, d. Jannik Sinner, Italy, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3; Jeremy Chardy, France, d. Hubert Hurkacz, Poland, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-4; Miomir Kecmanovic, Serbia, d. Laslo Djere, Serbia, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5; Paolo Lorenzi, Italy, d. Zachary Svajda, United States, 3-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2; Reilly Opelka, United States, def. Fabio Fognini (11), Italy, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3; Dominik Koepfer, Germany, def. Jaume Antoni Munar Clar, Spain, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 5-7, 7-5; Jenson Brooksby, United States, d. Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; Nikoloz Basilashvili (17), Georgia, d. Marton Fucsovics, Hungary, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Feliciano Lopez Diaz-Guerra, Spain, d. Taylor Fritz (26), United States, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Yoshihito Nishioka, Japan, d. Marcos Giron, United States, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; Hugo Dellien, Bolivia, d. Soon Woo Kwon, Republic of Korea, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 2-3, ret.; Daniil Medvedev (5), Russia, d. Prajnesh Gunneswaran, India, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2; Roger Federer (3), Switzerland, d. Sumit Nagal, India, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4; Damir Dzumhur, Bosnia-Herzegovina, d. Elliot Benchetrit, France, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-0; Daniel Evans, Britain, d. Adrian Mannarino, France, 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3; Lucas Pouille (25), France, d. Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Pablo Carreno-Busta, Spain, d. Guido Pella (19), Argentina, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3; Ricardas Berankis, Lithuania, d. Jiri Vesely, Czech Republic, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4; Gregoire Barrere, France, d. Cameron Norrie, Britain, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 4-6, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2); David Goffin (15), Belgium, d. Corentin Moutet, France, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0; Borna Coric (12), Croatia, d. Evgeny Donskoy, Russia, 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-0; Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria, d. Andreas Seppi, Italy, 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3; Pablo Cuevas, Uruguay, d. Jack Sock, United States, 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (5); Kamil Majchrzak, Poland, d. Nicolas Jarry, Chile, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-4; Cristian Garin (31), Chile, d. Christopher Eubanks, United States, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3; Alex de Minaur, Australia, d. Pierre-Hugues Herbert, France, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 7-5; Bradley Klahn, United States, d. Thiago Moura Monteiro, Brazil, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3; Kei Nishikori (7), Japan, d. Marco Trungelliti, Argentina, 6-1, 4-1, ret.

Women’s singles (first round): Elina Svitolina (5), Ukraine, d. Whitney Osuigwe, United States, 6-1, 7-5; Venus Williams, United States, d. Saisai Zheng, China, 6-1, 6-0; Rebecca Peterson, Sweden, d. Monica Puig, Puerto Rico, 6-3, 6-3; Dayana Yastremska (32), Ukraine, d. Monica Niculescu, Romania, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2; Sofia Kenin (20), United States, d. Coco Vandeweghe, United States, 7-6 (4), 6-3; Laura Siegemund, Germany, d. Magdalena Frech, Poland, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Lin Zhu, China, d. Xinyu Wang, China, 6-3, 6-4; Madison Keys (10), United States, d. Misaki Doi, Japan, 7-5, 6-0; Johanna Konta (16), Britain, d. Daria Kasatkina, Russia, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2; Margarita Gasparyan, Russia, d. Priscilla Hon, Australia, 7-6 (4), 6-4; Ekaterina Alexandrova, Russia, d. Samantha Stosur, Australia, 6-1, 6-3; Shuai Zhang (33), China, d. Viktorija Golubic, Switzerland, 6-2, 6-1; Ons Jabeur, Tunisia, d. Caroline Garcia (27), France, 7-6 (8), 6-2; Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Belarus, d. Jennifer Brady, United States, 6-1, 4-6, 6-0; Mariam Bolkvadze, Georgia, d. Bernarda Pera, United States, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4; Karolina Pliskova (3), Czech Republic, d. Tereza Martincova, Czech Republic, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3); Serena Williams (8), United States, d. Maria Sharapova, Russia, 6-1, 6-1; Caty McNally, United States, d. Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland, 6-4, 6-1; Karolina Muchova, Czech Republic, d. Elena Rybakina, Kazakhstan, 6-4, 6-4; Su-Wei Hsieh (29), Chinese Taipei, d. Jana Cepelova, Slovakia, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3; Petra Martic (22), Croatia, d. Tamara Zidansek, Slovenia, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1; Ana Bogdan, Romania, d. Harriet Dart, Britain, 6-3, 6-1; Iga Swiatek, Poland, d. Ivana Jorovic, Serbia, 6-0, 6-1; Anastasija Sevastova (12), Latvia, d. Eugenie Bouchard, Canada, 6-3, 6-3; Kristina Mladenovic, France, d. Angelique Kerber (14), Germany, 7-5, 0-6, 6-4; Fiona Ferro, France, d. Daria Gavrilova, Australia, 6-3, 6-4; Alison van Uytvanck, Belgium, d. Viktoria Kuzmova, Slovakia, 6-4, 6-4; Qiang Wang (18), China, d. Caroline Dolehide, United States, 6-4, 6-4; Maria Sakkari (30), Greece, d. Camila Giorgi, Italy, 6-1, 6-0; Shuai Peng, China, d. Varvara Lepchenko, United States, 6-2, 7-6 (5); Lauren Davis, United States, d. Johanna Larsson, Sweden, 7-5, 6-2; Ashleigh Barty (2), Australia, d. Zarina Diyas, Kazakhstan, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.


The Dodgers lost to San Diego, 4-3, on Monday thanks to a costly throwing error by AJ Pollock. But many fans were still talking about the weekend series with the Yankees. One aspect of focus: Hyun-Jin Ryu looks tired.

“To be completely honest, this year has been really good in terms of conditioning and my health,” Ryu said through his interpreter. “Just by the feel of things, I feel really good.”

Ryu spoke three days before his next scheduled start and three days after the New York Yankees pummeled him over 4-1/3 innings. He allowed seven runs against the American League World Series contenders after giving up four runs over 5-2/3 innings to Atlanta. The 11 earned runs allowed in the two starts were as many as he surrendered in his previous 12 starts.

“I’m actually really optimistic about my future just because I wasn’t satisfied with how I pitched,” Ryu said. “If I’m giving up that many runs and hits and I think I’m performing well, that’s one thing. But in those two cases I definitely wasn’t commanding my pitches well and it’s definitely not how i wanted to pitch. So I’m really more focused on internally how I can improve, in terms of commanding my pitches, rather than looking at something on the outside.”


At 22 years old, infielder Luis Rengifo is not a finished product. He has struggled at times at the plate, causing his walk-to-strikeout ratio to plummet from 1.00 last year to 0.49 in 92 MLB games. He still makes mental mistakes in the field and his 12 errors lead the team.

He wants to buff out those rough edges this off-season and return to the Venezuelan league he credits with helping him take a step forward in his development.

“It’s so different from here,” Rengifo said in Spanish. “They’re intense. The fans will crucify you if you make an error. They say all kinds of things. And they don’t let you forget it, either. You learn a lot in the winter league. I thought it helped me arrive ready for spring training [in 2018] and just keep that same level of play.”

Any hope the Angels rookie had of playing this winter for his hometown team evaporated last week. MLB responded to President Trump’s executive order banning Americans doing business with the Venezuelan government by banning its players and minor leaguers from participating in the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional.


If the city of Anaheim strikes a deal with the Angels, one that could bind the two sides to a property development plan that could endure for decades, how long should the City Council and the city’s residents get to review the deal?

To councilman Jose Moreno, 30 days sounds fair. Moreno said he plans to ask his fellow council members to support such a guideline when they discuss the Angels’ lease negotiations during a council meeting Tuesday.

“I’m sure that, when the Angel negotiators and our city negotiators come to an agreement, they’re not going to force [Angels owner] Arte Moreno to say yes or no within two or three days,” said Moreno, who is not related to the owner.


During Saturday’s 10-6 win over Denver, you saw KhaDarel Hodge pumping his arm forward, pantomiming a first down after one his three catches; Darious Williams’ primal yell, preceded by his athletic pass breakup; USC alumnus Jalen Greene’s touchdown catch, which was punctuated with the Trojans’ two-finger “V” celebration and which compensated for his dropped pass and false start in the plays prior; defensive back Dont’e Deayon’s postgame stroll along the side of the stands, soaking up every second of an NFL stage on which he’s desperate to remain.

Each player is a cut candidate this preseason, mostly journeymen jockeying for the team’s final few roster spots. Next Saturday, when NFL franchises have to trim their rosters to 53 and select 10 more for practice squads, any of the four could make the club. Any of the four could be released too.

Several Rams veterans remembered when they used the final preseason game (the Rams’ is Thursday against Houston) to make practice squads as rookies.

In 2016, defensive lineman Morgan Fox was an undrafted free agent from Colorado State-Pueblo. In the final preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, he played 50 snaps on defense, and had two sacks and two quarterback hits.

“It’s kind of that last day to show what you’ve got and what you learned, and kind of build on all the bricks you’ve laid during the preseason,” Fox said Monday. “You get the most reps during that game, so you really get to kind of show out.”


Shortly after Dontrelle Inman was granted his release by the New England Patriots on Aug. 18, he heard from Philip Rivers.

Four days later, Inman was practicing with the Chargers.

“Phil made it a lot easier for me,” he said. “He called me, texted me, like, ‘Come on home now. You’ve been gone for too long.’ It was good to have that feeling of being wanted.”

Inman spent parts of four seasons with the Chargers before being traded to Chicago in October 2017. He re-signed last week and is expected to be a part of the wide receiver rotation.

In 41 games as a Charger, he had 107 receptions for 1,463 yards and seven touchdowns. “He knows he can depend on me to make the play,” Inman said of Rivers.


UCLA has its starting quarterback now, or does it?

“As far as I’m concerned,” Dorian Thompson-Robinson said Monday, “it’s still an open competition.”

Thompson-Robinson said coach Chip Kelly had not informed him that he would start over Austin Burton or Chase Griffin against Cincinnati on Thursday during the Bruins’ season opener.

Thompson-Robinson, a sophomore, was listed as the starter on the depth chart that UCLA released Sunday, and it seemed like such a foregone conclusion that no reporters asked Kelly about the decision a day later.

Thompson-Robinson described himself as “extremely ready compared to last year,” when he trotted onto the field for his college debut against Cincinnati before halftime after Speight’s injury.

“I was a little nervous, a little excited, a little bit of everything,” Thompson-Robinson recalled, “but this year, I’m going to be more cool, calm and collected and know what I gotta do to get the job done.”


Dwight Howard officially signed his one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers on Monday, after clearing the league’s waiver wire.

To make room for Howard, the Lakers waived forward Aric Holman.


An MRI performed on Monday showed Carlos Vela has a minor injury to his right hamstring. The LAFC captain will continue receiving treatment with his status for Sunday’s MLS game with Minnesota United to be determined later in the week

Today’s local major sports schedule

All times Pacific

Dodgers at San Diego, 7 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Texas at Angels, 7 p.m., FS1, AM 830

Sparks at Washington, 4 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet

Born on this date

1908: College football coach Frank Leahy (d. 1973)

1928: Baseball team owner Joan Kroc (d. 2003)

1957: Golfer Bernhard Langer

1970: Baseball player Jim Thome

Died on this date

2004: Former Dodger Willie Crawford, 57

2013: NBA player Zelmo Beaty, 73

2015: NBA player Darryl Dawkins, 58

And finally

Bernhard Langer explains how to draw and fade the ball. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me by clicking here. If you want to subscribe, click here.