In Brief | Nation and World May 7


Sharapova and Azarenka advance at Madrid Open

MADRID — Maria Sharapova rallied from a break down in the first set to beat Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 7-5, 6-2 Monday and reach the second round of the Madrid Open.

The second-seeded Russian said she was still adjusting to changing weather conditions in Madrid and “the altitude as well” after winning the title in Stuttgart last weekend. Madrid is 2,180 feet above sea level.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus also advanced, outlasting Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-6 (8), 7-6 (3).

Azarenka, who finished runner-up in Madrid the past two years, is returning from an ankle injury and said it was good to get a tough test right away.

Laura Robson of Britain pulled off the first upset of the tournament, beating fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-3, 6-1 in a second-round match.

In the men’s event, 11th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain advanced when Tobias Kamke of Germany retired injured after losing the first set 6-4.

Milos Raonic of Canada, American John Isner and Japan’s Kei Nishikori were also first-round winners.

The top-seeded players in the men’s draw, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, have a bye into the second round.

Stadium decision hurts Miami’s Super Bowl chances

MIAMI — The Super Bowl might not return to South Florida for a long time.

Ten NFL title games have been played in Miami, but last week the Dolphins were denied public money for a stadium upgrade by the state Legislature. The vote removes South Florida from serious contention for the 50th Super Bowl and perhaps subsequent NFL and college title games as well.

The defeat in Tallahassee also raises questions about the future of the Dolphins under multibillionaire owner Stephen Ross. He contends $350 million in stadium improvements are badly needed, but he’s unwilling to foot the entire bill himself, and ruled out a less expensive, scaled-down renovation.

The Dolphins say they’re already heavily in debt, making upgrades impossible without taxpayer help.

Solis beats Kono for WBA super flyweight title

TOKYO — Liborio Solis of Venezuela defeated Japan’s Kohei Kono by a majority decision on Monday to win the WBA super flyweight title.

Two judges scored the bout 115-111 and 114-112 in favor of the Venezuelan. A third judge scored it 113-113.

Kono floored Solis with a right in round two, but the Venezuelan recovered to drop the Japanese with a solid left hook in round eight.

Solis improved to 15-3-1 with 7 knockouts while Kono dropped to 28-8 with 11 KOs.

Also, Japan’s Takashi Uchiyama successfully defended his WBA super featherweight title for a seventh time when he knocked out ninth-ranked challenger Jaider Parra of Venezuela in the fifth round.

Artery abnormality cited in Pa. runner’s death

PITTSBURGH — Authorities in western Pennsylvania say a runner who collapsed and died during the half-marathon competition of the Pittsburgh Marathon had an inherited abnormality of the coronary artery system.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said an autopsy Monday on the body of 23-year-old Kyle Johnson of Pittsburgh revealed the abnormality in the system that supplies oxygen to the muscles of the heart.

Dr. Karl Williams said such defects are rare but are associated with sudden unexplained deaths, such as the 1988 death of former NBA star Pete Maravich.

Public safety officials said the runner collapsed near paramedics at the 12-mile mark of Sunday’s race and was later pronounced dead at UPMC Marcy.

Manny Pacquiao plans ring return vs. Rios in Macau

Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring Nov. 24 to meet Brandon Rios in a welterweight bout in Macau, the eight-division world champion’s promoter said Monday.

Bob Arum told The Associated Press that Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) has been focused exclusively on his political career in the Philippines since the congressman’s stunning sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last December. Pacquiao has lost two straight fights after a 15-bout winning streak, also dropping a much-disputed decision to Timothy Bradley last summer.

“We want to get the people a really good, exciting action fight,” Arum said. “(Rios) is an exciting fighter, so it’s a good matchup.”

Although Marquez left him face-down on the canvas in his last bout, the 34-year-old Pacquiao chose Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) to be his next opponent because of the former lightweight champion’s hard-hitting, crowd-pleasing style. Pacquiao’s camp has also claimed Marquez and Bradley both turned down potential rematches with Pacquiao to fight each other Sept. 14 in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao’s choice for his fight’s location is just as intriguing as his choice of opponent. Pacquiao, who hasn’t fought outside the United States since July 2006, will fight in the CotaiArena at Macau’s Venetian Resort Hotel in an attempt to appeal to the nascent Chinese pay-per-view market.

From wire sources