In Brief | 8-8-14


Gal leads Meijer LPGA Classic; Wie withdraws

BELMONT, Mich. — Sandra Gal made six straight birdies on her back nine Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic, while Michelle Wie withdrew because of a wrist injury.

Gal, the 29-year-old German who won her lone LPGA Tour title in 2011, birdied Nos. 3-8 and finished with a par on No. 9 for a 6-under 65 at Blythefield Country Club.

Wie was 5 over after nine holes when she pulled out. She fought injuries to both wrists in 2007.

“It just started hurting last week and kept getting worse,” Wie said in the parking lot outside the medical trailer. “It got to the point where I really couldn’t hold a club today. I’m going to try and get an MRI right now and see what my next steps are. I hope I can play next week. So we’ll see.”

The U.S. Women’s Open winner in June for her second victory of the year, Wie said she hoped to be able to play next week in the LPGA Championship — the fourth major championship of the season.

New Zealand lodges America’s Cup challenge

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Emirates Team New Zealand has filed a challenge for the 35th America’s Cup ahead of Friday’s deadline.

The challenge was announced at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which backs the sailing team.

Team New Zealand took a soul-crushing loss in the 2013 America’s Cup, blowing an 8-1 lead and allowing Oracle Team USA to win the final eight races to retain the oldest trophy in international sports.

Other teams expected to enter are Britain’s Ben Ainslie Racing, Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge, Sweden’s Artemis Challenge and Team France.

America’s Cup officials won’t officially announce challengers until the teams have been vetted. Once accepted, teams must pay the first $1 million installment of the $2 million entry fee for the 2017 regatta.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton says the Kiwis “look forward to working with the other teams to create a great event.”

The Kiwis have clashed with Russell Coutts, a New Zealander who is CEO of Oracle Team USA and director of the America’s Cup Event Authority. Coutts uninvited Team New Zealand from a recent competitors meeting in London because he felt it didn’t want to work within the published protocol.

The Kiwis are known to oppose Bermuda as a potential venue to host the challenger semifinals and finals, and America’s Cup match.

Bermuda is competing against San Diego to host the final rounds of racing. Coutts will pick a venue in the coming months.

Tsonga upsets Djokovic at Rogers Cup

TORONTO — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic was upset by 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday in the Rogers Cup, falling 6-2, 6-2 in only 63 minutes in the third round.

Djokovic came in with 11 straight wins over Tsonga but was nowhere near adding a 12th.

Tsonga’s serve gave Djokovic plenty of trouble. The Frenchman had only eight aces, but Djokovic continually struggled to keep his returns in play.

Second-seeded Roger Federer avoided an upset, beating Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-4.

S. Williams reaches Montreal quarterfinals

MONTREAL — Serena Williams advanced to the Rogers Cup quarterfinals Thursday, waiting out a brief rain delay to beat Czech left-hander Lucie Safarova 7-5, 6-4.

The top-ranked Williams returned to play last week in Stanford, California, and won her tour-best fourth title of the season. The event was her first since she withdrew from a doubles match at Wimbledon because of equilibrium problems.

By wire sources