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Serena makes easy work of opponent

New York — If this is how Serena Williams serves when she can’t practice properly because her right shoulder is sore, watch out when she's 100 percent healthy. A year after falling two wins short of a calendar-year Grand Slam by bowing out in the US Open semifinals, Williams showed zero signs of shoulder trouble Tuesday night as she began her bid for a record-breaking 23rd major title. She hit 12 aces and reached 121 mph on her powerful serve during a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ekaterina Makarova, a potentially tricky first-round opponent at Flushing Meadows. “I was pleased with my serve, because I haven’t been hitting a lot of serves at all,” the 34-year-old Williams said. “In practice, none of them were going in, so I was definitely excited about that.” Since equaling …

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Djokovic wins in 4 with injured arm

New York — Novak Djokovic double-faulted, then shook his right arm and grimaced. Seconds later Monday night, a weak serve produced a wince from the US Open's defending champion, then was followed by a missed forehand that gave away a set – the first set dropped by Djokovic in the first round of any Grand Slam tournament since 2010. While he managed to emerge with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, there were plenty of signs of trouble, starting with a visit from a trainer who massaged Djokovic's bothersome arm after only five games. Asked about his health during an on-court interview, Djokovic deflected the question, saying, “I don't think it's necessary to talk about this now. I'm through. I'm taking it day by day.” When the subject arose …

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Rock legend Collins kicks off US Open

New York - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal get their US Open campaigns under way Monday in the shadow of Arthur Ashe Stadium's spectacular $150 million retractable roof and alongside rock music legend Phil Collins. Defending champion Djokovic and fellow two-time winner Nadal come into the season's final Grand Slam with injury concerns. World number one Djokovic, the 2011 and 2015 champion, admits he is ''not 100 percent'' after suffering a wrist injury on the eve of the Olympic Games where he was a shock first-round loser. The 29-year-old has also said ''personal problems'' contributed to his third-round exit at Wimbledon which ended his hopes of going on to capture the first calendar Grand Slam since 1969. Nadal, meanwhile, is also battling the effects of a left wrist problem which forced a mid-tournament withdrawal …

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Serena eyes No. 23

New York — Despite everything that Serena Williams has won and done, her sense of self can still fluctuate based on the outcome of a particular match. Doesn’t always seem to matter that she owns a record-tying 22 major singles titles heading into the U.S. Open, which begins Monday with a retractable roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time. Not necessarily a big deal to her that she's spent the past 3 1/2 years entrenched at No. 1 and is the oldest woman ever to top the WTA rankings. And there are times when the 34-year-old American basically forgets that she transcends her sport and has become a cultural icon away from the tennis court. Williams is devastated when she is dealt a setback, such as last year’s “Did that really happen?!” …

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Djokovic admits he’s not 100 percent

New York — Novak Djokovic admitted Friday that he has undergone electric shock-style treatment to heal a worrying wrist injury, but he’s still not 100 percent fit as he prepares to defend his US Open title. The world number one has been suffering from a left wrist problem which contributed to a shock first round loss at the Olympics to Juan Martin del Potro and forced him to skip the Cincinnati Masters. “I am not 100 percent but I am getting there. There’s still a couple of days. Hopefully on Monday, when it all starts, I will be there,’’ said the top seed and defending champion. The 29-year-old holder of 12 majors admitted that he had submitted himself to various treatments as he battled to get fit for New York.

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Murray says players will regret skipping Rio Games

Cincinnati – Andy Murray endorsed the Tuesday decision of the US Open to award a wild card to Juan Martin del Potro, who gave the Scot a severe weekend test in the Olympic tennis final. “You give wild cards to deserving players,” the Rio gold medalist said as he prepared to take his place as top seed at the ATP-WTA Cincinnati Masters. “Juan Martin deserves to be in the slams. “If he had not been injured (wrist operations) he'd be comfortably seeded. He deserves that wild card for sure. “He draws good crowds and will be an asset to the tournament for sure,” he said of Argentina's silver medalist and 2009 US Open champion. Double Olympic winner Murray took the opportunity to lightly scold his fellow players – some of whom skipped the Olympics …

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Murray tops Del Potro, captures gold

Rio De Janeiro — Andy Murray is making a habit of accomplishing things that hadn't been done in a while. Or ever. Murray became the first tennis player in Olympic history with two singles gold medals, winning his second in a row by wearing down Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 at the Rio de Janeiro Games in a back-and-forth 4-hour final Sunday. “Anything could have happened,” said Murray, who took the last four games after trailing 5-3 in the fourth set. “Emotionally, it was tough. Physically, it was hard,” he said. “So many ups and downs.: At the 2012 London Olympics, Murray won a singles gold and mixed doubles silver at the All England Club. That, of course, was also the site of his historic 2013 Wimbledon championship, ending the …

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Serena upset by Svitolina

Rio De Janeiro – Out of sorts and out of answers, defending champion Serena Williams is out of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Shanking shots of all sorts, including five – yes, five! – double-faults in one game alone, Williams lost to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 6-4, 6-3, in the third round in a real shocker Tuesday, ending the No. 1-seeded American's bid to become the first tennis player to collect a pair of singles golds.

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Djokovic reaches Toronto final

Toronto — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic beat 10th-seeded Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday night to reach the Rogers Cup final and improve to 12-0 against the Frenchman. “You do have a certain mental comfort knowing that you have had plenty of success against your opponent,” Djokovic said. “Nevertheless, that is not a certainty. That’s not a guarantee that you can win the match. Actually, it actually makes him more eager to come out and play his best tennis.” The winner in 2007, 2011 and 2012 in the hardcourt event that rotates between Toronto and Montreal, Djokovic will face third-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan on Sunday. Nishikori beat second-seeded Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (6), 6-1 in the first semifinal. Djokovic is trying to win a record 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. …

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Jason Day plays course unseen

Springfield, New Jersey — Jason Day's plan to defend his PGA Championship took a turn he wasn’t expecting. It is rare for a player considered one of the favorites in a major not to see the golf course until the day before the tournament starts, but that’s how the world's No. 1-ranked player will try to handle Baltusrol Golf Club, the site of this year’s PGA Championship. “I haven’t played a practice round. I haven’t seen the course. I don’t know what it looks like,” Day said Wednesday before heading out for a practice round. “I was with Doug Steffen, the head pro, last night at the champions’ dinner. I went through pretty much every hole with him for about 20, 30 minutes, kind of going over all the holes. I’m going …

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