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Sports Report: Serena Williams Bests Sister Venus In U.S. Open

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Tennis:

Serena Williams has defeated sister Venus in three sets to move within two victories of completing the first Grand Slam since 1988.

The younger Williams won 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the U.S. Open quarterfinals Tuesday night in front of a celebrity-filled crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was her 11th three-set victory at a major this year.

Serena improved to 9-5 against her sister in Grand Slam matches.

Serena was nearly perfect in the first set but tightened up in the second. She pulled it back together in the third, breaking Venus' serve right away. Showing the importance of the moment, Serena started celebrating winners with big fist pumps and loud yells of "Come on!" unlike most matches against her sister.

The 35-year-old Venus kept up her sharp play of the last two rounds, but Serena — as she so often is against everyone — was simply better.

She next faces 26th-seeded Roberta Vinci, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal and has never defeated Williams.

Novak Djokovic has reached the U.S. Open semifinals for the ninth consecutive year, beating 18th-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

The match began after 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, and finished a little after 1 a.m. Wednesday.

For all of that success getting to the closing days at Flushing Meadows, Djokovic has one championship to show for it, in 2011. His other eight major titles came at either the Australian Open or Wimbledon.

In Friday's semifinals, Djokovic will face defending champion Marin Cilic.

MLB:

In baseball, in the American League, Toronto topped Boston 5-1 in 10 innings to extend their 1 ½ game lead in the AL East while Baltimore bested the Yankees 2-1. Detroit edged Tampa Bay 8-7 in 13 innings, the White Sox won against Cleveland 7-4, Kansas City doubled up Minnesota 4-2, Oakland blanked Houston 4-0, and it was Texas over Seattle 9-6.

In the National League, the Mets own a six-game edge in the NL East after turning a 7-1 deficit into an 8-7 triumph over the second-place Nationals in Washington, Philadelphia shut out Atlanta 5-0, Miami beat Milwaukee 6-4, Pittsburgh won against Cincinnati 7-3, the Cubs defeated St. Louis 8-5, San Francisco tripled up Arizona 6-2, and it was San Diego over Colorado 2-1.

In interleague play, the Dodgers topped the Angels 6-4.

The Kansas City Royals will host the New York Mets in an opening-day interleague matchup next season.

Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday the season will open with a Sunday night game on April 3 with teams to be named later.

Thirteen games are scheduled for April 4, with the Mets-Royals matchup joined by Philadelphia at Cincinnati, Washington at Atlanta in Turner Field's last opener, Colorado at Arizona, Minnesota at Baltimore, Boston at Cleveland, San Francisco at Milwaukee, Houston at the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox at Oakland, St. Louis at Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego, Toronto at Tampa Bay and Seattle at Texas.

Former St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros pitcher Joaquin Andujar (WAH'-keen AN'-doo-hahr) has died at 62 of complications from diabetes. Andujar was a two-time All-Star in five seasons with the Cardinals, helping the team win the 1982 World Series and 1985 National League pennant. He had 20-win seasons in 1984 and '85, led the National League in victories in '84 and was a 15-game winner on the Cardinals '82 World Series club.

Andujar broke in with the Astros in 1976 and represented the team in two All-Star games. He also spent two seasons with Oakland before completing his career with the 1988 Astros.

NFL:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is willing to lessen his role in the player discipline process, but he's still reluctant to give up final say. Goodell tells ESPN Radio that the league resists third-party arbitration. The players union wants disciplinary power now held by Goodell to be handled by a neutral arbitrator.

Quarterback Matt Cassel is back with the Buffalo Bills. Just days after being cut by the team, he has agreed to a new, cheaper contract and has been named the backup to Tyrod Taylor. Cassel was scheduled to make a $4.15 million base salary in his previous contract, which was deemed too expensive for a backup.

The NFL Players Association's lawsuit alleging that league owners set a secret salary cap in 2010 has been rejected again in federal court. U.S. District Judge Michael Davis issued his order Tuesday. He denied the motion filed by the NFLPA in 2012 to reopen the long-running case that was closed in 2011 when the lockout ended. The union sought $4 billion in damages, citing collusion.

The Iowa state medical examiner says former New York Giants safety Tyler Sash has died at the age of 27. The director of forensic operations for the medical examiner tells The Associated Press that his office and local police are investigating Sash's death. No cause of death has been determined, but an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Sash started 37 games for the University of Iowa from 2007-10, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior. He helped the Giants win their last Super Bowl.

NHL:

The New Jersey Devils have signed free agent forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to a one-year, two-way contract for $575,000 at the NHL level. Letourneau-Leblond spent the past two seasons with the AHL's Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, where he played under new Devils coach John Hynes.

WNBA:

In the WNBA playoffs, Washington beat Indiana 76-72, Tulsa bested San Antonio 74-64, and it was Minnesota over Seattle 73-67.

NBA:

The NBA will now seed playoff teams solely by their record, throwing out the top-four protection for teams who win their divisions. The expected change was unanimously approved Tuesday by the league's Board of Governors. Teams in each conference will be seeded from one to eight by their won-loss record.

Previously, division winners were guaranteed no worse than the No. 4 seed, a rule that became heavily criticized last season when Portland ended up No. 4 in the powerful Western Conference despite the sixth-best record in the conference.

The league also changed the tiebreaker procedures, making head-to-head results the first tiebreaker for seeding and home-court advantage, and whether a team won its division second. A division winner previously got the home-court advantage if it met a team with the same record in the playoffs.

Disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris has been fined $10,000 for making "a public statement detrimental to the NBA." He said in a tweet last week that his "future will not be in Phoenix." The tweet came a month after he told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he was upset with the way the Suns traded his twin brother Marcus to the Detroit Pistons.

Golf:

Phil Mickelson has been selected to the Presidents Cup as a captain's pick by Jay Haas even though he was 30th in the standings and hasn't won in two years. Haas says Mickelson deserved a pick after making the last 20 Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup teams without needing one. Haas also picked his son, Bill Haas, who ranks 11th in the standings.

International team captain Nick Price has chosen Sang-Moon Bae and Steven Bowditch to fill out his 12-man team that will try to end 17 years of losing against the Americans. The matches are Oct. 8-11 in South Korea.

MLS:

The New York Red Bulls have named Amy Scheer as their chief commercial officer. The 26-year sports industry veteran previously served as vice president of marketing, media and fan relationship management for New York City FC.

NCAA:

The SEC has landed a record 10 teams in the first Associated Press college football poll of the season, although Ohio State remains a unanimous No. 1 following last night's 42-24 win at Virginia Tech. Alabama is the highest-ranked SEC school after climbing to second in the poll. TCU is third, followed by Baylor, Michigan, Auburn, Oregon, Southern Cal, Notre Dame and Georgia.

Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt underwent surgery on his injured Achilles tendon on Tuesday, and coach Scott Shafer says the school will petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility for the senior captain.

Shafer says the process has begun but isn't sure how quickly the NCAA will act.

Hunt, who missed the last seven games of 2014 with a broken calf bone in his left leg, suffered a tear in his right Achilles Friday night in the Orange's 47-0 victory over Rhode Island in the opener. He walked to the locker room on crutches.

With Hunt out for the season, freshman Eric Dungey will start on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Wake Forest.

High School:

A San Antonio-area police department is investigating two football players who rammed into a referee during a high school game. Marble Falls, Texas, police said in a statement Monday there have been no arrests.

The Northside Independent School District is conducting its own investigation into the incident Friday and has suspended the two players from the school and the team.

Video showed the referee watching the play, and his head snapping back when he is leveled from behind. The other player then dove on top of him. The team from John Jay High School in San Antonio was playing Marble Falls High School in Marble Falls, located about 90 miles north of San Antonio.

A football coach at a Connecticut high school has been suspended for a week after a report surfaced about hazing in the team's locker room. The superintendent of Cromwell Public Schools says coach Chris Eckert will miss the Cromwell-Portland co-op team's opening game on Saturday against Coginchaug Regional.

Saratoga:

Javier Castellano didn't win the jockey title at Saratoga Race Course, although he may have done even better by becoming the first rider to sweep four of the top Grade 1 races at the Spa.

Castellano's biggest win came in the Travers, when he guided Keen Ice to an upset of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah on Aug. 29. He also won the Whitney, the Woodward and the Alabama.

Todd Pletcher won his sixth straight training title and 12th overall. Irad Ortiz, Jr. won his first Spa riding title, and Michael Dubb repeated as leading owner with 12 wins.

Pletcher had 34 wins to beat Chad Brown, who had 31.

Ortiz had 57 wins to Castellano's 53.

©2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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