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Britain defeats U.S. in Davis Cup

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray beat Sam Querrey 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 6-3 to clinch Britain’s opening-round Davis Cup victory against the United States on Sunday at Petco Park, home of baseball’s San Diego Padres.

Murray, who had back surgery in September, won his 18th straight Davis Cup singles match and Britain beat the Americans for the first time since 1935.

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Britain advanced to the World Group quarterfinals for the first time since 1986. It will face Italy, which defeated Argentina.

Murray’s victory on the red-clay court gave Britain a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-five competition. The final singles match was canceled.

“I’m proud of the way I’m playing just now, because I had to do a lot of work to get back to where I want to be,” Murray said after celebrating with teammates.

Pavlyuchenkova earns 6th title

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is making up for lost time at age 22. The Russian looked like a safe bet to become a top-10 player when she cracked the top 50 in 2008 and broke into the top 20 two years later.

Since reaching a career-high No. 13 ranking in July 2011, Pavlyuchenkova has struggled to fulfill her potential.

She might have put her career back on track by defeating third-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Open GDF Suez in Paris for her sixth career WTA title.

“Definitely, now I feel more mature,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “My mentality is a little bit different. Last year or a few years ago, I would lose here in the first round, for sure.”


Ligety wins giant-slalom event

Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah, put together two nearly flawless runs in difficult conditions to win a World Cup giant slalom in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It was the last men’s race before the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Ligety, a two-time world champion in the event, coped with poor visibility. He had a two-run time of 2 minutes, 38.75 seconds, 1.51 seconds faster than runner-up Marcel Hirscher of Austria.

“It’s so tough when you can’t see anything,” Ligety said. “It makes it so much more tiring. I’m glad I was able to make it to the finish line.”

Swede Hansdotter takes slalom

Frida Hansdotter of Sweden won a World Cup slalom on a soft course in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and 18-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin was seventh after hitting a deep rut before the first timing mark of her second run.

Shiffrin has won three of six World Cup slaloms this season and is looking ahead to the Olympics.

“Sure, I’m excited,” she said. “For sure, it’s every child’s dream. Either they want to go to the Olympics or they want to be president, and I happen to be going to the Olympics.”

Takanashi soars to 10th victory

Japanese ski jumper Sara Takanashi won her second World Cup event in two days in Hinzenbach, Austria, cementing her status as favorite for Olympic gold in Sochi.

Takanashi has 10 victories this season.

Women’s ski jumping makes its Olympic debut in Sochi with a Feb. 11 competition.


Capitals beat Red Wings in OT

Alex Ovechkin scored on a power play 2:37 into overtime to give the host Washington Capitals a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Two days earlier, Detroit beat the visiting Capitals 4-3 in a shootout.

Ovechkin improved his league-leading total to 39 goals.

“I was pretty much open,” he said.

In Sunday’s other league game, Michael Frolik scored 1:04 into the third period to give the Winnipeg Jets a 2-1 victory at Montreal.


• Former England captain David Beckham has exercised his option to buy a Major League Soccer franchise and plans to bring his team to South Florida, contingent on a viable privately funded stadium plan, sources familiar with negotiations told The Miami Herald.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as Arsenal beat visiting Crystal Palace 2-0 to take the lead in English Premier League soccer.

The Gunners have 55 points from 24 matches.

Manchester City, which has 53 points in 23 matches, hosts third-place Chelsea on Monday. Chelsea has 50 points in 23 matches.

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