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Sailing

New Zealand accuses Oracle of cheating

The head of America’s Cup challenger Emirates Team New Zealand accused defending champion Oracle Team USA of cheating in the latest controversy in sailing’s premier regatta.

“You can’t actually get to any other point than the fact they were cheating,” Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday. “I think it’s really serious.”

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Oracle Racing last week admitted it modified its boats without permission of the Measurement Committee during four regattas in the America’s Cup World Series, a warm-up to this year’s regatta. Those regattas were sailed in 45-foot catamarans, which were prototypes of the 72-foot catamarans being sailed this summer in the Louis Vuitton Cup and then the America’s Cup match.

The international jury is investigating and could punish Oracle with a fine, forfeiture of races or disqualification from the America’s Cup. Any punishment would be another smudge on already troubled regatta.

The best-of-17 America’s Cup match begins Sept. 7 between Oracle and the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers.

Tennis

Sharapova falls to Stephens

Maria Sharapova’s return to WTA tournament play after more than a month away was short-lived following an upset loss to 17th-ranked American Sloane Stephens 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in the second round of the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.

In a match that lasted 2 hours, 22 minutes, Stephens overcame double faults on two match points to pick up her first victory over Sharapova in four meetings.

“No one beats me four times in a row, so I had to win tonight,” Stephens told a television interviewer after the match.

Jimmy Connors, who won the tournament 41 years ago, watched from the stands in his first match as Sharapova’s coach. She hired Connors, the 1972 champion and a 1986 finalist, in mid-July.

In earlier action, second-ranked Victoria Azarenka held off an upset bid by qualifier Vania King for a 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) win and advance to the third round

Golf

PGA denies reports of taking over European Tour

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says two British newspaper reports of a bid to take over the European Tour are inaccurate.

The Telegraph and The Daily Mail reported that the PGA Tour made an “audacious” bid to acquire the European Tour.

Finchem said three years ago that men’s professional golf might one day have a world tour, though he did not say how that would take shape or when. He says the International Federation of PGA Tours has worked together to create the World Golf Championships and to help get golf back into the Olympics.

He says the tours continue to explore “collaborative efforts.”

Track and field

Isinbayeva wins third title in women’s pole vault

Yelena Isinbayeva finally brought the world track and field championships to life with a third pole vault world title in front of an ecstatic Moscow crowd.

Isinbayeva, 31, ended a five-year title drought when she soared 16 feet, ½ -inch to finish ahead of American Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr.

Isinbayeva has set a staggering 28 world records.

Like at previous big meets, the charismatic Isinbayeva wrapped the crowd around her fingers and relegated all other finals to secondary events.

American LaShawn Merritt regained the men’s 400-meter title and German Olympic champion Robert Harting a third discus title.

ELSEWHERE

Juan Pablo Montoya, one of the most decorated drivers in the world with an Indianapolis 500 victory and wins in Formula One, NASCAR and the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, will not have a chance to find success in NASCAR with longtime team owner Chip Ganassi.

The team owner informed Montoya he will not bring the Colombian back for an eighth NASCAR season.

• Alabama coach Nick Saban said starting inside linebacker Trey DePriest has been suspended “for a short time.”

Saban said Tuesday that DePriest violated team rules and could be back as soon as a week.

Times staff and news services