Venus Williams won her first singles match since August, dispatching Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan 6-0, 6-3 Wednesday at the Sony Ericsson...

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Venus wins first match back

Venus Williams won her first singles match since August, dispatching Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan 6-0, 6-3 Wednesday at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.

She beamed wide, raised her arms in victory, then skipped to the net to shake’s Date-Krumm’s hand before twirling around and pumping her arms in a celebration worthy of winning the title, not just a first match.

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But other than playing a meaningless doubles match during the United States’ Fed Cup first-round victory over Belarus in early February, she hadn’t played an official match since the U.S. Open first round.

Williams, 31, withdrew from her second-round match against Sabine Lisicki at the U.S. Open after announcing she was diagnosed with the fatigue-causing autoimmune disease known as Sjogren’s Syndrome.

“I mean, just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me. Just to be here is a win,” Williams said. “You know, that’s what I told myself going in, that this is a win. I have nothing to lose. Just, you know, to gain. Just to get back at this level is a win for me.”

Once a world No. 1 and a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Williams is ranked No. 134. She’s hoping to be able to play steadily now and to make her third U.S. Olympic team — she won gold in singles and doubles at the 2000 Sydney Games and a doubles gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Former Australian Open finalist Fernando Gonzalez of Chile lost to Nicolas Mahut of France 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) in the final match of Gonzalez’s 13-year career.

Unseeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium, a former Sony Ericsson Open champion (2005 and 2010), beat Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.


U.S. men face Cuba

The U.S. men are ready to go on the offensive as they chase a berth in the 2012 Olympics on the same field in Nashville, Tenn., where the Americans qualified for Beijing in 2008.

Coach Caleb Porter and the U.S. under-23 team will get a chance to test that approach in games that matter starting Thursday against Cuba. Porter has Freddy Adu from the Philadelphia Union as team captain with forwards including Brek Shea from FC Dallas and Juan Agudelo of the New York Red Bulls heading up a talented roster.

Canada plays El Salvador in the opener of the doubleheader, part of the CONCACAF round-robin qualifying tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean.

U.S. women’s roster set

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage will use the 23-player roster for exhibition games in Japan that she took to the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Former Huskies star Hope Solo is one of three goalkeepers.

Man City rallies for win

Carlos Tevez played in his first game since Sept. 27 and set up Samir Nasri’s late go-ahead goal, giving host Manchester City a 2-1 comeback win against Chelsea that kept pressure on English Premier League leader Manchester United.

Tevez entered in the 66th minute to a mixture of boos and cheers, his first appearance since he was suspended for refusing to warm up for a Champions League match at Bayern Munich. With its club-record 20th straight home league win, City cut its deficit to one point behind defending champion United with nine games left.

Bolton to play again

Bolton will return to the field in the English Premier League on Saturday, a week after midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest during a match and needed 15 shocks to recover. With Muamba improving and talking to doctors, Bolton decided to go ahead with the match against Blackburn.

Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin revealed Wednesday that doctors tried unsuccessfully to revive Muamba for 48 minutes before he arrived at London Chest Hospital. It took another 30 minutes before Muamba’s heart started beating on its own after 15 shocks.

College football

Penn State probe continues

Former FBI chief Louis Freeh and his investigators have conducted 200 interviews in their extensive probe of the child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State, asking questions that go beyond the charges against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and into the relationship between the football program and the administration.

Freeh is charged with finding out how Penn State failed to stop an alleged predator in its midst, and with recommending changes aimed at preventing abuse.


• Spanish leader Real Madrid wasted a lead for the second time in four days when it again conceded a goal on a late free kick in a 1-1 tie at Villarreal. Real Madrid saw its lead over three-time defending champion Barcelona cut from 10 points to six with the two draws.

Edinson Cavani scored one goal and caused another with his pressure, leading Napoli over Siena 2-0 for a 3-2 aggregate win and a berth against Juventus in the Italian Cup final on May 20.

• Defending champion Bayern Munich beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie to reach the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund in Berlin on May 12.

• Paris Saint-Germain’s 12-game unbeaten streak under new coach Carlo Ancelotti ended when visiting Lyon rallied for a 3-1 win to reach the French Cup semifinals.

• Doctors in Rio de Janeiro said former FIFA president and IOC member Joao Havelange is still being treated with antibiotics to fight an infection in his right ankle.

John Daly will return to the European PGA Tour for the Hassan II Trophy tournament in Agadir, Morocco, confident he’s recovered from an injury to his right elbow.

• Western Kentucky’s Ross Bjork was named Mississippi’s new athletic director. Bjork, 39, has also worked in the athletic departments at UCLA, Miami and Missouri.

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