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Sharapova hires Connors as her coach

Maria Sharapova hired Jimmy Connors, a winner of eight Grand Slam tournaments, as her new coach Saturday, one day after splitting with Thomas Hogstedt.

“I have known Jimmy for many years and we briefly worked together in 2008 just before the Australian Open,” Sharapova, ranked second in the world by the WTA Tour, said in a statement on her website. “I am really excited about our new partnership and looking forward to the upcoming tournaments.”

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Sharapova, 26, was knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon last month by qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal. The Russian began working with Hogstedt in 2010 and won the French Open two years later to complete the career Grand Slam of claiming all four major championships at least once.

Connors, 60, won 109 singles titles during a 20-year career and was ranked No. 1 in the world three times, including a three-year run from 1974 to 1977. He retired from the ATP Tour in 1991 and was elected to the Tennis Hall of Fame seven years later.

In 2008, Connors quit as Andy Roddick’s coach after 19 months.

Rain delays semifinals

Semifinal matches at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., were pushed back a day after heavy rain wiped out most of the play Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday morning, Nicolas Mahut of France will play American Michael Russell and two-time defending champion John Isner of the United States will face Australian Lleyton Hewitt. The winners will meet in the final later Sunday.


Jets West concludes

Attendees at New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s fourth annual Jets West passing camp in Mission Viejo, Calif., each returned home with an iPad mini, an adult-size onesie, a Nike backpack and other items.

It was a bounty of souvenirs, but also, perhaps, something else: a nice parting gift. Jets West might not exist next summer, the Jets part at least. There could be a Jets South in Geno Smith’s home state of Florida, depending on the way the quarterback battle — and the season at large — unfolds. Not that Sanchez is thinking that way, of course.

Asked after Friday’s workout whether he would win the competition, Sanchez fixed his eyes on the reporter and said, “Absolutely.”

Smith was not among the 11 offensive players who carved a few days out of their summer for on-field workouts, film sessions and bonding. Neither were Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, Greg McElroy and some others, but their absences were not as conspicuous.

“There are no hard feelings about anything like that,” Sanchez said, adding: “There’s plenty of other things they can be doing. If they can make the sacrifice and be here, awesome. If they can’t, totally fine.”


Ex-Huskies help U.S.

Three former Washington Huskies helped the United States complete a three-match sweep of Japan in the USA Volleyball Cup.

Libero Tamari Miyashiro and setters Jenna Hagglund and Courtney Thompson competed for the Americans in Saturday’s 25-15, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 15-10 victory in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.


• Favorites prevailed in Grade I Thoroughbred races on turf, as Boisterous ($5.10 to win) took the $600,000 Man o’ War at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., and Emollient ($4.40) captured the $350,750 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

Boisterous, a 6-year-old trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by John Velazquez, ran 13
8 miles on an inner course rated good in 2 minutes, 14.11 seconds to beat runner-up Twilight Eclipse by 2¼ lengths.

Emollient, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Mike Smith, ran 1¼ miles on a firm course in 2:02.38 and defeated Emotional Kitten by a half-length.

• Japan beat the U.S. team 7-4 in a World Cup of Softball game before a crowd of 2,762 in Oklahoma City. Amanda Chidester hit a two-run homer for the Americans.

Misa Okubo went 3 for 4 for Japan (3-1), which secured a berth in Sunday’s gold-medal game.

The United States (2-1) could advance to the final by beating Puerto Rico (0-3) earlier Sunday.

• Fox televises baseball’s All-Star Game on Tuesday and will use that platform to present a lengthy, expensive promotional piece to hype the launch of Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 17.

Plans are for that network to carry almost 5,000 hours of live news/event or original programming coverage annually and showcase several sports: college football and basketball, NASCAR, soccer, mixed martial arts and some big-league baseball games.

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