Sam Querrey beat Thiago Alves of Brazil 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in the deciding match to give the United States a 3-2 victory in its best-of-five, first-round Davis Cup tennis competition in Jacksonville, Fla.

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U.S. team advances in Davis Cup

The United States was in trouble when Sam Querrey began his Davis Cup match against Thiago Alves of Brazil on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.

A few booming serves later, the U.S. team was headed for the quarterfinals.

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Querrey beat Alves 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) to give the United States a dramatic 3-2 victory over Brazil in the best-of-five, first-round competition. John Isner of the United States lost to Thomaz Bellucci 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-3 to force a deciding fifth match.

“I was very happy with the way I battled through (the match),” Querrey said. “I fought through the tough points and got breaks in the second, third and fourth sets.”

It was the first time since 2000 a U.S. team needed to win the fifth match to advance. Querrey is ranked 20th in the world; Alves is No. 141.

The United States next will host Serbia — which features top-ranked player Novak Djokovic — from April 5 to April 7 in Boise, Idaho.

Meanwhile, Canada beat short-handed Spain 3-2 in Vancouver, B.C., to reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals for the first time. Five-time champion Spain didn’t have several highly ranked players available because of injuries and/or fatigue.

Nadal cuts ties with IMG

Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal, a winner of 11 major singles titles, let his contract with management agency IMG Worldwide expire Dec. 31.

Nadal, 26, “wanted to set up his own company,” Fernando Soler, head of tennis at New York-based IMG, said. Nadal, recovering from an injury, is expected to return to action this week.


Report: Millwood might retire

Free-agent pitcher Kevin Millwood has indicated he will retire.

Millwood, 38, was 6-12 with a 4.25 earned-run average for the Mariners last year. He reportedly told his agent, Scott Boras, he only wanted to pitch if he could do so for the Atlanta Braves or Tampa Bay Rays, two teams closest to his home in Gainesville, Ga., but neither team expressed interest.

According to the Shelby Star newspaper in North Carolina, Millwood said, “I’m just ready to retire.”

Millwood also told the paper, “I feel like I can still throw it well and going out on a high note is a big deal. I just felt it was time to be closer to home and be around the kids more often.”

Millwood, an All-Star in 1999, has a 169-152 record and a 4.11 ERA in 16 big-league seasons.


Vonn to have bodyguards

With attention on her personal life intensifying, four-time World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn will be surrounded by bodyguards at the world championships that start Tuesday in Schladming, Austria.

An crowd of 30,000 per race is expected.

“There’s going to be an incredible amount of people here in Schladming, and it’s a very small space,” Vonn said at a news conference arranged by the U.S. team.

She said Red Bull, her sponsor, hired security “to make sure I can get in and out and not have any difficulty, but I don’t expect there to be any problems. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

There has been online chatter about an alleged relationship between Vonn and golf superstar Tiger Woods. Vonn’s divorce from her husband of more than four years, Thomas, was completed last month.

Short-track speedskating

Celski earns bronze medal

JR Celski of Federal Way placed third in a 1,000-meter World Cup short-track race in Sochi, Russia.

Charles Hamelin of Canada won in 1 minute, 26.957 seconds at the arena that will host short-track events at the 2014 Olympics.

Semen Elistratov of Russia was second in 1:27.034 and Celski’s time was 1:27.069.


• In soccer, Liverpool did Manchester United a big favor in the English Premier League, holding Manchester City to a 2-2 draw to leave the defending champions nine points behind Man U in the title race.

• Nigeria seemingly has become the team to beat at the African Cup of Nations in South Africa after reaching the semifinals by beating tournament favorite Ivory Coast 2-1.

In semifinal soccer matches Wednesday, Nigeria will play Mali and Burkina Faso will face Ghana.

Game On Dude, a 6-year-old gelding sent off at 1-20 odds, won the Grade II San Antonio by 6 ½ lengths over Clubhouse Ride at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.

Game On Dude, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, ran 1-1/8 miles in 1:47.53 and paid $2.10 to win in the $196,000 race.

Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis, a star of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s and an inspiration for the movie “A League of Their Own,” has died. She was 88.

Her son, William Davis, said Paire-Davis died of natural causes in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Paire-Davis was a model for the character played by Geena Davis and served as a consultant on the 1992 film.

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