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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Jan. 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Djokovic opens Australian Open with win

MELBOURNE, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic kicked off his 2013 Australian Open with a victory Monday and three other high seeds also won in straight sets.

Djokovic, the world No. 1, defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 by winning 81 percent of the points on serve. Djokovic lost only 15 points while serving and saved the three break points he faced.

Mathieu won nearly two-thirds of the points on serve but Djokovic finished off four of his seven break chances in advancing.

Fourth-seeded David Ferrer beat Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and No. 5 Tomas Berdych ousted Michel Russell 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 with both winners posting a pair of breaks in each set.

Also, eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic defeated local tennis hero Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (7-4), 7-5, 6-3 in a 3-hour match.

Marcos Baghdatis, the No. 28 seed, eked out a 6-7 (0-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alberto Ramos in 4 hours, 15 minutes. It was one of 10 matches that went five sets.

One of those lengthy matches was 10th-seeded Nicolas Almagro's 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 win over Steve Johnson. Other seeded winners included 15th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka and No. 16 Kei Nishikori.

Andrey Kuznetsov upset 11th-seeed Juan Monaco 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, 6-1, winning nearly two-thirds of the points over the last two sets.

Other seeded first-day winners were: 20th-seeded Sam Querrey, No. 22 Fernando Verdasco, 23rd-seeded Mikhail Youzhny, No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz, No. 26 Jurgen Melzer; 31st-seeded Radek Stepanek and No. 32 Julien Benneteau.

Unseeded players advancing included: Kevin Anderson, Tatsuma Ito, Carlos Berlocq, Roberto Bautista Agut, Ryan Harrison, Evgeny Donskoy, Somdev Devvarman, Lukas Lacko, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Feliciano Lopez, Guillaume Rufin, Xavier Malisse, Tim Smyczek, Brian Baker, Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Tobias Kamke.


Sharapova, Venus win Australian openers

MELBOURNE, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- No. 2-seeded Maria Sharapova posted a double-bagel win and Venus Williams dropped just one game Monday, the opening day of the 101st Australian Open.

Sharapova, the 2008 champion and two-time (2007, 20012) runner-up, lost only 23 points in a 6-0, 6-0 shutout of Olga Puchkova in 55 minutes. Sharapova allowed Puchkova just two break opportunities and had only 11 unforced errors.

Williams, the No. 25 seed, was on the court an hour in a 6-1, 6-0 win over Galina Voskoboeva. She saved all four of the break points she faced while posting 21 winners against 10 unforced errors.

Only one seeded player fell on the women's side Monday. No. 32 Mona Barthel, coming off a runner-up finish Saturday in Hobart, dropped a 5-7, 6-2, 4-6 decision to Ksenia Pervak in a tight 2-hour, 22-minute match.

Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, with two titles on her 2013 resume already, took out Bojana Bobusic 7-5, 6-0, dropping just nine points in the second set. No. 5 Angelique Kerber was a 6-2, 6-4 victor over Elina Svitolina, overcoming four dropped service games, and sixth-seeded Li Na defeated Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1, 6-3 without dropping serve.

Other seeded winners Monday included No. 9 Samantha Stosur, 11th-seeded Marion Bartoli and 15th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova. Also advancing were No. 18 Julia Goerges, 19th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova, 22nd-seeded Jelena Jankovic, No. 23 Klara Zakopalova, No. 27 Sorana Cirstea and 30th-seeded Tamira Paszek.

Unseeded winners, in addition to Pervak, were: Madison Keys, Maria Joao Koehler, Stephanie Foretz Gacon, Misaki Doi, Vesna Dolonc, Kristyna Pliskova, Valeria Savinykh, Zheng Jie, Olga Govortsova, Irina-Camelia Begu, Alize Cornet, Heather Watson, Chan Yung-Jan, Romina Oprandi, Kirsten Flipkens and Lucie Hradecka.


USC fires Coach Kevin O'Neill

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Southern Cal announced the firing of basketball Coach Kevin O'Neill Monday.

USC (7-10) has lost nine of its last 13 games.

O'Neill, 55, was in his fourth season as coach of the Trojans.

Assistant coach Bob Cantu will run the team while a search is conducted for O'Neill's replacement, Athletic Director Pat Haden said.

"It was hard for me to evaluate [O'Neill] as a head coach until this year when he had enough players and veterans to compete," Haden said. "As the season progressed, it became evident to me that we needed new leadership in our men's basketball program."

The Trojans were 19-15 in 2010-11 and 6-26 last season.

"I enjoyed my four years at USC. It is a special place," O'Neill said.


Louisville is coaches' poll new No. 1

MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Louisville emerged Monday as the new No. 1 team in the USA Today Coaches' poll after a week in which the final three undefeated teams all lost.

There were a total of 11 losses last week by Top 25 teams, including No. 25 Wyoming, No. 2 Michigan and No. 1 Duke all suffering their first losses of the season. Duke and Michigan, it should be noted, lost road games to ranked teams -- North Carolina State and Ohio State.

Last week's No. 3 Arizona was among those teams losing and that allows Louisville (15-1) to jump from fourth to No. 1. The Cardinals are the third team -- after Indiana and Duke -- to be ranked on top of the poll this season. They were given 18 of the 31 first-place votes.

Indiana (15-1) goes from fifth to second and picked up six first-place votes. Duke (15-1) drops two places to third but is still first on seven coaches' ballots.

Kansas (14-1) takes the fourth spot, after being sixth for three weeks. Michigan (16-1) drops to fifth and Syracuse (16-1) is up one place to sixth. Arizona (15-1) is down four to No. 7 while No. 8 Gonzaga (16-1) and Florida (12-2) are again eighth and ninth, respectively. They are the only Top 25 teams to hold the same position as last week.

Creighton (16-1) re-enters the Top 10 at 10th and Ohio State (13-3) comes in No. 11, up three from a week ago. Minnesota (15-2) slips two to 12th but Butler (14-2) is up four to 13th, San Diego State improves one place to No. 14 and North Carolina State gains six spots to No. 15.

Missouri (12-3) falls four places to 16th, ahead of No. 17 Michigan State. Kansas State (13-2) is 18th and Virginia Commonwealth (14-3) is No. 19 after both vault five places in a week. Notre Dame (14-2), 16th a week ago, is 20th.

New Mexico (14-2) is again ranked, coming in at 21st but Illinois (14-4) after an 0-2 week plummets nine places to 21st. Nevada-Las Vegas (14-3) and Cincinnati (14-3) both fall four places to 23rd and 24th, respectively, after losses last week. UCLA (14-3), which fell out of the ranking Dec. 3, is 25th.

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