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Feb. 15, 2013 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

Bae, Jacobson tied for lead at Riviera

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Fredrik Jacobson and Sang-Moon Bae both shot 6-under 65 Friday and held a share of the second-round lead at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera.

The sun set at Pacific Palisades with Bae and Jacobson both at 9-under 133, one shot ahead of John Merrick and John Rollins.

Bae held the lead by himself briefly but was cooled off by a pair of bogeys on the back nine. Jacobson also held the solo lead for a bit but bogeyed 15 to fall back into a tie with Bae.

Rollins carded a 65 Friday and Merrick a 66, the same score as World No. 3 Like Donald, who grabbed fifth place at 7-under.

Matt Kuchar, who led Thursday, wound up ninth place after stumbling with two double bogeys and 73 for the round.

Phil Mickelson shot 67 and was tied for 13th at 4-under.


Nadal reaches Brasil Open semifinals

SAO PAULO, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Top-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain advanced to the semifinals of the Brasil Open Friday with a three-set victory over Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.

Nadal dropped the first set but prevailed in the second despite five aces served up by Berlocq, and went on to win the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Nadal will meet another Argentine in Saturday's semifinal. Lucky-loser Martin Alund secured a match against Nadal by out-dueling Filippo Volandri, the defending champion of the tournament, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

David Nalbandian made the semis by topping three-time Brasil Open champion and No. 2 seed Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (7-3). Almagro served 28 aces in the match but Nalbandian played a solid match with only one service break.

Nalbandian will face Simone Bolelli, who made the semis with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Albert Montanes of Spain.


Williams wins in Doha, will again be No. 1

DOHA, Qatar, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Serena Williams posted a quarterfinal three-set victory Friday at that Qatar Total Open that will return her to the world No. 1 ranking.

Williams, the No. 2 seeded in Doha, defeated seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in advancing to Saturday's tournament semifinals against world No. 3 Maria Sharapova.

The win by Williams has bigger ramifications, however, as it assured that Williams will replace Victoria Azarenka atop the women's tennis rankings as of Monday. At 31, Williams will be the oldest woman to be ranked No. 1.

Monday will mark the sixth time Williams will be No. 1. She first reached the top of the rankings July 8, 2002, and most recently was No. 1 Oct. 10, 2010. She's been ranked first for a total of 123 weeks, which is sixth most all-time.

Kvitova, who'd never before taken a set from Williams, made Williams earn the win Friday, however. Kvitova built a 4-1 lead in the third set but Williams had a break of her own and two saves that allowed her to even the match at 4-4 and had another break to get to 6-5.

Earlier Azarenka, looking to defend her Qatar Open title, defeated sixth-seeded Sara Errani 6-2, 6-2. She dropped serve once in each set but also had three breaks in each set.

Azarenka draws fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Azarenka is 11-3 in her career versus Radwanska.

Sharapova will go against Williams Saturday after she opened the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over eighth-seeded Samantha Stosur. Sharapova lost her serve just once as she fired 12 aces while winning two-thirds of the points on serve.

Williams is 10-2 in her career versus Sharapova, having won their last 10 meetings. Sharapova beat Williams twice in 2004.


Packers release Charles Woodson

GREEN BAY, Wis., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The Green Bay Packers Friday released defensive back Charles Woodson, who went to the Pro Bowl four times as a Packer but played in just seven games in 2012.

Woodson, who went to the Pro Bowl eight times in his career with the Packers and the Oakland Raiders, helped the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV at the end of the 2010 season.

He won the Heisman Trophy in 1997 as a cornerback and punter at Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to a national championship that year and was named an all-American in 1996 and '97.

Woodson, 36, played eight years in Oakland before joining the Packers as a free-agent in 2006.

He tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions in 2009, when he also had four forced fumbles and two sacks, and became the second Packer ever to be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

"We are grateful for all that Charles has given to the Green Bay Packers over the past seven years," Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said. "He has been an integral part of the Packers' success and our Super Bowl title in 2010 would not have been possible without his contributions. A once-in-a-generation talent as a player, he is also a great leader and ambassador for the organization off the field. Charles will always be a member of the Packers family and we look forward to his eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

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