College football season opens Thursday
NASHVILLE, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The 2012 college football season opens Thursday with 24 of the nation's Top 25 ranked teams scheduled to compete on the first weekend of the campaign.
Schools from the Southeastern Conference have won the national championship each of the last six years and teams from that league will take part in the feature attraction on the first night of the new season.
No. 9 South Carolina will visit Vanderbilt Thursday with the Gamecocks being the only nationally ranked team in action on opening night.
Texas A&M's debut as a SEC team was delayed when its Thursday game at Louisiana Tech was postponed due to the affects of Hurricane Isaac.
UCLA will visit Rice, Washington State will be at Brigham Young and Minnesota will travel to Nevada-Las Vegas in other Thursday games.
There will be three matchups of ranked teams this weekend with one of those taking place on Friday when No. 13 Michigan State hosts No. 22 Boise State.
On Saturday defending champion and second-ranked Alabama will face No. 8 Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas and No. 25 Auburn will meet No. 14 Clemson in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
Top-ranked LSU will open its season at home against North Texas on Saturday, No. 3 USC will host Hawaii and No. 4 Oklahoma will visit Texas-El Paso.
The only ranked team not playing during the opening weekend will be No. 17 Texas Christian, which begins its first year in the Big 12 Conference.
Clijsters ousted in final tournament
NEW YORK, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Kim Clijsters, playing in what she has said will be her final tournament, lost Wednesday in the second round of the U.S. Open.
The three-time champion had not suffered a defeat at the U.S. Tennis Center since 2003, but she fell to Laura Robson 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5).
"This seems like the perfect place to retire, I just wish it wasn't today," Clijsters said. She won the event in 2005, 2009 and 2010, and her career ended with a 38-6 record in singles matches at the U.S. Open.
Having battled injuries and gone through one retirement while beginning a family, Clijsters won four major championships and had 41 career titles overall. She finished second in major events four other times.
Clijsters' exit from competitive tennis overshadowed second-round victories Wednesday by world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, defending champion Samantha Stosur, 2006 U.S. Open champ Maria Sharapova and 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.
Azarenka breezed past Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2 and will meet Zheng Jie in the third round.
Stosur, who upset Serena Williams to win last year's tournament, posted a 6-3, 6-0 decision over Edina Gallovits-Hall, Sharapova crushed Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0, 6-1, and Kvitova was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Alize Cornet.
Kvitova, the only woman to reach at least the quarterfinals in the three major tournaments played thus far in 2012, will meet Pauline Parmentier in the third round.
In other action 2011 French Open champion Li Na ousted Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-4, Marion Bartoli defeated Romina Oprandi 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, and Kristina Mladenovic surprised Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2.
Nationals end five-game skid
MIAMI, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Bryce Harper hit two of Washington's three home runs Wednesday in sending the Nationals to an 8-4 decision over Miami.
Washington had lost five consecutive games, equaling its longest such streak of the season, but got back on track by pounding out 13 hits.
Harper broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with a two-run homer and the Nationals added two more in the inning when Michael Morse tripled in a run and then came home on a single by Ian Desmond.
Harper added a solo homer in the fifth and Kurt Suzuki hit another in the ninth.
The Nationals boosted their lead over Atlanta in the National League East to five games.
Ross Detwiler (8-6) went 5 2/3 innings to get the win. He gave up three runs on four hits while striking out four. The loss went to Jacob Turner (1-3), who allowed both the home runs by Harper along with four other hits during five innings.
Minneapolis tapped for 2014 All-Star Game
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played at Target Field in Minneapolis, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday.
The Minnesota Twins have played at the site since its 2010 opening.
The selection marks the third time the All-Star Game has been played in Minnesota, after events in 1965 at Metropolitan Stadium and in 1985 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
Selig said the choice of Target Field was "especially meaningful" for him due to his relationship with the Twins' late owner, Carl Pohlad, who died in 2009 at age 93.
"The Midsummer Classic will be a celebration of Carl's legacy, one of our game's model franchises and the spectacular Target Field, which deserves to be showcased on this global stage," Selig said.
Current Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Carl's son, added, "My father and Commissioner Selig were very close, so we are thrilled to have the commissioner at Target Field to announce an All-Star Game coming to the Twin Cities."
The 2013 All-Star Game will be held at Citi Field in New York, home of the Mets.