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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. ó When an infant in the stadium stands began to cry during a rally Sunday, Lindsay Davenport won the point anyway. Motherhood hasn’t diminished her focus at work.
Still gaining momentum in her career comeback after becoming a parent, Davenport upset second-ranked Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2 in the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Davenport left the women’s tour in late 2006 to have her first child, then came back last summer. The three-time Grand Slam champion is 17-3 this year with two titles, and she rated the win over Ivanovic as her best since returning.
“It’s quite rewarding,” said Davenport, 31. “In this comeback, for lack of better words, I’ve not made a fool of myself. I’ve done pretty well for my age and for what I’ve been through. Obviously days like today just give me more incentive to keep going.”
Serena and Venus Williams also reached the fourth round, as did top-seeded Justine Henin. Four-time champion Serena Williams had the toughest time, overcoming 60 unforced errors and a 3-0 deficit in the second set to beat No. 27 Flavia Pennetta 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2. Venus Williams, seeded sixth, defeated wild card Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-1. Henin beat Sara Errani by the same score.
On the men’s side, No. 2 Rafael Nadal never faced a break point and beat Nicolas Kiefer 6-2, 6-4. No. 9 James Blake outlasted 35-year-old Fabrice Santoro, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4.
IRL
HOMESTEAD, Fla. ó Scott Dixon took the lead after Tony Kanaan crashed Saturday night and went on to win the first race of the new era of American open-wheel racing.
Dixon, who lost the IRL IndyCar Series championship when he ran out of fuel on the last lap of the 2007 season, got off to a great start with a victory in the Gainsco Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
RELEASED
BALTIMORE ó Jay Gibbons was released Sunday by the Baltimore Orioles, who lost patience waiting for the oft-injured outfielder to regain the form that enabled him to hit 26 home runs in 2005. Gibbons batted .189 with no homers and four RBIs in 16 games this spring training after playing in only 84 games last season.
ARRESTED
LOS ANGELES ó Former NBA player Isaiah Rider must appear in court next month after being arrested for driving a stolen car.
Rider had a string of arrests during and after his career for drug use, assault and other crimes. He also racked up large fines and suspensions during his career for offenses that ranged from being tardy to practice to spitting at fans.
GOLF
SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. ó Lorena Ochoa left her pursuers in the desert dust, successfully defending her Safeway International title with a dominating seven-stroke victory.
The 26-year-old sensation, with three big flags from her native Mexico waving in the crowd, shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 22-under 266. She won for the second time in three tries in the young LPGA Tour season.
– AVONDALE, La. ó Argentina’s Andres Romero won the Zurich Classic in his 12th career start on the PGA Tour, closing with a 4-under 68 on Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Australia’s Peter Lonard.
– PALM COAST, Fla. ó Bernhard Langer won the Ginn Championship for his second Champions Tour victory in three starts, shooting a 1-under 71.
– HOUSTON ó Ernie Els withdrew from the Houston Open on Sunday because of a virus, giving him an unexpected two weeks off before going to the Masters.
Els said it was a similar virus to the one that caused him to arrive late at the CA Championship at Doral, where he failed to break par all four rounds and finished at the bottom of the pack.
NFL
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Herb Rich, a three-sport star at Vanderbilt and defensive captain of the New York Giants when they won the NFL title in 1956, died Friday. He was 79.
– MIAMI ó A Miami judge has postponed the trial of four men accused in the slaying of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor until August.
Taylor, an All-Pro safety, was shot during a botched robbery attempt at his Miami home in November.

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