Sports briefs: Serena Williams wins season-opening Brisbane International
tennis • Serena Williams proved the break between seasons hasn't hurt her momentum, capturing her 47th career title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Saturday in the Brisbane International final. Williams has won 35 of her past 36 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open, the season-ending WTA championships and now the first event of 2013.
She already has won the Australian Open five times, and with the season's first major a little more than a week away, she's in good shape to add another title in Melbourne.
In the men's draw, defending champion Andy Murray advanced to the final when fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori retired with an injured left knee while trailing 6-4, 2-0 in their semifinal. The Olympic and U.S. Open champion will next meet 21-year-old Grigor Dimitrov, who reached his first ATP Tour final with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5) victory over Marcos Baghdatis.
• In Dota, Qatar, Richard Gasquet won the Qatar Open for his eight career title, coming from a set down to beat Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Rangers, Berkman near deal
baseball • A person familiar with the situation said the Texas Rangers were close to a deal with Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter, pending a physical. Multiple reports, all citing unidentified sources, said it would be a one-year deal worth at least $10 million. The deal could also include a vesting option for 2014. Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan has publicly expressed the team's interest in Berkman, who was limited by injuries to 32 games for St. Louis last season. The 36-year-old Berkman spent 11Â½ seasons with the Houston Astros, the team for which Ryan previously worked.
PGA opener delayed again
golf • For those who think the PGA Tour season never ends, here's a new twist: This one can't get started. The season-opening Tournament of Champions was postponed for the second straight day because of gusts that topped 40 mph and made it impossible to play golf. Unlike the previous day when 24 players managed to tee off, no one hit a shot Saturday on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, Hawaii.
The season now starts Sunday with hopes of playing 36 holes, followed by an 18-hole finish Monday. It will be the first time the Tournament of Champions is reduced to 54 holes since 1997, when Tiger Woods hit a 7-iron to a foot to beat Tom Lehman in a playoff when a par 3 at La Costa was the only hole that could be used because of so much rain.
Spartans defensive end Gholston to enter NFL Draft
College football • Michigan State defensive end William Gholston is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Gholston is one of three Michigan State underclassman to announce his intentions to turn pro, joining running back Le'Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims. The 6-foot-7, 278-pound Gholston had 41/2 sacks this season and 13 tackles for loss.
• Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison has elected to forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the draft. Jamison rushed for 1,075 yards this season, averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
• Northern Arizona assistant coach Jeff Lewis, a former Lumberjacks quarterback who played for Denver and Carolina in the NFL, died Saturday. He was 39.
From wire reports
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