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Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after winning the women's singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-4, 7-5 during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Sports briefs: Serena Williams wins Brisbane title
First Published Jan 04 2014 05:28 pm • Last Updated Mar 24 2014 11:31 pm

TENNIS • Serena Williams showed she has carried her momentum from 2013 into the new season, beating No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to defend her title at the Brisbane International and set the tone for the Australian Open.

The top-ranked Williams extended her winning streak to 22 matches with the emphatic win over the reigning Australian Open champion, making it back-to-back victories over two of her main rivals. She beat four-time major winner Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the semifinals.

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The year’s first major starts Jan. 13 at Melbourne Park and Williams, who won 78 of her 82 matches and collected 11 titles last year, is positioning herself as the favorite to claim a sixth Australian title.

She improved to 14-3 against Azarenka, who beat Williams in two finals last year and was the last person to defeat the American — at Cincinnati in August.

Nadal beats Monfils for Qatar title

TENNIS • Rafael Nadal opened his 2014 campaign by winning his first title of the year in defeating Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2 at the Qatar Open in Doha.

Nadal battled to win his 61st career title, one shy of Guillermo Vilas’ total, seventh on the all-time Open era list.

Of the five matches Nadal played this week he was taken the three-set distance three times: By Tobias Kamke in the second round, Peter Gojowczyk in the quarterfinals, and then by Monfils.


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West defeats Eastin all-star game

PREP FOOTBALL • Future Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen threw for 183 yards and Oregon commit Royce Freeman rushed for three touchdowns as West beat East 28-6 in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.

Allen started the game 8 for 8 and was responsible for a 114 of the West’s 165 total yards in the first half. He connected on 9 of 13 passes in the first half and was 12 of 18 for the game.

Freeman had scores of 3, 1, and 9 yards.

The East managed just 16 yards on 18 plays in the first half and trailed 14-0.

Will Grier, who is headed to Florida, finished with 109 yards passing for the East, including the game’s longest play from scrimmage — a 51-yard pass to Clemson recruit Demarre Kitt.

The East got on the board in the fourth quarter after a 1-yard TD by Sony Michel, a Georgia commit.

The West’s Joe Mixon, heading to Oklahoma, scored on a 3-yard run and made a 26-yard reception.



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