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BRISBANE, Australia -- This was one time Serena Williams didnt mind being pushed into the deep end, to use her own description. The top-ranked Williams carried her winning 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. She 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 an intense semifinal, her 14th consecutive win in that frosty duel. She improved to 14-3 against Azarenka, the last person to beat her last year. Before the semifinals, Williams said there was nothing like being "thrown into the deep end straight away." Having come through those challenges, she thought it was the ideal season-opening tournament. "It was a great test. It showed me where my level was," Williams said, looking ahead to the Australian Open. "Im happy I was able to play both Maria and Victoria, because they brought their A games against me. I know now what I need to do for Melbourne -- I look forward to it." The years 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 favourite to claim a sixth Australian title after winning a tournament featuring six of the top 10 women. Williams has so many trophies now, she said she doesnt know where they all are -- "some are MIA" -- but that doesnt stop her from collecting more. This was her 58th, including 17 majors. Immediately after the loss, Azarenka said she hopes to face Williams again in Melbourne -- as the top two ranked players, they can only meet in the final. "I cant say Im satisfied today, but I want to take the positive, what Ive done today, and build from here towards the next week," Azarenka said. "This is the first week where you really test yourself where your game is at, and from here you can take the positives and the things that you have to work on and really go after that." Williams earned the first break in the seventh game and hit fired consecutive aces to finish off the first set in 37 minutes. She went up a break immediately in the second set before Azarenka won four straight games to take a 4-2 lead. Williams, who was comparatively silent against a screeching opponent for the second straight night, let out a scream of relief and satisfaction after hitting an overhead winner to break back in the seventh game. And she yelled and pumped her arm again after converting a break in the 11th game with a backhand down line. Serving for the championship, Williams started with two aces -- her 10th and 11th -- and then hit a service winner to set up two championship points at 40-15. She fired an unreturnable serve to finish it off. The Williams sisters were hoping to both win a WTA Tour event in the same week for the first time in 15 years, but Ana Ivanovic prevented that when she beat Venus Williams 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. It was the end of a personal drought for second-seeded Ivanovic, who claimed her 12th career singles title and her first since Bali in 2011. Venus Williams was the crowds sentimental favourite after reaching the final of her first tournament since September. After a long struggle with injury and illness, her form in Auckland supported her claim that she is fitter and healthier than she has been in years. The mens final in Brisbane on Sunday will feature two 32-year-old former No. 1s. Top-seeded Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt earned three-set semifinal victories to advance, renewing a rivalry that stretches back to the last millennium. Federer beat No. 8-seeded Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 immediately after Hewitts 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win over second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan in sweltering heat topping 40 Celsius (104 F). The pair have met 26 times dating back to 1999, with Federer leading 18-8 including 16 of the last 17. Dan Skuta Jersey . A lawmaker is hoping the buzz from California Chromes run for the Triple Crown might build support for a bill that would place the U. Akiem Hicks Jersey . Osasunas Alvaro Cejudo drove the ball onto the crossbar in the fifth minute and his team squandered several long-range strikes before he was denied one-on-one by goalkeeper Jaime Jimenez in the 50th. http://www.authenticbearsnflfansmall.co ... ersey.aspx. The 31-year-old Spain midfielder hasnt played since Madrid lost in the Copa del Rey final to Atletico Madrid in May due to back and foot injuries. Cody Whitehair Jersey . It was well worth the wait. Manning and the Denver Broncos waited eight long months, then another 33 minutes to get the season started because of a lightning storm. Danny Trevathan Jersey . The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics finished their recent trek at 3-1 on Monday in Salt Lake City when Rajon Rondo made a key jumper with 24.1 seconds remaining, as Boston held off the Utah Jazz, 107-102, at EnergySolutions Arena.LOS ANGELES -- Once he found the outside corner, everything went smoothly for Madison Bumgarner. His only hiccup led to a quick confrontation with Yasiel Puig. Bumgarner pitched eight superb innings and Brandon Crawford hit a two-run homer, leading the San Francisco Giants past the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 Friday night. "I felt better as the game went on," Bumgarner said. "I was making pitches and making adjustments. I was having a hard time getting the outside corner early on, but I got to where I could hit that spot the last two or three innings." San Franciscos 12th victory in 15 games was overshadowed, however, by the broken left thumb first baseman Brandon Belt sustained when he was hit by Paul Maholms first pitch of the second inning. Belt will be sidelined for at least six weeks, according to manager Bruce Bochy. The Giants were leading 3-0 when Puig homered to centre in the sixth, after taking a called third strike his previous time up and stranding Justin Turner at third base. As soon as Puig made contact, he flipped the bat away, walked a few feet toward first base and began a slow trot around the bases. "Honestly, I think Puig overreacted a little bit. I dont know," Dodgers teammate Scott Van Slyke said. "He felt like he had an unfair pitch thrown to him the previous time up, and then he acted like he got him back. But Puigs an emotional guy. Some people just have that fire in them when they play, and it comes out sometimes. I wouldnt necessarily say that its wrong or right. Its just that theres lots of different personalities in the world, and youve just got to learn to deal with them." Bumgarner walked toward the third base line and had a few choice words for Puig as he approached home plate. But the hostilities ended there with some quick action by plate umpire Will Little, who intercepted Bumgarner. "I was just congratulating him," Bumgarner said, tongue in cheek. "That was a really good swing. That was pretty impressive. I dont know why everybody got so mad. It escalated quickly for no reason. "I think he said, Thank you. Im not sure if he did. I dont speak Spanish very well. But its always a passionate series when you play the Dodgers, and its fun. No matter what the records are, either team could be 30 games out and its still going to be a big series just because its the Giants and Dodgers." Hanley Ramirez was the next batter and took a 1-1 pitch for a strike that had manager Don Mattingly chirping from the dugout. Little ejected Mattingly, who came running out to argue. Belt, who leads the Giants with nine homers, ran the bbases until the second inning ended but was replaced on defence by Joaquin Arias.dddddddddddd "When I looked at it, I said: Its not good. He couldnt move it, and it was just locked," Bochy said. "I had a bad feeling it was broken and that he was going to have to come out of the game. "Its the old bittersweet thing," he added. "It was a great game and a great performance by Bumgarner, so you appreciate that. But at the same time, we lost our first baseman. And thats a blow for us because of the job he does at first base and the fact that he hits in the heart of our order." Bumgarner (4-3) allowed a run and four hits with eight strikeouts en route to his second straight victory after three consecutive losses -- two of them by 2-1 scores against the Dodgers and Colorado. He is 5-1 with a 1.45 ERA in his last six starts at Dodger Stadium, and hasnt allowed more than two earned runs in any of them. "Hes good at missing just high, or just outside, or just inside," Van Slyke said. "Hes really tall and he throws hard. He has an idea of what he wants to do and his ball moves. And hes a competitor, so hes going to be tough for a lot of years." Sergio Romo pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save in as many attempts. Maholm (1-3) gave up three runs, three hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings. The left-hander is 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in his last five starts against the Giants. Maholm got out of a first-inning jam by retiring cleanup hitter Mike Morse on a double-play grounder and matched zeros with Bumgarner until the fifth. Brandon Hicks walked with one out and Crawford drove the next pitch into the right-field pavilion for his fourth homer of the season and first in 117 career at-bats against the Dodgers to that point. Dodgers reliever Brandon League escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the seventh when he fielded Hunter Pences comebacker to start a 1-2-3 double play and then retired Buster Posey on a fly to right. NOTES: Mattinglys ejection was his 13th as a manager and first this season. ... Puig extended his hitting streak to nine games, matching his longest as a rookie last season. ... Turner started at third base because of Juan Uribes sore right hamstring. ... It was the 12th time in the Dodgers last 15 meetings with San Francisco that they have scored fewer than four runs. ... Romos scoreless inning reduced the ERA of the Giants bullpen to a major league-best 1.75. ... Maholm, who has induced a major league-high 192 double-play grounders since the start of the 2006 season, hasnt had more than three strikeouts in any of his six starts this season. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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