Sports briefs | Third annual Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic takes place Nov. 9-11

November 8, 2012 

College tennis: Third Vitale classic this week

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- For the third consecutive year, the Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic will bring some of the top college tennis programs in the nation to Manatee County.

The three-day tournament will feature 16 Division I teams and counts toward each player's individual ranking.

The men's teams scheduled to compete are Arizona, Duke, Minnesota, Miami, Florida, Oklahoma State, Princeton, Virginia, USF and Pepperdine. The women's teams are defending national champion Florida, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Miami, Alabama and Memphis.

The tournament is free to the public and will take place at the Athletic Center inside Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, 7650 Legacy Blvd.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the V Foundation For Cancer Research.

"All we're asking is to make a donation toward our goal of raising $1 million," Vitale said.

The tournament will consist of men's and women's singles and doubles matches. The action begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday and includes a free clinic for kids. The tournament resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday through 7 p.m., and the women's final begins at 10 a.m. Sunday, followed by the men's final. Vitale will serve as an announcer.

For more information about the tournament, call 941-907-2255.

Tennis: Top-ranked Djokovic holds off Murray

LONDON -- In what is shaping up to be the new top rivalry in tennis, Novak Djokovic held off Andy Murray at the ATP finals.

The top-ranked Serb got the big break when he needed it late in the third set and beat Murray 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the O2 Arena.

Despite the win, Djokovic still hasn't advanced to the semifinals at the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world. Tomas Berdych beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in the late Group B match, keeping all four players alive in the tournament.

On Friday, Djokovic will face Berdych, while Murray will take on Tsonga.

ELSEWHERE -- The U.S. Tennis Association is donating $300,000 worth of supplies such as clothing, bottled water and soap, along with $100,000 in cash, to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.

NHL: Labor talks to resume Thursday

NEW YORK -- Negotiations between the NHL and the locked-out players' association ended after nearly six hours. Just as they did a night earlier, the sides agreed to get right back to the bargaining table.

Representatives for the owners and players will resume talks Thursday, marking the third straight day they will meet face-to-face. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union special counsel Steve Fehr also met alone Saturday when in-person talks restarted for the first time since Oct. 18.

The sides met for a total of about 13 hours over Tuesday and Wednesday at an undisclosed location in New York. Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA made any immediate statements after talks ended Wednesday night.

Soccer: U.S. opens final qualifying at Honduras

MIAMI BEACH -- The United States opens the final round of World Cup qualifying at Honduras on Feb. 6 and plays three of its first four games on the road.

The Americans play at Mexico on March 26 and host El Tri on Sept. 10, according to the draw.

Seeking its seventh consecutive World Cup appearance, the United States hosts Costa Rica on March 22 and then goes to Mexico four days later. The Americans are at Jamaica on June 7, host Panama four days later and are home against Honduras on June 18.

They play at Costa Rica on Sept. 6 before hosting Mexico, then host Jamaica on Oct. 11 and close at Panama four days later.

The top three teams in the hexagonal qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the fourth-place team advances to a home-and-home playoff against the Oceania champion, likely New Zealand, for a spot in the 32-nation tournament.

Golf: Ochoa has no regrets about leaving tour

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Lorena Ochoa has no regrets about leaving the LPGA Tour to devote all of her time to her family and foundation.

"I wouldn't change this for anything," Ochoa said. "I'm happy with what I'm doing. I don't see myself again on the LPGA Tour. It's a tough schedule. I'm happy having a son and hopefully our family will grow next year."

The Mexican star won 27 LPGA Tour titles before retiring at age 28 in 2010. She is back this week to play in her own Lorena Ochoa Invitational after missing the event last year before the birth of son Pedro in December. She also played in the Ladies European Tour's French Open last month, tying for 22nd.

"I'm very happy to be playing," said Ochoa, set to open tournament play Thursday at Guadalajara Country Club in a group with Ai Miyazato and Azahara Munoz. "I'm excited for tomorrow."

Bowling: Paul, Bettis, Owens set as team owners

SEATTLE -- Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and former NFL stars Jerome Bettis and Terrell Owens will serve as celebrity owners in the Professional Bowlers Association's inaugural PBA League.

The eight-team league will make its debut at Detroit's Thunderbowl Lanes in January. ESPN will televise five weeks of league competition beginning Jan. 27 and also broadcast the Elias Cup finals in April.

Each five-man team will have a designated franchise player and the other spots will be set in a draft Friday in Las Vegas.

-- Herald, staff wire reports

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