Sharapova wins 1st match on return from doping ban
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Maria Sharapova won her first match on her return from a 15-month doping ban, beating Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 in the opening round of the Porsche Grand Prix on Wednesday.
The five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 was earlier given a lukewarm welcome by 4,500 spectators, receiving a polite applause and some whistling when she entered the sold-out arena.
After a shaky start and conceding seven of the first eight points, Sharapova settled and showed flashes of her old self.
It was the Russian's first match since losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open, and her first match on clay in nearly two years.
Last year, Sharapova tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.
Hernandez hinted at suicide weeks before his death
BOSTON (AP) — Aaron Hernandez hinted about suicide weeks before he was found hanging by a bedsheet in prison last week, according to a jailhouse friend who once sought to share a cell with the former NFL star.
Lawrence Army Jr., an attorney for inmate Kyle Kennedy, said Wednesday that Hernandez told his client: "I think I'm going to hang it up."
Army said Hernandez made the remark in March, during his trial in the killings of two men in Boston in 2012. He was acquitted in the case five days before his suicide.
Kennedy, a 22-year-old serving an armed robbery sentence, didn't take the comments seriously at the time, Army said.
Hernandez had been serving life without the possibility of parole for a third murder — the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a Boston man who had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
He killed himself April 19, and funeral services were held Monday in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.
Pacquiao says Horn fight will show he's not done
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Manny Pacquiao says his July 2 world title bout with Jeff Horn is his chance to tell the boxing world "I'm not done yet."
The 38-year-old Pacquiao, an 11-time champion across eight weight divisions and now a member of the Philippines senate, had intended the WBO world welterweight title fight in Brisbane with 29-year-old school teacher Horn to be a stepping stone to a more lucrative bout with former welterweight world champion Amir Khan. But Pacquiao now says the bout gives him a chance to let the boxing world know he's still at the top.
"I want to defend my crown and prove I am still there in boxing — I am not done yet in boxing," Pacquiao told a news conference in Brisbane on Monday. "Despite my business in the office as a senator I am still handling my boxing career.
Boxing is my passion. I started when I was young — it's part of my life."
Pacquiao, who has record 59-6-2, said he is still in shape and as good as ever.
"It depends on how you discipline yourself, how you train and prepare yourself," he said. "It's a matter of discipline."
Horn had his first professional fight in 2013 and is 16-0-1 with 11 by KO.
Nadal, Murray advance to 3rd round in Barcelona Open
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Defending champion Rafael Nadal cruised past Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-1, 6-2 to reach the third round of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.
Top-seeded Andy Murray also advanced, but without having to play as Bernard Tomic withdrew before their second-round match because of a lower back injury.
Nadal, making his debut at the newly named "Rafa Nadal" center court in Barcelona, had a slow start to the second set against the 69th-ranked Brazilian, but recovered by winning the final six games to secure the victory.
The fifth-ranked Nadal is a nine-time champion at the clay-court tournament. He is coming off his 10th title at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Nadal will next play Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
The top-ranked Murray was originally going to skip the Barcelona Open but decided to play after being eliminated in the third round at the Monte Carlo Masters, when he blew a 4-0 lead in the deciding set to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Murray is trying to regain his form going into the French Open following a right elbow injury that kept him out of the Miami Open and the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
He will play 40th-ranked Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who defeated Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-2.