In Brief: Venus blows three match points in Tokyo final

TOKYO -- Top-seeded Venus Wiliams was upset by Virginie Razzano 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 Saturday in the final of the Japan Open.

Williams had three match points in the tiebreaker of the second set but couldn't finish off the fifth-seeded Razzano, who won the Guangzhou International Open last Sunday for her first WTA Tour singles title.

On the men's side, top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain defeated Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6 (3), 6-3 and will face Richard Gasquet of France in today's final.

Williams, No. 8 in the WTA rankings, was down 5-2 in the second set but fought back to tie and then broke Razzano to take a 6-5 lead. The Frenchwoman broke Williams to force a tiebreaker and then came back from 6-3 down to win it 9-7.

Williams won the first game of the third set but took a 10-minute injury timeout and came back with her right thigh wrapped.

"It started to hurt in the first set," said Williams. "I wanted to play because I wanted to win, then in the third set I couldn't get my leg up on my serve so I had to get it taped."

Both players struggled with their serves in the final set.


Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 16 rebounds in his Celtics debut in Boston's 89-85 preseason victory over Toronto on Saturday in Rome. Toronto's Andrea Bargnani, last year's top overall draft pick, played his first game in his hometown in an NBA jersey and had 13 points. ... Al Jefferson had 11 points and 17 rebounds and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Efes Pilsen 84-81 in Istanbul.

Figure Skating

Caroline Zhang and Johnny Weir helped the U.S. defeat Japan in a team competition Saturday in Yokohama, Japan. The U.S. women defeated the heavily favored Japanese, featuring world champion Miki Ando, by a total of 289.00 points to 284.90. The U.S. men outpaced Japan 362.81 to 334.48.

Ando fell on a combination and briefly stopped her performance before finishing 10 points behind world junior champ Zhang. Weir outpaced Yasuharu Nanri with a routine that featured a triple lutz.


John Cuncliffe scored twice to help CD Chivas (14-7-6) USA take sole possession of the Western Conference lead with a 3-2 victory over host Real Salt Lake on Saturday night in Major League Soccer. ... Abe Thompson scored two late goals to help FC Dallas (13-11-4) wrap up a playoff berth with a 3-1 victory over host Columbus. ... Chad Barrett scored the winning goal in host Chicago's 2-1 victory over New England. ... Manchester United beat Wigan 4-0, taking the Premier League lead for the first time this season. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals.


Samuel Peter survived three early knockdowns to pull away from Jameel McCline and keep the WBC heavyweight championship Saturday night in New York. Peter, nicknamed the "Nigerian Nightmare," lived through his own bad dream in the second and third rounds. He held on, then dominated the later rounds for a unanimous decision heartily booed by the Madison Square Garden crowd.

McCline seemed to be one solid punch away from the title in the third round. He decked Peter twice, but couldn't finish him and had little left the rest of the way.

Peter (29-1) was handed the belt by the WBC after champion Oleg Maskaev dropped out of the fight because of a back injury. McCline, who originally was supposed to be on the undercard, dropped to 38-8-3. ... On the undercard, Daniel Santos sent a steady barrage of punches directly into the face of Jose Rivera in round 8 and Rivera's corner threw in the towel with 10 seconds left in the round in a WBA super welterweight elimination fight. ...

Manny Pacquiao beat Marco Antonio Barrera for the second time Saturday night in Las Vegas, winning a gritty unanimous decision nearly four years after the Philippines' favorite son became a boxing superstar with an upset victory over Barrera. Neither fighter generated many fireworks until a strong finish in a 130-pound bout at Mandalay Bay. Earlier, Steven Luevano defended his WBO featherweight title, unanimously outpointing Antonio "T-Rex" Davis.