Tomas Berdych won his seventh career title yesterday, beating defending champion Gael Monfils, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, in the Open Sud de France final in Montpellier. The top-seeded Czech broke for a 5-3 lead in the final set on a double fault from Monfils. He wrapped it up with his 12th ace. Berdych also won his only previous meeting with Monfils, four years ago in Dubai . . . Mikhail Youzhny beat Lukas Lacko, 6-2, 6-3, to win the Zagreb Indoors in his 18th career final. It was the first title for the 29-year-old Russian since St. Petersburg in 2010. Lacko reached the third round at the Australian Open as a qualifier, but was ousted by Spaniard Rafael Nadal. He had never previously advanced beyond the quarterfinals at an ATP event . . . Top-seeded Juan Monaco beat Carlos Berlocq, 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 6-1, in an all-Argentina final at the Vina del Mar (Chile) VTR Open to win his fourth ATP title.
Seattle sets sights on getting franchise
The city of Seattle has been working behind the scenes the past eight months with a hedge-fund manager to bring an NBA team back to town - possibly as early as next fall if the Sacramento Kings fail to get a satisfactory deal for a new arena, newly released documents show. Hedge-fund manager Christopher Hansen, a Seattle native who now lives in San Francisco, approached the city about his desire to buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field. Seattle hasn’t had an NBA team since 2008, when owner Clay Bennett moved the Sonics to Oklahoma City and renamed them the Thunder. The documents don’t mention how Seattle would obtain a team, but the city has reportedly been following developments in Sacramento, which is under a March 1 deadline to come up with a proposal to build an arena for the Kings . . . The Hornets are expected to sign former Duke forward Lance Thomas to a 10-day contract today. New Orleans lost forward Carl Landry to a sprained left knee during Saturday’s loss to Detroit. There is no timetable for Landry’s return.
Julia Mancuso won a super-G race for her first World Cup victory of the season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, while Lindsey Vonn skied off the course and did not finish. It was the first time two American women have won World Cup races on consecutive days since December 2006, when it was also Vonn and Mancuso. Vonn captured her milestone 50th World Cup win in a downhill on the same slope a day earlier. But she was forced to wait for her start for about three minutes while officials fixed a gate and Vonn could not hold her line after hitting a bump midway down the icy piste. She was looking for a record 18th super-G win . . . Austrian Romed Baumann held off Frenchman Alexis Pinturault in Chamonix, France, to win the World Cup super-combined race. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz was third . . . World champion Daniela Iraschko of Austria won her second straight World Cup ski jump title in Hinzenbach, Austria. Americans Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Van finished second and third . . . Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen raced past Andreas Birnbacher of Germany to win the men’s 15-kilometer mass start at a biathlon World Cup event in Oslo, Norway. Andrea Henkel of Germany won her 21st biathlon World Cup win in the women’s 12.5-kilometer mass start.
Contador finishes 98th, awaits verdict
Nearing the verdict on his Tour de France doping case, Alberto Contador finished 98th in the Mallorca (Spain) Challenge race. The Spaniard was expected back in Madrid with the Court of Arbitration for Sport delivering its ruling today on whether he will be banned after returning a positive drug test in winning the 2010 Tour. Contador, a three-time Tour champion, faces a two-year ban for testing positive for clenbuterol, a result that he says came from contaminated beef he ate during the race. The International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency challenged a Spanish cycling federation tribunal decision to exonerate Contador . . . Tom Boonen of Belgium won the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar in Doha, finishing four seconds ahead of Britain’s Adam Blythe.
Penny heads overseas to pitch in Japan
The Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League signed righthander Brad Penny to a one-year contract. Penny, 33, went 11-11 last season for the Detroit Tigers with a 5.30 ERA in 31 games. He has a 119-99 record and a 4.23 ERA over a 12-year major league career that includes stints with the Red Sox, Marlins, Dodgers, Giants, and Cardinals . . . Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (45-0-1-1) retained the WBC middleweight title Saturday night in San Antonio, earning a unanimous decision over fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio (53-6-1) . . . Carlos Condit earned the interim welterweight title and a match with champion Georges St-Pierre with a unanimous decision over Nate Diaz at UFC 143 Saturday night in Las Vegas. In other main-card bouts, Josh Koscheck got a split-decision victory over Mike Pierce, Renan Barao earned a unanimous decision win over Scott Jorgensen, and Ed Herman secured a rear-naked choke forcing Clifford Stark to tap in the second round . . . Game On Dude defeated Uh Oh Bango by 5 1/4 lengths to win the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., giving jockey Chantal Sutherland a victory over ex-fiancé Mike Smith that she was denied in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In November at Churchill Downs, Smith and Drosselmeyer overtook Sutherland and Game On Dude in the closing furlongs to win the $5 million Classic.