Serena Williams lost to an opponent ranked outside the top 100 for the first time in eight years, beaten by Shelby Rogers 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in the Top Seed Open quarterfinals in Lexington, Ky. Rogers took six of the last eight points after trailing, 3-1, in the tiebreaker. She is No. 116 and picked up only her third career victory over a top-10 opponent. Rogers also reached her first WTA semifinal since 2016. Need to go even further back in the record books to find this sort of tournament exit for former No. 1 Williams: The owner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles hadn’t bowed out against someone so low in the rankings since No. 111 Virginie Razzano stunned her at the 2012 French Open. “It’s good to know,” Williams said, “I can play a lot, lot, lot better.” She’ll want to do so soon: The U.S. Open begins Aug. 31. Later Friday, 16-year-old American Coco Gauff reached her second WTA semifinal with quite a comeback. One point from trailing by a set and two breaks, Gauff won 10 of the last 11 games to eliminate No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Five officials opt out for 2020
Line judge Jeff Bergman, the NFL’s longest-serving on-field official was among five who have opted to take a leave of absence for the 2020 season. Entering his 29th year, Bergman was joined by back judge Steve Freeman (20th year), a former standout with the Bills who is part of the league’s only father-son duo in the officials ranks, with his son Brad, a back judge. Also opting out are field judges Greg Gautreaux and Joe Larrew and back judge Tony Steratore . . . All-Pro tight end George Kittle officially signed his five-year, $75 million extension with the 49ers, the richest contractat the position . . . The Saints placed All-Pro kick returner/receiver Deonte Harris on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. A second-year pro, Harris set the NCAA all-division career record for touchdown returns (14) at Assumption College.
30 positive football cases at Rutgers
In his first conference call since the Big Ten decided not to play football this fall, coach Greg Schiano said his program has had at least 30 football players test positive for COVID-19 since the team returned to campus in mid June. He said the the majority of the positive tests came in the past three weeks after the team suspended activity following a report of six positives. There were only four positive tests the first six weeks . . . The NCAA denied the waiver for immediate eligibility of Virginia Tech redshirt junior running back Raheem Blackshear, a January transfer from Rutgers . . . Former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart have contributed a total of $500,000 to an athletic department program focused on diversity and social justice . . . Maine Maritime Academy is suspending its Division III football program indefinitely while the administration reviews the overall financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon programs and the college’s operations. Athletics programs for the fall season were suspended in July.
Cheptegei sprints to 5,000 world record
In Monaco, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei broke a 16-year-old world record to win the men’s 5,000 meters in 12 minutes, 35.36 seconds. The 2019 world champion in the 10,000, he was 1.99 seconds inside the 12:37.35 set by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia in 2004 . . . In the WNBA, DeWanna Bonner had 19 points and nine rebounds, Alyssa Thomas added 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists and the Connecticut Sun held off the Chicago Sky, 77-74 . . . Team Penske struggled with speed throughout Fast Friday, the day IndyCar grants a horsepower boost in advance of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500. Marco Andretti topped 233 miles per hour to lead a brigade of Honda-powered cars to the top of the speed chart. Conor Daly, who had the lone Chevrolet inside the top 10, was second fastest behind Andretti, and the entire fleet of Roger Penske’s cars slogged around Indianapolis Motor Speedway . . . With four goals in the first half hour and four more in the last half hour, Bayern Munich humiliated Barcelona 8-2 in Lisbon to reach the Champions League semifinals for the second time in three years . . . The Michigan High School Athletic Association moved the football season to next spring but said other fall sports would proceed as scheduled during the coronavirus pandemic.