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Sports Log

Serena Williams, 40, returns to action in Wimbledon tune-up

Serena Williams, in her first tennis tournament in almost a year, has a light moment during her doubles match in Eastbourne, England.Mike Hewitt/Getty

As “What A Feeling” boomed around Devonshire Park, Serena Williams strode onto center court at Eastbourne to a standing ovation for her first competitive tennis match in nearly a year. Around 90 minutes later, fans were on their feet again, celebrating a comeback win for the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion at the Wimbledon warm-up event on England’s south coast. Williams partnered Ons Jabeur to victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova in the first round of the women’s doubles Tuesday. Williams and Jabeur recovered from losing the first set 6-2 to win the second 6-3 and then the match tiebreaker 13-11 on their third match point. “I caught some fire behind me,” the 40-year-old Williams said. “I needed that. It was good.” The win means Williams will have at least one more competitive match before playing singles at Wimbledon as a wild-card entry. Main-draw play at the All England Club starts Monday. It was at the grass-court Slam where Williams was last seen in competitive action in 2021. She was playing in the first round when she lost her footing and her right leg buckled, leading to Williams retiring from the match. With no competitive activity since then, she is ranked No. 1,204 in singles and wasn’t among the seeded players announced by Wimbledon on Tuesday. “I love tennis and I love playing otherwise I wouldn’t be here, but I also love what I do off the court,” Williams said.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal get top seeds

Novak Djokovic gets in a workout Tuesday in London.Adam Davy/Associated Press

The seedings for Wimbledon have Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the men’s draw because of the absence of Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. Top-ranked Iga Swiatek of Poland will be the top-seeded women’s player. Since 2021, the seedings for both the men’s and women’s singles have been based on the world rankings. The top-ranked Medvedev cannot take part as a result of the All England Club’s decision to not allow players from Russia or Belarus to enter the event in 2022 over the invasion of Ukraine. Medvedev is Russian. The No. 2-ranked Zverev is out because of an ankle injury. That means Djokovic and Nadal have been bumped up to being the top two seeded players and cannot now meet until the final. That wasn’t the case at the French Open last month, when Nadal beat Djokovic in the quarterfinals en route to winning a men’s-record 22nd Grand Slam title . . . Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep were among the first-round winners at the Bad Homburg (Germany) Open as Sabine Lisicki won a main-draw WTA Tour match for the first time since 2018 after long injury setbacks. Lisicki, the former Wimbledon finalist, has been plagued by repeated knee injuries and is playing with a wild card. She beat fellow German Tamara Korpatsch, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in their first-round contest for her first win in four years in a full WTA Tour event.

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GOLF

Women’s prize money has tripled in decade

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is doubling the size of its purse to $9 million, another boost to the women’s game that brings prize money for the five majors to nearly triple the amount from a decade ago. The Women’s PGA Champion starts Thursday at Congressional Country Club, which has hosted the US Open three times. The winner will get $1.35 million. The USGA signed up a presenting sponsor (ProMedica) in nearly doubling the purse of what already was the largest of the LPGA majors, $10 million that paid $1.8 million to Minjee Lee when she won at Pine Needles. That brings prize money for the five majors to $37.3 million. In 2012, the same five tournaments had combined prize money of $13.75 million. All but the US Women’s Open have corporate sponsors as part of the title.

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Nick Faldo to be replaced at CBS by Trevor Immelman

Trevor Immelman will be replacing Nick Faldo on CBS.Gregory Shamus/Getty

Nick Faldo is leaving 16 years as the lead golf analyst for CBS Sports. In his place will be another former Masters champion, Trevor Immelman, starting next year. Faldo, the three-time Masters and British Open champion, came over to CBS in 2007 as the lead announcer after having previously worked at ABC. His last broadcast on CBS will be the final round of the Wyndham Championship on Aug. 7. Immelman is only the fourth lead golf analyst for CBS in the last 50 years, following Faldo, Lanny Wadkins, and the late Ken Venturi, who spent 35 years with the network . . . NBC Sports says the final round of the US Open had a total audience delivery of 5.41 million, the most-watched final round for a US Open in the Eastern time zone since Justin Rose held off Phil Mickelson to win at Merion in 2013. This year’s edition also came down to the wire with Matt Fitzpatrick winning by one shot. Viewership peaked at 9.2 million when the last group was playing the 18th hole.

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BASKETBALL

White House helps reschedule phone call with Griner

A phone call between jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife has been rescheduled after an earlier attempt to connect on the couple’s anniversary failed because of an “unfortunate mistake,” Biden administration officials said. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the original call last weekend could not be completed because of a logistical error that officials have worked quickly to fix so that a new call can take place. The State Department and White House did not offer a date for the rescheduled call. “It was a mistake. It is a mistake that we have worked to rectify,” Price told reporters Tuesday. “The call has been rescheduled and will take place in relatively short order.” Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time WNBA All-Star, was to have spoken with her wife Cherelle on Saturday, the couple’s fourth anniversary, for the first time since her arrest in Russia in February. The call was to have been routed through the American embassy in Russia, which was to have patched the conversation through.

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Former Blazer first-rounder dead at 25

Former Purdue basketball star Caleb Swanigan has died at 25. The Allen County Coroner’s office confirmed that Swanigan died Monday of natural causes at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. The 6-foot-9-inch center was a first-round draft pick in 2017 by the Portland Trail Blazers. He also played for the Sacramento Kings. Swanigan was from Fort Wayne and attended Homestead High School before playing for the Boilermakers from 2015-2017. Swanigan was selected as The Associated Press player of the year in the Big Ten in 2017 when he averaged more than 18 points. He was a unanimous pick for both Big Ten Player of the Year and the AP All-Big Ten team . . . The Phoenix Suns hired Morgan Cato as an assistant general manager and vice president of basketball operations, becoming the first woman of color to hold an assistant GM title for an NBA franchise. Cato comes to Phoenix after spending nearly a decade with the NBA league office, where she most recently worked as the associate vice president of business operations for NBA’s league operations department.

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SOCCER

US men find their final opponents

In its final tests before the World Cup, the US men’s national soccer team will play two Qatar-bound teams, Japan and Saudi Arabia, at European venues, the US Soccer Federation announced Tuesday. The Americans, ranked No. 15 by FIFA, will play No. 23 Japan on Sept. 23 and No. 49 Saudi Arabia four days later. The first match is expected to take place in Germany, where the US team would conduct the bulk of its time before traveling to Murcia on Spain’s southeastern coast ahead of the Sept. 27 game. The venue for the Japan match has not been finalized . . . The Columbus Crew acquired Colombian forward Juan Camilo Hernandez, known as Cucho, from Watford. Terms of the contract, which runs through 2025, were not released but the Crew said it paid the largest acquisition fee in the Major League Soccer club’s history. Hernandez, 23, will join the team once he obtains obtains his visa and transfer certificate following the opening of the league’s secondary transfer window on July 7.

RUGBY

Transgender athletes barred while policy considered

Transgender athletes will be barred from women’s international rugby league matches while the sport’s governing body formulates its inclusion policy. Two days after world swimming’s governing body effectively banned transgender women from competing in women’s events, the International Rugby League said it was continuing to review and update rules about transgender participation in women’s international tournaments. It planned to use the eight-team Women’s World Cup, being staged in England from Nov. 1-19 in conjunction with the men’s Rugby League World Cup, to help develop a comprehensive policy.

SWIMMING

Kristóf Milák improves own butterfly record

Hungary’s Kristóf Milák thrilled home fans by lowering his own world record in the men’s 200 butterfly at the swimming world championships in Budapest, when American swimmers claimed another three gold medals. The 22-year-old Milák produced a stunning swim to clock 1 minute, 50.34 seconds, shaving 0.39 seconds off the previous record he set at the last worlds. American swimmer Bobby Finke also set a national record of 7:39.36 as he produced a sizzling finish to win the first gold of the evening in the men’s 800 freestyle. Ukrainian Mykhailo Romanchuk looked headed for victory but Finke, who was fourth going into the last 50 meters, swam it in only 25.93 seconds to overtake Romanchuk and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock for the victory. Nic Fink then took advantage of Adam Peaty’s injury-enforced absence to win the men’s 50 breaststroke in an American record of 26.45 seconds. Fink later claimed his second gold of the night by helping American teammates Hunter Armstrong, Torri Huske, and Claire Curzan to victory in the mixed 4x100 medley relay. It was the 10th gold for the United States at this worlds, where American swimmers have also claimed three silver and nine bronze.

BASEBALL

Texas A&M eliminates Notre Dame

Nathan Dettmer helped lead Texas A&M past Notre Dame Tuesday in Omaha.John Peterson/Associated Press

Nathan Dettmer pitched three-hit ball over seven shutout innings and Texas A&M capitalized on Notre Dame’s mistakes to beat the Fighting Irish, 5-1, in a College World Series elimination game in Omaha, Neb. The No. 5 national seed Aggies (44-19) will play Oklahoma in the Bracket 1 final. They need to beat the Sooners on Wednesday and again Thursday to reach the CWS finals this weekend. The Irish (41-17) ended the season with their most wins since 2006 and first Omaha appearance since 2002.

MISCELLANY

Cost of Tokyo Games: $13 billion

The final price tag for last year’s COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics was put at $13 billion, the organizing committee said in its final act before it is dissolved at the end of the month. The cost was twice what was forecast in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Games. However, the final price tag presented by organizers is lower than the $15.4 billion they predicted when the Olympics ended just under 11 months ago. Accurately tracking Olympic costs — who pays, who benefits, and what are and are not Games’ expenses — is an ever-moving maze. The one-year delay added to the difficulty, as did recent fluctuations in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Japanese yen . . . Amazon Prime Video announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick, the recently retired journeyman quarterback, is joining the streaming service as an analyst for its first season as the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football.” The 39-year-old Harvard product will be part of Amazon’s pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage . . . Red Bull Racing suspended Juri Vips, a junior driver from Estonia who recently competed for Hitech Grand Prix in Formula 2, after he used a racial slur while playing a video game on Twitch.