Tuesday's Sports In Brief - NBC Sports

Tuesday's Sports In Brief
September 4, 2013, 3:54 am

TENNIS

NEW YORK (AP) From an ace on the first point to a stinging return on the last, Serena Williams was close to perfect in the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Tuesday.

The score said it all: 6-0, 6-0.

Williams is looking better with each match at the year's last Grand Slam tournament. With two more wins she'll earn a fifth title at Flushing Meadows and 17th major championship overall.

The No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Williams shut out 18th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, winning 53 of 71 points and dominating pretty much every statistical category Tuesday night. The first set took all of 19 minutes. The second was slower, lasting 33 minutes, but no less lopsided.

In men's action, defending champion Andy Murray overcame some rough spots to defeat 65th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in a windy night match. The third-seeded Murray reached the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows for the third consecutive year.

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OLYMPICS

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - With three major votes on the agenda, Olympic leaders begin weeklong meetings on Wednesday that will bring a close to Jacques Rogge's 12-year reign as IOC president.

The International Olympic Committee convenes in Buenos Aires to choose a host city for the 2020 Games, elect Rogge's successor and add a sport to the 2020 lineup.

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PRO FOOTBALL

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing signed a six-year contract extension.

A person familiar with negotiations confirmed the deal Tuesday night. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not made an announcement.

The deal is worth $55.6 million, with $21 million guaranteed.

Cushing was in the last year of the deal he signed as a rookie in 2009. The 26-year-old linebacker returned to the field this summer after sustaining a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 of last season.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Four former NFL players sued the league and its helmet maker, claiming they hid information about the dangers of brain injury. They want medical care for past, current and future NFL players.

The ex-players - Jimmy Williams, Rich Mauti, Jimmy Keyes and Nolan Franz - filed the federal lawsuit in New Orleans on Sunday.

Last week, the NFL tentatively agreed to pay $765 million to past players with health problems that can be caused by concussions, but some said the amount should have been more.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Clemson surged to its highest ranking in The Associated Press poll in 25 years after the Tigers won the biggest game of the opening weekend of the college football season.

Clemson is No. 4 in the first regular-season Top 25, following its 38-35 victory against Georgia. The Tigers received one-first place vote and have their best showing in the poll since Sept. 12, 1988, when they were No. 3.

Alabama remains No. 1 and received 58 of 60 first-place votes from the media panel after beating Virginia Tech 35-10 to start the season.

No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Ohio State flip-flop spots from the preseason rankings. The Buckeyes receive one first-place vote. Stanford is No. 5.

No. 20 Washington and No. 23 Baylor move into the rankings.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - No. 7 Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel didn't speak to the media until late November last year because of coach Kevin Sumlin's ban on freshman talking to reporters.

Now he's a sophomore and a Heisman Trophy winner and he's once again being kept from the media. He has served his half-game NCAA suspension and played his first game for the Aggies, but hasn't spoken publicly since SEC media days this summer.

Sumlin says it isn't the right time for Manziel to talk, but that he will talk at some point this year.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly reversed fields on Tuesday, calling the Fighting Irish series against Michigan "a great and historic rivalry."

The proclamation in the opening statement during his weekly news conference was contrary to what he said during a teleconference Sunday, when he said: "I really haven't seen it as one of those historic, traditional Notre Dame rivalries," going on to call it a "big regional game."

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PRO BASKETBALL

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix Suns and Michael Beasley reached an agreement to terminate the contract of the troubled forward.

The move Tuesday will cost the franchise $7 million, a $2 million savings from what Beasley would have been due had he simply been waived. It also represents a significant reduction in what the hit on the team's salary cap would have been.

Beasley was arrested a month ago in suburban Scottsdale on charges of felony marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. It was the latest in a series of incidents involving the drug that have plagued his NBA career after he was selected as the No. 2 overall draft pick out of Kansas State in 2008.

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) - Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger pleaded not guilty Tuesday to domestic violence-related charges after allegedly repeatedly pinning his girlfriend to a bed and the floor.

Bail for Sullinger, 21, was set at $5,000 after his plea on charges including assault and battery and intimidation of a witness.

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BASEBALL

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (AP) - Cleveland Indians two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez pleaded no contest and was convicted Tuesday of misdemeanor drug abuse for marijuana shipped to his home in the family dog's name.

Perez withdrew his not guilty plea in Rocky River Municipal Court outside Cleveland and was found guilty and fined $250. He also was placed on probation for one year and was ordered to speak to youngsters about drugs.

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates activated Jason Grilli from the disabled list Tuesday, and the All-Star knows he has some work to do before reclaiming his spot as the team's closer.

The 36-year-old right-hander had been on the DL since straining the right flexor tendon in his pitching arm during a 6-5 victory over Washington on July 22. He had been on a minor-league rehab assignment before being recalled.

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AUTO RACING

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) - An upbeat Tony Stewart views his broken right leg as "a small bump in the road" and believes he's on pace to return to racing in time for next year's Daytona 500.

The three-time NASCAR champion made his first appearance Tuesday since his Aug. 5 injury in a sprint car crash in Iowa. He had two surgeries on a broken tibia and fibula and has been homebound for almost a month.

Stewart used a wheelchair to get around Stewart-Haas Racing before sliding into a chair on the stage for his news conference.

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SWIMMING

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - After four unsuccessful attempts, U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad says she was better-prepared for jellyfish this time as she became the first swimmer to go from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

The 64-year-old waded ashore Monday in Key West after swimming 110 miles.

Nyad told NBC's "Today" show Tuesday that, unlike in previous attempts, she had a jellyfish expert with her as she made the swim. She also had a mask that - while making it harder to breathe - protected her from jellyfish stings that helped end previous attempts to make the swim.

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