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Wimbledon: Serena, Venus Williams win doubles; 2-trophy day for Serena

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AP

Wimbledon: Serena, Venus Williams win doubles; 2-trophy day for Serena

LONDON -- Serena Williams is leaving Wimbledon with two trophies, teaming with her older sister Venus to win a women's doubles final that began a little more than 3 hours after the singles final ended Saturday.

The American siblings won their sixth doubles championship at the All England Club and 14th as a pair at all Grand Slam tournaments by beating fifth-seeded Timea Babos of Hungary and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4.

Earlier Saturday, also on Centre Court, Serena collected her 22nd Grand Slam singles title with a straight-set victory over Angelique Kerber in that final.

"I had just enough time to change and get my ankles re-taped," Serena said about going from one match to the other. "But there was so much adrenaline. I didn't want to cool down too much."

Venus sat in the guest box during the singles final.

"Watching Serena earlier was so amazing, and I was so into that. And then you have to re-set yourself and say, `OK, we've got to play a match and we're going to have to try to win,'" Venus said during a joint interview with the BBC after the doubles. "So she brought the energy from Game 1 and that really brought me up, too."

The Williams sisters also won doubles titles at Wimbledon in 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2012. Each time, one or the other also won the singles championship, with Serena doing it in 2002, 2009 and 2012 in addition to this year.

They're now 14-0 in major doubles finals. But they were unseeded this time because they play doubles so infrequently, and their most recent Grand Slam title before Saturday had come four years ago at the All England Club. Until playing at the French Open in May, they hadn't even entered a doubles draw at any major tournament since 2014.

They're planning to compete in doubles, in addition to singles, at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month. They already have won three gold medals in doubles, at the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Summer Games.

When they were asked during the BBC interview which one is in charge of their doubles team, Serena immediately pointed toward Venus and said with a laugh, "She's definitely the boss."

And Venus said: "Well, I'm the older sister, so it kind of falls on me. But (there are) different times on the court that we both take over. So whatever the team needs, it kind of happens organically. That's the best kind of team."

Shvedova, who lost to Venus in the singles quarterfinals this week, was trying to win her third Grand Slam doubles title, after teaming with Vania King for trophies at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010. Babos has never won a major doubles trophy; she was the runner-up with Kristina Mladenovic at Wimbledon in 2014.

In men's doubles, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-3 to win their first Wimbledon title. It was the first all-French Grand Slam men's doubles final of the Open era.

The victory gives Mahut a happier memory from the grass-court tournament where he lost the longest match in tennis history, 70-68 in the fifth set against John Isner in the first round of singles in 2010.

"We talk a lot about this match already. I'm very proud of it," Mahut said, referring to the contest that lasted more than 11 hours, spread over three days. "But now it's something different. Now I can come in the press conference as a Wimbledon champion. It's great."

This is the second major title together for the top-seeded team of Mahut and Herbert, who won the U.S. Open last year.

They're only the second pair of Frenchmen to earn the doubles trophy at the All England Club in the Open era, which began in 1968. Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra won Wimbledon in 2007.

Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin won the 2014 French Open doubles championship.

Mahut knows Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin rather well, having won ATP doubles titles with each of them in the past. Mahut and Benneteau even had success together as teens, collecting seven junior doubles titles in 1999.

Supreme Court gives go-ahead on sports betting in New Jersey

Supreme Court gives go-ahead on sports betting in New Jersey

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.

One research firm estimated before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.

"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.

The court's decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state. Then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said after arguments in the case in December that if justices sided with the state, bets could be taken "within two weeks" of a decision. On Monday, after the ruling was announced, Christie tweeted that it was a "great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions."

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy shared Christie's excitement in a press release Monday.

"I am thrilled to see the Supreme Court finally side with New Jersey and strike down the arbitrary ban on sports betting imposed by Congress decades ago," he said.

“New Jersey has long been the lead advocate in fighting this inherently unequal law, and today’s ruling will finally allow for authorized facilities in New Jersey to take the same bets that are legal in other states in our country.

"Today’s victory would not have been possible without the incredible bipartisan effort from so many in our state, particularly former Governor Christie and former State Senator Lesniak. I look forward to working with the Legislature to enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.”

It's possible that the first to market with sports betting in New Jersey will be a racetrack at the Jersey shore. Monmouth Park has already set up a sports book operation and has previously estimated it could take bets within two weeks of a favorable Supreme Court ruling.

Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, said his Atlantic City casino will "absolutely" offer sports betting once it can get it up and running. "It's been a long time coming," he said.

More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey, which argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed the law barring states from authorizing sports betting. New Jersey said the Constitution allows Congress to pass laws barring wagering on sports, but Congress can't require states to keep sports gambling prohibitions in place.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling is a win for New Jersey and the rest of the country," New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. said in a statement. "PASPA was clearly unconstitutional, and the ban on sports betting has now rightfully been rejected by the Court. I have long believed that New Jersey should have the opportunity to proceed with sports betting. Now that the Supreme Court has struck down this unlawful and confusing law, it is time for Congress to move the GAME Act forward to ensure that consumer protections are in place in any state that decides to implement sports betting.”

Last year, Pallone introduced the GAME Act, allowing states to legalize sports betting and online gambling if protections are also in place. The GAME Act could now act as the legal blueprint for states to adopt sports betting.

All four major U.S. professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the federal government had urged the court to uphold the federal law. In court, the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball had argued that New Jersey's gambling expansion would hurt the integrity of their games. Outside court, however, leaders of all but the NFL have shown varying degrees of openness to legalized sports gambling.

The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year.

New Jersey has spent years and millions of dollars in legal fees trying to legalize sports betting at its casinos, racetracks and former racetracks. In 2012, with voters' support, New Jersey lawmakers passed a law allowing sports betting, directly challenging the 1992 federal law which says states can't "authorize by law" sports gambling. The four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued, and the state lost in court.

In 2014, New Jersey tried a different tactic by repealing laws prohibiting sports gambling at casinos and racetracks. It argued taking its laws off the books was different from authorizing sports gambling. The state lost again and then took the case to the Supreme Court.