Sharapova overcomes rain to repeat at Italian Open

Maria Sharapova successfully defended her Italian Open title Sunday in Rome, beating Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a wild match twice interrupted by rain that turned the red clay into mud.

“The match was a joke,” Li said. “It’s tough to play in such heavy rain, and then you go and rest for two hours and then play again in heavy rain.”

The men’s final was postponed, forcing Novak Djokovic to wait until today to defend his title against Rafael Nadal.

TEAM WORLD CUP: Andy Roddick and Ryan Harrison lost singles matches, giving Argentina an unassailable 2-0 lead over the United States in the eight-nation event at Duesseldorf, Germany.


NATIONWIDE: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led 209 of 250 laps and claimed his third straight win at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

Stenhouse picked up his third victory of the season and extended his points lead to 28 over Elliott Sadler, who finished second.

Michael McDowell was third, followed by rookie Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch.

INDYCAR: On an otherwise ho-hum day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, nine cars made the field on their first attempt, ending any potential last-minute drama and assuring Sunday’s race will start with a full field of 33 cars for the 64th consecutive year.

For the first time since 2004, there were no bump attempts — taking away the intrigue of last year’s enthralling finish when Marco Andretti bumped his way into the race by knocking out teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay on the final four-lap qualifying attempt.

OXFORD PLAINS: Ben Ashline of Pittston earned his first American Canadian Tour victory in the Armed Forces 150 as Oxford Plains Speedway opened its season.

Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, N.H., finished second, followed by Jeff White of Winthrop, Brent Dragon of Milton, Vt., and Austin Theriault of Fort Kent.

Other winners were Skip Tripp in Strictly Stock, Darrell Moore in Mini Stock, Mike Blue and Josh Childs in Outlaws, Mike Ward in Rebels, Corey Williams in Trucks, Dottie Patria in Ladies and Bill Grover in Renegades.


WNBA: Seimone Augustus scored 19 points to lead the Minnesota Lynx before leaving with an injury to her ribs, and the defending WNBA champions didn’t let up in a 105-83 season-opening victory over the visiting Phoenix Mercury.

Tina Charles scored 18 of her 25 points in the second half, and the Connecticut Sun overcame an early double-digit deficit to beat the visiting New York Liberty, 92-77.


TOUR OF CALIFORNIA: Eight months after breaking his leg in a training accident, Dutchman Robert Gesink sealed his overall victory by finishing in the main field in the final stage from Beverly Hills to downtown Los Angeles.

Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the 42.6-mile stage with a late burst to take his fifth win of the eight-stage event.

GIRO D’ITALIA: Matteo Rabottini of Italy edged Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez to win the mountainous 15th stage into Lecco, Italy, while Rodriguez took back the overall lead from Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals scored two goals and had an assist as Russia routed Slovakia 6-2 to win the gold medal at Helsinki.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara scored both goals for Slovakia.

— From staff and news services