Weekend Sports In Brief
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic has won his record seventh Australian Open championship and a third consecutive Grand Slam title by beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the final.
The No. 1-ranked Djokovic raised his major trophy total to 15, behind only Roger Federer’s 20 and Nadal’s 17. Djokovic improved to 7-0 in finals at Melbourne Park with a remarkably dominant and mistake-free performance against Nadal.
When they met in the 2012 Australian Open final, Djokovic needed 5 hours, 53 minutes to win. This time, it lasted just a bit more than 2 hours.
Djokovic finished with 34 winners and only nine unforced errors.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka recovered after wasting three championship points and reasserted herself down the stretch to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title, edging Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night.
The victory allows the 21-year-old Osaka to become the first tennis player from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings.
Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served. But Osaka couldn’t close it out. Instead, she completely lost her way, dropping 23 of the next 27 points.
ATLANTA (AP) — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have arrived. So have Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams.
Now it’s time for them to get to work.
The teams landed in Atlanta on Sunday and will practice this week before squaring off in the Super Bowl next Sunday in the NFL’s main event.
It’s New England’s third straight Super Bowl trip and fourth in five years — and the ninth overall in the Brady-Bill Belichick era. The Patriots, who beat the then-St. Louis Rams for their first title after the 2001 season, are looking to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the sixth time, which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in the Super Bowl era.
The NFC champion Rams are back in the city where they won their only Super Bowl title in the 1999 season, when they beat Tennessee.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Indianapolis’ Eric Ebron, and the AFC beat the NFC 26-7 in steady rain in the Pro Bowl on Sunday. It was the third consecutive victory for the AFC in the NFL all-star game, all of them coming at Camping World Stadium.
The last two were played in sloppy weather, with the latest one also coming amid temperatures in the mid-50s. It was far from ideal conditions, fairly fitting considering the effort players provided. It was two-hand touch most of the day, with officials blowing plays dead at the slightest hint of contact.
The AFC led 20-0 early in the fourth quarter Sunday, looking like it might notch the first shutout in Pro Bowl history. But Dallas’ Dak Prescott found Atlanta’s Austin Hooper for a 20-yard score on fourth down with 9:09 remaining.
Mahomes completed 7 of 14 passes for 156 yards and was named the offensive Most Valuable Player. New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, who had an interception and a sack, was the defensive MVP. Each got a luxury vehicle.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Justin Rose overcame a few nervous moments early with enough key putts down the stretch for a 3-under 69 and a two-stroke victory over Adam Scott in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose had a three-shot lead shrink to a single shot with his third bogey in five holes to start the final round at Torrey Pines. He restored his lead, and then had to hold off a late charge by Scott, who birdied his last four holes for a 68. Rose finished at 21-under 267.
Rose expanded his lead at No. 1 in the world and won for the 10th time on the PGA Tour. The Englishman also won for the 10th consecutive year worldwide, including his gold medal at the Olympics in 2016.
Tiger Woods closed with a 67 to tie for 20th at 10 under in his 2018 debut.
DETROIT (AP) — Nathan Chen lived up to his own impressive standard at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Sunday, wrapping up his third consecutive national title with a sensational free skate.
Chen, the reigning world champion, finished with a score of 342.22, defeating runner-up Vincent Zhou by over 58 points. Jason Brown was third.
Chen’s free skate alone earned 228.80 points, which was higher than the total score for 14 of the 20 skaters.
Chen landed four quad jumps in his routine, one of which was in combination. When he wasn’t impressing with his jumping ability, he kept the crowd captivated with his easy, elegant skating.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Gregg Berhalter became only the third U.S. coach in the modern era to start with a win, Djordje Mihailovic and Christian Ramirez scored in their national team debuts and the Americans beat Panama 3-0 Sunday night in an exhibition between nations that started inexperienced lineups.
Walker Zimmerman also scored for the U.S., which used a roster of players all from Major League Soccer and drew just 9,040, its smallest for a home game since October 2016.
Berhalter made a surprise pick as captain, choosing defender Aaron Long in his third international appearance rather than 31-year-old midfielder Michael Bradley in his 143rd.
Seven U.S. players made debuts, including five starters — the most since in the starting lineup since Sept. 3, 1992, at Canada.