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Sports news briefs
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• LEIPHEIMER DEFENDS USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE TITLE: DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Nearly five months after breaking his leg in a training accident in Spain, Levi Leipheimer will begin defense of his USA Pro Cycling Challenge title Monday in hopes of claiming his first overall victory this season.

Leipheimer, who is from Santa Rosa, Calif., and rides for the Belgium-based Omega Pharma Quick-Step team, will be among the favorites in the seven-day, 683-mile race that will include 126 riders from 16 teams.

The race’s second edition, which will include more than 40,000 feet of climbing, begins with a 125.6-mile road race from Durango to Telluride. The riders will climb to Lizard Head Pass at more than 10,000 feet before a final 15-mile descent to the finish.

A motorist hit Leipheimer, a four-time top-10 Tour de France finisher, on April 1. He returned to competition in May at the Tour of California, a race he’s won three times.

• JOHN DEGENKOLB WINS 2ND STAGE OF SPANISH VUELTA: VIANA, Spain (AP) — John Degenkolb of Germany won the second stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday, while local favorite Jonathan Castroviejo kept the red leader’s jersey for the Movistar team.

Degenkolb powered in front of the pack in the final sprint to narrowly win the stage for Argos-Shimano, finishing in 4 hours, 38 minutes, 40 seconds.

On Monday, the cyclists will face the first mountain stage, a 96-mile ride from Faustino V to a summit finish in the Basque town of Eibar.


• FEDERER BEATS DJOKOVIC FOR 5TH CINCINNATI TITLE: MASON, Ohio (AP) — Roger Federer finds a lot to like about Cincinnati — the big crowds for his matches, the quiet time away from the court, the way his game seems to come together on the fast, blue courts.

Probably helps that he often takes home the trophy, too.

Make it five for Federer.

The world’s top-ranked player won a record fifth Cincinnati title Sunday, dominating second-ranked Novak Djokovic in an unprecedented way at the start of a 6-0, 7-6 (7) win for the Western & Southern Open championship.

• LI NA RALLIES TO BEAT KERBER FOR CINCINNATI TITLE: MASON, Ohio (AP) — China’s Li Na was finishing lunch when the men’s final at the Western & Southern Open ended with Roger Federer posing for photos and raising the pottery trophy for the fifth time.

She tried to imagine how it would feel.

“I was thinking, ‘OK, I really want to do the same,’” she said.

A few hours later, she did it all, and more.

Li overcame an awful first set to win her first title of the season on Sunday, beating Germany’s Angelique Kerber 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the Western & Southern Open.


• DEFRANCESCO NAMED INTERIM MANAGER OF ASTROS: HOUSTON (AP) — Tony DeFrancesco helped Houston’s Triple-A affiliate find success.

The Astros hope he can do the same for their young, struggling major league club.

DeFrancesco was chosen interim manager Sunday, a day after Brad Mills was fired.

DeFrancesco managed Oklahoma City to a 67-60 record and has the RedHawks contending for a playoff spot this season. Houston entered Sunday with the worst record in the major leagues at 39-82.

He takes over an Astros club that is the youngest in the National League at 26.5 years — and even younger than the Oklahoma City team, 27.3 years.


• PARRATTO, JOHNSON WIN AGAIN AT US NATIONALS: GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Teenagers Jessica Parratto and Steele Johnson won their second titles in two days Sunday during the final day of the U.S. national diving championships.

Parratto, the 18-year-old Indianapolis diver who won the women’s 10-meter platform Saturday, teamed with 17-year-old Anna James of Midland, Texas, to win the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform for the first time.

The 16-year-old Johnson, the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform title winner Saturday, added his first men’s 10-meter platform championship Sunday in a runaway. He posted four dives of 80 points or better, including a final-round best of 99.00 on a back 3 1/2 somersault tuck.

Parratto and James took the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform title with a score of 311.16 points. Sydney Couch of Indianapolis and Lacey Houser of Danville, Ind., were second at 277.59; and Cheyenne Cousineau of Temperance, Mich., and Samantha Bromberg of Bexley, Ohio, finished third at 275.31.