• PACKERS STILL ATOP AP PRO32 AS SEASON BEGINS: NEW YORK (AP) — Green Bay had staying power in the AP Pro32 through the preseason. Now, let’s see how long the Packers can remain the top-rated team in The Associated Press NFL power rankings.
Green Bay earned five first-place votes from a panel of 12 media members who regularly cover the league, and had 373 points overall to edge New England and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The Patriots got two first-place votes and 367 points, while the Giants were No. 1 on five ballots and totaled 363 points.
• AZARENKA EDGES ‘11 OPEN CHAMP STOSUR ON RAINY DAY: NEW YORK (AP) — So, Victoria Azarenka, what went through your mind as your high-tension, high-quality U.S. Open quarterfinal victory over defending champion Sam Stosur stretched into a third-set tiebreaker?
“You don’t want to know what I kept telling myself,” Azarenka deadpanned Tuesday. “I would have to beep that, I think.”
She went on to offer a cleaned-up version of what her thoughts had been — “Don’t be a chicken” — while cobbling together a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (5) rain-interrupted win that eliminated Stosur, put the top-seeded Azarenka in her first semifinal at Flushing Meadows and assured her of retaining the No. 1 ranking no matter what happens the rest of this week.
• SKOV SET TO RETURN FOR NO. 25 STANFORD VS. DUKE: STANFORD (AP) — Shayne Skov felt helpless at home watching Stanford stumble to a season-opening 20-17 win over San Jose State while he served a one-game suspension for a DUI arrest.
Couple that with a left knee injury in the third game at Arizona that sidelined Skov for the rest of last season, and the middle linebacker and unquestioned leader of the Cardinal defense has seen enough.
The team’s leading tackler from the 2010 season finally returns when No. 25 Stanford (1-0) hosts Duke (1-0) on Saturday night. Skov’s presence will be much needed after a dismal defensive effort and with a matchup against No. 2 Southern California looming next week.
• RODRIGUEZ: I WILL HOLD OFF CONTADOR IN VUELTA: MADRID (AP) — With the toughest stage behind him, Spanish Vuelta leader Joaquin Rodriguez believes he can resist any challenge from Alberto Contador during the final week to win his first major cycling race.
Rodriguez is 28 seconds ahead of his fellow Spaniard going into the final five legs of the 21-stage race. His confidence was further boosted by beating Contador in Monday’s grueling mountain climb.