US returns to FIFA top 20 after 2-year absence: ZURICH (AP) — The United States has broken into the top 20 of the FIFA rankings for the first time in more than two years after winning last month’s Gold Cup.
The U.S. rose three places in the rankings released Thursday to No. 19, the same spot it reached in March 2011. The Americans replace No. 20 Mexico as CONCACAF’s highest placed team for the first time since 2011.
With European teams inactive last month, Spain leads an unchanged top 10. Germany is second and Colombia is No. 3.
Confederations Cup winner Brazil remains at No. 9. As host nation for next year’s World Cup, Brazil does not play qualifying matches that earn ranking points.
Ivory Coast is still Africa’s highest-ranked team, though it drops five places to No. 18.
Japan leads Asia at No. 37.
Panama, which beat Mexico in a Gold Cup semifinal, jumps 11 spots to No. 40.
America’s Cup champion Oracle forfeits ACWS titles: America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA has forfeited its overall championships from the first two seasons of the America’s Cup World Series after it was determined that its yachts were modified without the permission of the Measurement Committee.
The violation occurred when America’s Cup teams were sailing 45-foot training yachts, before they launched the 72-footers that are being sailed this summer on San Francisco Bay.
While seemingly insignificant in the big picture, the violations are another smudge on an already troubled regatta.
Syndicate CEO Russell Coutts says the international jury could penalize Oracle Team USA, but doesn’t think that’s likely.
Coutts says about five extra pounds of ballast were added to Oracle’s two boats and a boat sailed by British star Ben Ainslie, who is with Oracle for this Cup campaign.
Coutts calls the mistakes “ridiculous” and says they didn’t affect the boats’ performances.
NCAA getting out of jersey-selling business: The NCAA is getting out of the jersey-selling business.
On Thursday, NCAA President Mark Emmert acknowledged that it was “hypocritical” for the governing body to be selling jerseys of players and other college athletes on its own web site. He said it did not fit the NCAA’s own model. He said all of the items would be removed as soon as possible.
The decision comes less than a week after Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Manziel was accused of receiving money for signing autographs. That would be a violation of NCAA rules, and if proven, could jeopardize his eligibility.
USA Today reported this week that some of the items sold on an NCAA site could be searched by using the names of specific players.
Serena Williams advances in Toronto: TORONTO (AP) — Top-seeded Serena Williams advanced to the Rogers Cup quarterfinals Thursday, beating 13th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-0, 6-3.
Williams, coming off a tournament victory 2½ weeks ago in the Swedish Open, set up a match Friday against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.
Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli retired because of an abdominal injury early in the second set of her match against Rybarikova.
Rybarikova led 7-6 (5), 1-0 when the seventh-seeded Bartoli stopped playing.
Playing her first event since returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined her since her major victory in London, Bartoli was in obvious discomfort as she walked to the player bench area, where she had a trainer stretch her arm and leg.
Earlier, fourth-seeded Li Na of China fought back from a three-game deficit in the final set for a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory over Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic.
Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland also advanced to the quarterfinals, beating American Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-6 (2). Fifth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy beat Alize Cornet of France 7-5, 7-6 (3); and Romania’s Sorana Cirstea edged Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-4.
Andy Murray eliminated in Montreal: MONTREAL (AP) — Wimbledon champion Andy Murray tumbled out of the Rogers Cup on Thursday, falling 6-4, 6-3 to Lavia’s Ernests Gulbis in the third round.
The second-seeded Murray, a two-time Rogers Cup champion, was playing his second match since his Wimbledon victory. The loss ended the Scot’s winning streak at 13 matches.
Top-seeded defending champion Novak Djokovic avoided an upset in the last match, rallying to beat Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Rafael Nadal won his third round match, beating Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Nadal, the fourth-seeded Spanish star making his first tournament appearance since losing in the first round at Wimbledon, improved his ATP Tour-leading record to 45-3 — including 7-0 on hardcourts.
Tony Stewart undergoes 2nd surgery on broken leg: CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart underwent a second surgery on his broken right leg in North Carolina on Thursday and remains hospitalized under observation.
The surgery was to insert a metal rod inside the tibia. Stewart broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg Monday night in a sprint car race in Iowa. He underwent a first surgery in Iowa to clean and stabilize the injury.
Stewart is out indefinitely and Max Papis will drive his No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
Stewart-Haas Racing has not named an interim driver for beyond this weekend and said no discharge date has been decided for the 42-year-old driver.
TRACK & FIELD
IAAF to introduce 4-year sanctions in 2015: MOSCOW (AP) — Track and field’s governing body will reintroduce four-year bans for serious drug violations in 2015 and wants the World Anti-Doping Agency to deter cheats.
In a vote by acclamation at the IAAF congress, member federations backed leaders seeking stronger WADA sanctions. The International Association of Athletics Federations said it is ready to press ahead on its own if other sports refuse to toughen the sanction from two years.
The new WADA code takes effect in 2015. IAAF President Lamine Diack said Thursday that his group will move to four-year sanctions regardless of what is decided at the Nov. 12-15 World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg.