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Sarkisian: USC looking into Shaw's heroic story

LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian says the school is investigating defensive back Josh Shaw's claim that he injured both of his ankles jumping off a balcony to save his nephew from drowning.

Sarkisian said USC has received several calls contradicting Shaw's story about the circumstances leading to his two high ankle sprains. Shaw's story was told in a detailed post on the Trojans' website Monday hailing the team captain's heroism, but Sarkisian acknowledged USC isn't exactly sure what happened.

"We're looking at it," Sarkisian said after practice Tuesday morning. "Josh is adamant with what occurred, and we'll continue to vet some of the other stories that have come across our desk or across our phones, and see where we can go from there."

Lt. Andy Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department also said Tuesday afternoon that a man named Joshua Shaw was mentioned - but not as a suspect - in a report involving a Saturday night break-in at a downtown apartment building.

Sarkisian said he had "no history to not believe Josh and his story," but acknowledged the situation was increasingly murky. The first-year USC coach declined to discuss the discrepancies in detail, or the identity of the callers who contradicted the story. Shaw, a fifth-year senior, wasn't made available to reporters, and he didn't return a phone call.

Shaw apparently told the school he was at a family party in Palmdale, California, when he saw his 7-year-old nephew, Carter, struggling in a pool. According to the website post, Shaw jumped from a second-story balcony onto concrete before dragging himself into the pool and rescuing his nephew, who doesn't know how to swim.

Although Shaw's injuries aren't expected to keep him out for the season, Sarkisian still wants to know exactly how they happened.

"I think it's important to know your players," Sarkisian said. "Josh Shaw has been a good leader for us. He's given me no reason not to believe what he has told us that occurred, but we do need to know. I think it's important to know in the direction we're headed."

In another layer to the confusion, Neiman said LAPD officers answering to a report of a woman screaming in a downtown apartment complex Saturday interviewed a woman inside and several witnesses. USC is on the south end of downtown.

"There is a mention of a Joshua Shaw in this report but not in terms of him being a suspect," Neiman said. "To make any link at this point would be premature."

The woman told officers that someone had pried open a window, entered the third-floor apartment and fled, but nothing was taken, he said.

"The victim acknowledged that she had a relationship with a Mr. Shaw," Neiman added in an email.

The 15th-ranked Trojans open their season Saturday at home against Fresno State.

Shaw, a starting cornerback, is widely regarded as a solid teammate who leads by example, although several Trojans recalled a handful of fiery in-game speeches from Shaw last season. The Florida transfer is a key component of USC's secondary, considered one of the nation's best groups.

Shaw had four interceptions while starting 14 games last season, his second with the Trojans. He has played both safety and cornerback, moving around a defense with little depth due to NCAA sanctions.

Shaw is out indefinitely, but Sarkisian said X-rays and MRI exams on the defensive back's ankles all showed no structural damage. Chris Hawkins and Kevon Seymour will fill in for Shaw during his absence, with freshman Adoree Jackson likely serving as the third cornerback.

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:51:00 +0000
Man United signs Angel Di Maria for $99 million

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United broke the British transfer-fee record by signing Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid for 59.7 million pounds ($99 million) on Tuesday, extending a summer spending spree that was sparked by its most disappointing season in a generation.

The 26-year-old Di Maria joined on a five-year contract, taking United's spending to about 130 million pounds ($215 million) in the summer transfer window as England's most successful club seeks to revive its fortunes under new manager Louis van Gaal.

Di Maria was one of Madrid's key players last season when the Spanish team became European champion for a 10th time, but rejected the offer of a new contract during the offseason and asked to leave.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for," Di Maria said. "Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success and I am impressed by the vision and determination everyone has to get this club back to the top - where it belongs. I now just cannot wait to get started."

Di Maria's transfer fee breaks the previous British record of 50 million pounds (then $81 million), set in 2011 when Fernando Torres joined Chelsea from Liverpool. Four players - Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and James Rodriguez - have cost more than Di Maria in world football, while Zinedine Zidane moved from Juventus to Madrid for a similar fee in euro terms in 2001.

"Angel is a world-class midfielder but most importantly he is a team player," Van Gaal said. "There is no doubting his immense natural talent. He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defense.

"His dribbling skills and his ability to take on and beat opponents are a joy to watch. He is an excellent addition to the team."

The left-footed Di Maria, who can play anywhere across the midfield, will provide United with an injection of pace and technical ability in that area. Both attributes were lacking last season under David Moyes, when the team slumped to a seventh-place finish in the Premier League, and in the first two games of this season under Van Gaal.

It is also a statement by United that the club can attract one of the world's most talented players despite not being in the Champions League this season. United isn't even playing in the Europa League.

Critics say Van Gaal hasn't addressed the team's biggest weakness - a defense that lost three pillars in Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra this summer and has looked vulnerable in a 2-1 home loss to Swansea and a 1-1 draw at Sunderland in the two games so far in the Dutchman's reign.

But it is the kind of marquee signing United fans have been craving. The prospect of Di Maria linking up with attacking trio Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata is an enticing one as the team bids to return to the league's top four and get back in the Champions League.

Di Maria was man of the match in last season's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid and one of Argentina's best players at the World Cup in Brazil until he hurt his thigh in the quarterfinal win over Belgium, forcing him to miss the semifinal and final.

He joined Real Madrid from Benfica in 2010, when he was an out-and-out winger. At Madrid last season, coach Carlo Ancelotti also played him as a central midfielder. Under contract until 2018 at Madrid, Di Maria faced increased competition in midfield following the signings of Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, and had been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Left back Luke Shaw, central midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Marcos Rojo are the other players to have moved to Old Trafford this summer in deals worth around 70 million pounds.

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:40:00 +0000
American Bellis, 15, upsets Cibulkova at US Open

NEW YORK (AP) American teen CiCi Bellis became the youngest player to win a U.S. Open match since 1996 - almost three years before she was born - when she stunned Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova.

The 15-year-old Bellis rallied from down a break in the third set for a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 first-round victory Tuesday over the 12th-seeded Cibulkova. With an overflow crowd at a cozy side court roaring, she broke Cibulkova's serve to clinch the match.

"I never thought I'd come out like this," she said in an on-court interview.

Anna Kournikova was also 15 when she won at the U.S. Open in 1996.

Bellis' title at the USTA Girls' 18s National Championship earned her a wild card into her first tour-level main draw. The Californian was the youngest champion of that event since Lindsay Davenport also won it at 15 in 1991.

When Tuesday's match was over, Bellis ran across the court to hug members of her cheering section. She's the youngest American to win at the U.S. Open since a 15-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez in 1986.

Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova fared far better than the last time she came to New York after winning at the All England Club. In 2011, she lost in the first round; on Tuesday, she beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-0.

The player Kvitova defeated in the Wimbledon final, Eugenie Bouchard, was back to her winning ways in her return to the Grand Slam stage.

The seventh-seeded Bouchard routed Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-1. The last time she played at a major tournament, the 20-year-old made history: the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final.

In the Wimbledon title match, though, she was swept away by Kvitova 6-3, 6-0, and things didn't go much better in her three hard-court tuneups for the U.S. Open. Bouchard won just one of her four matches, including an upset loss in her opener in her home tournament in Montreal.

But against the 117th-ranked Govortsova, she had little trouble. Govortsova, who has been ranked as high as 35th, had won just two main draw WTA matches this year.

Ana Ivanovic was feeling good about her game coming into the U.S. Open, and it showed Tuesday. The eighth-seeded Serb beat American Alison Riske 6-3, 6-0. Ivanovic has won 48 matches this year, more than anyone else on tour.

The 2008 French Open champion has struggled to get back to that level but finally seems to be inching closer. She returned to the top 10 this month for the first time in more than five years.

The 24-year-old Riske made a breakthrough at last year's U.S. Open, reaching the fourth round after an upset of Petra Kvitova. She reached a career-high ranking of No. 40 this summer.

Samantha Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champ, also quickly dispatched a young American, beating Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-4. The 49th-ranked Davis fell to 0-3 at her home Grand Slam event.

Svetlana Kuznetsova lost her first-round U.S. Open match for the first time since 2005, the year she was the tournament's defending champion. Kuznetsova, seeded 20th this time, was beaten 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3) by 82nd-ranked Marina Erakovic of New Zealand.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams play the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams faces American teen Taylor Townsend, who's making her U.S. Open debut.

John Isner, a former top American college player, beat this year's top American college player. The 13th-seeded Isner won 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (2) against Marcos Giron, who earned his first spot in a Grand Slam tournament when he won the NCAA title for UCLA in May.

Fellow American Sam Querrey improved to 3-9 in five-set matches with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez.

Another American, Jack Sock, retired from his match because of a right calf injury. Sock was trailing 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Pablo Andujar of Spain when he decided he couldn't continue.

Fourth-seeded David Ferrer beat Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Tenth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan cruised to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over American Wayne Odesnik, showing no apparent effects from a toe injury that hampered his preparations. The 176th-ranked Odesnik earned a wild card into the U.S. Open, his first appearance in five years. He served a yearlong ban after pleading guilty for importing human growth hormone into Australia.

Victor Estrella of the Dominican Republic earned his first Grand Slam victory at age 34, beating Igor Sijsling 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Estrella hadn't played in a major tournament until this year.

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:48:00 +0000
Donovan to play final match for US team in Oct.

CARSON, Calif. (AP) Landon Donovan says he will make his final appearance for the U.S. national team Oct. 10 in a friendly against Ecuador.

Donovan announced the plan Tuesday.

Donovan is the top scorer in U.S. history with 57 goals and 58 assists in 156 appearances, but he wasn't chosen for his fourth World Cup roster earlier this summer by coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Earlier this month, the 32-year-old Donovan announced he will retire from the LA Galaxy after the season. The five-time MLS champion is the North American league's career goals leader.

The U.S. team will face Ecuador at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Klinsmann expressed excitement about Donovan's final appearance in a post on his Twitter account.

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:36:00 +0000
UNC probing report of alleged hazing incident

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina is investigating a report of an alleged hazing altercation that left a walk-on receiver with a possible concussion.

"We are aware of an incident involving members of the UNC football team that took place earlier this month," team spokesman Kevin Best said in a statement Tuesday. "We take this allegation seriously and the university is conducting a thorough review."

The statement was released in response to a Yahoo Sports report which stated that the alleged hazing involved several players and resulted in redshirt freshman Jackson Boyer being injured. Yahoo Sports reported the incident occurred in Boyer's room at the hotel where the team stayed for preseason camp.

Boyer is from Chapel Hill. His father, Rob, declined to comment when reached by Yahoo Sports.

The school did not identify any players it is investigating and did not confirm it was a hazing incident. Best declined to reveal specifics of the incident in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday evening, though he said Boyer has been practicing with the team.

The No. 23 Tar Heels open their third season under Larry Fedora on Saturday night against Liberty. It marks the first time UNC has opened the season ranked in the Top 25 since 2010.

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:51:00 +0000

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