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Stephens beats Osaka

In a match between the last two U.S. Open champions, Sloane Stephens came out on top in Singapore. The 2017 champion beat Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 Monday at the WTA Finals, the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world. Both players are making their debut appearances at the tournament, but Stephens appeared to be more composed while Osaka, who became the first Japanese citizen to win a Grand Slam title last month in New York, never seemed comfortable. Both players struggled to hold serve. Osaka was broken on seven of 19 break-point opportunities, while Stephens was broken on four of 12. Osaka continually showed her frustration during the match. When she failed to capitalize on four break points in the fourth game of the second set, she made a visible shrugging gesture with both hands. Kiki Bertens, who qualified for the draw when No. 1 Simona Halep withdrew with a herniated disk in her back, fought back to beat top seed Angelique Kerber 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.


Garcia wins in 54

Sergio Garcia won his third Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Monday, finishing the rain-shortened European Tour event four shots ahead of Shane Lowry in Sotogrande, Spain. Garcia shot a 2-under 69 for a 12-under 201 total in the 54-hole tournament at the Real Club Valderrama. Lowry shot a 66 in the final round. Garcia had a three-shot lead before the turn when stormy conditions suspended play Sunday. He had three birdies and a bogey when play resumed Monday, enough to add to his Valderrama titles in 2011 and 2017. Lowry was as close as one shot off the lead after a round that included seven birdies. His title chances ended with a double bogey at the par-3 15th hole. Tournament officials reduced the event to 54 holes on Saturday after bad weather had forced several delays.

NBC hires Azinger

NBC Sports is hiring Paul Azinger as its lead golf analyst with hopes he can deliver his own brand of sharp, candid observations that made Johnny Miller such a strong presence in the broadcast booth for three decades. Miller is retiring. His last tournament will be the Phoenix Open the first weekend in February. Azinger already has a steady voice in golf from 10 years at ABC and ESPN, and the past three years at Fox Sports. NBC Sports will allow Azinger to retain his role at Fox for the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open. Azinger turns 59 in January.


Coach: Peterson stays

First-year coach Steve Wilks emphatically said the Arizona Cardinals are not going to trade star cornerback Patrick Peterson. Wilks' comment Monday came moments after a report via Twitter that said Peterson had asked the Cardinals to trade him by the Oct. 30 deadline. "We're not trading Patrick," Wilks said. "That's out of the question." The tweet by ESPN's Adam Schefter was posted after Peterson had left the Arizona locker room after Monday's practice. The cornerback, a first-round draft pick out of LSU who has made the Pro Bowl in each of his seven NFL seasons, usually speaks to the media Thursdays.

Bortles remains starter

The Jacksonville Jaguars are sticking with Blake Bortles as the team's starting quarterback. Coach Doug Marrone made the announcement Monday, one day after benching Bortles early in the third quarter of a 20-7 loss to Houston. Marrone said he "spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them Blake will be our team's starting quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win." Bortles fumbled on Jacksonville's third play in each half, leading to 10 points for the Texans and prompting Marrone to switch to Cody Kessler. Marrone said after the game he would open up the QB job for the second time in as many years. Marrone also benched Bortles in the 2017 preseason, only to give him back the job nine days later. The Jaguars (3-4) have lost three in a row and four of five.


Internship worth $1M

Former Syracuse recruit Darius Bazley, who opted to forgo college to play in the NBA's development league before entering the NBA Draft, has landed a job as an intern for New Balance. The New York Times reports the 18-year-old Bazley signed in May with agent Rich Paul, who arranged for the 6-9 forward from Cincinnati to work for the athletic equipment company for the first three months of 2019. Paul, who also has LeBron James, John Wall and Ben Simmons among his NBA clients, told the newspaper the internship is part of a multiyear shoe contract that will pay Bazley at least $1 million and up to $14 million if Bazley reaches performance incentives written into the contract. New Balance hasn't marketed basketball shoes since the 1990s. Bazley, who decided not to play in the development league, is the first athlete signed to promote the company's re-entry into the basketball shoe market. Bazley was ranked No. 18 among national recruits for the 2018 class by Rivals.


Carruth a free man after 18 years

Rae Carruth is a free man.

The former NFL wide receiver was released from prison Monday after serving more than 18 years for conspiring to murder the mother of his unborn child.

The Carolina Panthers’ 1997 first-round draft pick was released from Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, N.C., after completing his sentence of 18 to 24 years.

Carruth did not speak to reporters as he left the prison.

He was found guilty of orchestrating a plot to kill Cherica Adams on Nov. 16, 1999, in Charlotte, N.C., to avoid paying child support. Adams was shot four times while driving her car but managed to make a 911 call that helped implicate Carruth.

Adams went into a coma and died less than a month after the shooting. The child she was carrying, Chancellor Lee Adams, was delivered by emergency cesarean section but suffers from permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Carruth has never admitted guilt in Adams’ murder, but in a complex 15-page letter to WBTV-TV in Charlotte in February he wrote: “I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want [Saundra Adams] to know that truly I am

sorry for everything.” Carruth’s former attorney, David Rudolf, did not immediately return phone calls Monday seeking comment about Carruth’s release and plans.

Last week, Carruth told WSOC-TV in Charlotte in a telephone interview, “I just truly want to be forgiven.”

He went on to say he was “somewhat frightened” about his release, adding that: “I’m nervous just about how I’ll be received by the public. I still have to work. I still have to live. I have to exist out there, and it just seems like there is so much hate and negativity toward me.”

Carruth has repeatedly said he wants to have a relationship with his son, who remains in the custody of his grandmother, Saundra Adams, who has raised him since birth.

Photo by The Charlotte Observer
Rae Carruth

Sports on 10/23/2018

Print Headline: Off the Wire

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