Australian Open continues, La. Tech hires new coach - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Australian Open continues, La. Tech hires new coach

TENNIS

Roger Federer remained on track for his 16th Grand Slam title as the top- seeded Swiss superstar breezed past Romanian Victor Hanescu and moved into the third round at the Australian Open. The three-time Aussie Open champion cruised to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory Thursday. Third-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic was pushed around in the first set against Swiss journeyman Marco Chiudinelli before turning on the jets in a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory. Sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko cruised past Ukraine qualifier Illya Marchenko in three sets.

Serena Williams continued her push toward a second straight Australian Open crown with a dominating victory, while her sister, Venus, also advanced to the third round. Serena, the top seed, four-time Aussie Open champion and 11-time major titlist, won nine straight games and disposed of Czech Petra Kvitova, 6-2, 6-1. Next up for the American will be 32nd seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, as she beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic, 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday. Suarez- Navarro knocked out Venus in the second round last year. In her 40 previous majors, Serena has only failed to reach the third round once - on her Grand Slam debut - the 1998 Australian Open. Venus, seeded sixth, took out Austrian Sybille Bammer, 6-2, 7-5. Danish fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki and seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus also moved into round three.

NFL

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart will undergo surgery on his left foot. Stewart posted on his Twitter account that he will be having the procedure to address the chronic pain in his toe and Achilles' tendon that kept him out of several practices over the season. However, the pain did not keep him out of any games as he played all 16 contests and led the team with 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns. Stewart and teammate DeAngelo Williams, who finished with 1,117 yards, became the first set of teammates since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to each rush for over 1,100 yards.

The stadium for the Miami Dolphins and the upcoming Super Bowl will again have a new name, as the team announced a partnership with Sun Life -- a Canadian financial services firm -- on a reported five-year naming rights deal. The building that first opened in 1987 as Joe Robbie Stadium will now be known as Sun Life Stadium. Super Bowl XLIV will be played at Sun Life Stadium on February 7, and the first game in the newly-named building will take place a week before when the Pro Bowl is staged. The building, which previously went by Pro Player Stadium and Dolphin Stadium, was known as Land Shark Stadium during the 2009 season.

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has been named to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for New England's Tom Brady, who played the final few games of the season with rib and finger injuries. It had been reported that Brady was playing with broken ribs, although Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had downplayed the seriousness of the problem. Schaub was actually the second alternate for the AFC squad, but first alternate Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh is also unable to play because of injury. In helping the Texans to their first-ever winning season at 9-7, Schaub led the NFL in passing yards with a career-best 4,770.

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore was selected to replace injured St. Louis running back Steven Jackson on the NFC Pro Bowl roster on Wednesday. Gore, who rushed for 1,120 yards and tied a franchise-record with 10 rushing touchdowns this season, will be making his second-career Pro Bowl appearance and first since 2006. The versatile back also had 52 catches for 406 yards and a career-best three receiving scores. Gore is coming off a fourth straight 1,000-yard rushing season and was the first player in 49ers history to accomplish such a feat. Jackson, who was hampered with a back injury for most of the season, appeared in 15 games in 2009 and ended with 1,416 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith has been named to the Pro Bowl, the first Giants wideout to be named to a Pro Bowl since 1968. Smith takes the place of Larry Fitzgerald, who was playing through knee and elbow injuries towards the end of the year. Smith was originally named a first alternate. The last New York wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl was Homer Jones in 1968. David Tyree played in the 2006 Pro Bowl, but that was as a special teams player. Smith led the NFC with 107 catches and was second to New England's Wes Welker (123) for tops in the NFL. He had 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns on the season, his third in the league.

MLB

The Los Angeles Angels have reportedly signed one of the top remaining free agents in pitcher Joel Pineiro, inking the 31- year-old to a two-year contract. According to multiple outlets, the deal is said to be worth about $16 million. Pineiro spent the last two-plus seasons with the Cardinals and reinvented himself in 2009 as one of the league's best ground-ball pitchers. He went 15-12 for St. Louis last season with a 3.49 earned run average -- the lowest since he was a 23-year-old with Seattle in 2002 -- in 32 starts.

NBA

Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin had successful surgery on his knee Wednesday. Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Steven Shimoyama performed the surgery which "couldn't have gone better" according to ElAttrache. The injury and surgery will mean that the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft will complete the 2009-10 season without having played one minute on the floor. He suffered the stress fracture of his left patella in the Clippers' last preseason game, on October 23. Two months after he suffered the injury, Griffin was cleared to increase his rehabilitation workload after having a CT scan and MRI exam. But the team said Griffin experienced some discomfort and an examination discovered his healing had not improved as expected. Because of that, Griffin was required to undergo surgery and he will miss 4-to-6 months.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Louisiana Tech welcomed Sonny Dykes as its new head football coach on Wednesday. Dykes takes over for Derek Dooley, the school's previous athletic director and football coach, who departed last Friday to take over the head coaching position at Tennessee. The 40-year-old Dykes comes to Tech after spending the last three seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the University of Arizona. Prior to his stint in Tucson, Dykes served as co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech with former head coach Mike Leach from 2005-06, leading the Red Raiders to the third-best passing offense in the FBS in his last season in Lubbock.

NHL

New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias has been placed on injured reserve because of a concussion. Elias was hurt during a January 16 game against Colorado when he took a hard hit from Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson and left the ice on a stretcher. After Elias missed Monday's game against the New York Islanders, further tests revealed the concussion. There is no timetable for his return, but the Devils said he will be re-evaluated later this week. In 32 games this season, Elias has 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points. He missed the first month of the season recovering from offseason groin surgery.

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