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Canadian curlers fall

ERZURUM, Turkey -- Sweden jumped out to an early lead and never looked back Sunday in beating Canada 10-1 in quarter-final action at the world mixed doubles curling championship.

Per Noreen and Camilla Johansson jumped out to a 5-0 advantage on Regina's Dean Hicke and Chantelle Eberle.

Switzerland went on to beat Sweden for gold 7-6 after advancing past the United States 9-7 in the semifinals. Sweden followed its win over Canada with a 13-3 rout of Austria.

Hicke and Eberle missed key shots and scored their only point of the game in the fifth end.

Meanwhile, Noreen and Johansson made virtually every shot and forced Canada to concede after seven ends.

"They just made everything and we just missed everything," Eberle said.

Hicke said the Canadian team could never get on track.

"They played good, better than good, they played great. We just didn't. The ice was a bit straighter on us. We just had an awful time following them in behind the centre guard," he said. "It just seemed to be end after end and perfect shots by them and not so good shots by us and that makes for a big score."

Malignaggi WBA champ

DONETSK, Ukraine -- American Paul Malignaggi stopped previously undefeated Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko in the ninth round Sunday to take the WBA welterweight title.

The referee stepped in to halt the fight at 1:10 in the ninth after Malignaggi pounded the left side of Senchenko's face until his eye closed.

The 31-year-old Malignaggi, the former IBF junior welterweight champion, improved to 31-4 with his seventh career knockout. The 35-year-old Senchenko dropped to 32-1 in front of a sparse home crowd at Donbass Arena.

Lewis wins LPGA title

MOBILE, Ala. -- Stacy Lewis won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on Sunday for her second LPGA Tour title, holding off hard-charging teen Lexi Thompson by a stroke.

Lewis, who held a five-stroke lead early in the day, reclaimed the edge with a birdie on No. 16, while the 17-year-old Thompson parred the final hole and had to wait.

Lewis parred out. Her week was so solid that her finishing 3-under 69 was her worst round en route to a 17-under 271 total. The former Arkansas star also won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Thompson found redemption from her final-round fall in Mobile a year ago, from a first-place tie to 19th with a closing 78. She didn't flinch under the pressure given a second shot, closing with rounds of 66 and 65, tying her career low.

Sato finally hits podium

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Japan's Takuma Sato had almost everything go wrong in the Sao Paulo 300. He just kept pressing, though, and somehow found a way to his first podium finish in IndyCar on Sunday.

Sato had a remarkable drive on the streets of Sao Paulo, being aggressive and taking advantage of pit strategy after starting in the last row and overcoming a drive-thru penalty early in the race. He crossed the line just a few seconds behind winner Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

"It is a fantastic feeling to finish third. It was an eventful race starting from the back of the grid. I needed to fight back so hard to get the positions back," Sato said.

A podium finish was the last thing Sato expected to get considering the way his weekend started. He got only a few laps of practice because of a gear box problem on Saturday, and couldn't post a time in qualifying after having to change his engine. He was penalized 10 spots on the grid and started 25th.

"After a difficult weekend, it is a relief to get this result and I am really pleased to bring the team a third place and see the first checkered flag of the season. It was a great day," said the 35-year-old driver.

Sharapova wins Porsche

STUTTGART, Germany -- Second-ranked Maria Sharapova cruised past top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Porsche Grand Prix for her first title of the year.

Sharapova lost the finals of the Australian Open and Indian Wells this year to Azarenka, and the Russian had never beaten her rival from Belarus in four previous encounters in a final.

"I am really pleased to win such a tough tournament, against such tough opponents," said Sharapova, before collecting the white sports car donated by the sponsor. "Victoria could not perform at her best because of her injury."

Azarenka, who fell to 29-2 this year but will keep the No. 1 spot, had her playing, right wrist taped after the first set. She was seeking her fifth title of the year.

"I am disappointed to lose, but still I had a good week," Azarenka said.

Sharapova, a former No. 1, won her 25th career title, an honour roll that also includes three Grand Slam titles.

Sharapova made her debut this year in Stuttgart, a tournament played on indoor clay that brought together the eight top-ranked players.

Angelelli/Taylor team up

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor won the rain-shortened Grand Prix of Miami on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette DP.

It marked the 19th victory for SunTrust Racing -- second in Grand-AM Rolex Series history, in the headlining DP (Daytona Prototype) class.

The third race of the Rolex Series season, scheduled for 2 hours, 45 minutes, was halted 52 minutes early because of rain, which hampered visibility and caused huge puddles on some portions of the 2.3-mile road course.

Loeb wins Argentina rally

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- World rally champion Sebastian Loeb won the Rally of Argentina for the seventh time in a row Sunday to increase his lead in the season standings.

The Frenchman finished 15.2 seconds ahead of teammate Mikko Hirvonen to give Citroen a 1-2 finish. Mads Ostberg was third.

Loeb has won three of the season's first five rallies -- Monte Carlo, Mexico and Argentina -- and has 91 points. Petter Solberg is second with 73 points.

Horse, 27, dies at home

VERSAILLES, Ky. -- Dynaformer, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, has died at Three Chimneys Farm two weeks after having a heart attack in his stall.

The 27-year-old stallion was one of the most successful sires in the thoroughbred industry with 21 crops that have earned more than $105 million, including 130 stakes winners and 18 millionaires.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2012 C4

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