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Tennis tourney a smash

WINNIPEG hosted the first professional tennis tournament in the city since 2000 on the weekend at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club.

It was the battle of Britain in the singles final. Top-seeded Johanna Konta defeated Samantha Murray 6-3, 6-1 to claim the CIBC Wood Gundy Challenger singles championship. Konta, ranked 140th in the world, did not lose a set throughout the tournament.

Murray had a chance to win in the doubles final, but she and partner Jade Windley lost to unseeded Canadian Heidi El Tabakh and American partner Allie Kiick in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 10-8.

Tennis Manitoba executive director Mark Arndt is optimistic Winnipeg will hold the event again next year.

"CIBC Wood Gundy is very happy with the outcome of this tournament and they look to renew again for next year, so that's fantastic," Arndt said.


Lacrosse on tap here

THE city will host the National Bantam Box Lacrosse Championships for the first time on Aug. 2-8.

The tournament will see the best 13- and 14-year-old lacrosse players from seven teams across Canada compete.

"Hosting the tournament will put Manitoba on the map as a national force toward the growth and profile of Canada's national summer sport," said Don Jacks, Manitoba Lacrosse Association executive director and tournament co-chair.

The tournament will be held at Billy Mosienko Arena, starting with the opening ceremonies on Aug. 2. Round-robin play starts the next day and runs until Aug. 6. The championship rounds start on Aug. 7.

Team Ontario will try to capture their sixth national championship in a row and Team Manitoba are looking to improve on their sixth-place finish in last year's tournament.


Soccer star dead at 27

DOHA, Qatar -- Christian Benitez, a soccer star from Ecuador who led the Mexican league in scoring last season, died Monday a day after playing in a game for his club in Qatar. He was 27.

The Qatari club El Jaish provided no details about the death but said Benitez did not complain about his health Sunday. The team is awaiting a medical report.

El Jaish played Qatar Sports in the Sheik Jassim Cup, a warm-up tournament for the upcoming season. The club said this was Benitez's first game with his new team.

The game was played in hot, humid conditions typical of the Persian Gulf this time of year. Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup and the heat has prompted many in soccer to call for the tournament to be moved to winter.

Benitez, a powerful striker, joined El Jaish after helping his Mexican club America win the championship last season. He had 24 goals in 58 appearances for Ecuador and was on its 2006 World Cup team. He also scored against Chile in the 2007 Copa America and had four goals during qualifying for the 2014 World Cup

He also spent a season in England with Birmingham.


Ex-Jay drowned?

PHOENIX -- Authorities are searching a lake near Phoenix for the body of a drowning victim who reportedly is former major league pitcher Frank Castillo.

Maricopa County sheriff's divers were combing Bartlett Lake, about 32 kilometres northeast of Phoenix, on Monday.

Divers searched for two hours Sunday in water 7.5 metres deep after witnesses say a man went under about .8 kilometre from the marina while swimming off a pontoon boat.

Sheriff's officials aren't identifying the person they're searching for, but Castillo's family in El Paso, Texas, issued a statement Monday saying he drowned "while with his family at a lake near their home in Scottsdale, Arizona."

Castillo, 44, pitched for the Chicago Cubs, Colorado, Detroit, Toronto, Boston and Florida from 1991 to 2005. He had an 82-104 record in 13 seasons.


-- staff / news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 30, 2013 D5

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