Webb edges out Choi to win Aussie Open

SYDNEY - Karrie Webb edged South Korea's Chella Choi in a "nerve-racking" battle to win her fifth Women's Australian Open and 40th tour title Sunday with a 12-under-par. The Australian came from five behind at the start of the day to win by a shot from Choi, the overnight leader who shot a course record 10-under 62 in the third round. Webb, 39 and a former world number one, thrived in gusty conditions to take her first home Open crown since 2008, finishing with a final round four-under 68. She faced a tense wait as Choi  missed a birdie putt on the par-five 18th which would have forced a playoff. "It was nerve-racking. I actually thought once Chella had that putt on the last -- I've played with her quite a bit and I was expecting that one to go in," said Webb.–AFP

Berdych annexes Rotterdam title

ROTTERDAM - Tomas Berdych buried a title drought lasting nearly a year and a half as he defeated Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Rotterdam World Tennis. The Czech third seed handed Croatia's unseeded Cilic his first loss after nine straight wins. It was the ninth career title for the new champion, off to his best season start with a 12-2 record. Berdych had not earned an ATP trophy since Stockholm, October, 2012, 16 months ago. He suffered through 2013 as the only player in the top 10 not to win a title, losing finals in Marseille, Dubai and Bangkok. "This is a nice trophy to bring home," said the winner. "Marin played a good match and has had a great two weeks. but there can only be one winner.... He did beat two guys in the top 10 (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray).”–AFP

Lavillenie breaks Bubka's world record

DONETSK - Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie broke Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old indoor pole vault world record on Saturday at the same Donetsk meeting where the Ukrainian great set the old mark in 1993. Lavillenie, the Olympic champion, easily vaulted 6.16 metres at his first attempt to improve the record by one centimetre and to make the moment sweeter, Bubka was present to witness it. An ecstatic Lavillenie, or 'Airvallenie' as his fans nickname him, put his head in his hands and ran round the auditorium celebrating. "It was totally crazy. I wanted to do my best. It was incredible," said the 27-year-old, who also sent out a jubilant tweet that he was "still in the air" over his victory. Bubka cleared 6.15 metres in 1993 and still holds the outdoor world record of 6.14m set in 1994.–AFP

Nishikori to face Karlovic in Memphis

MEMPHIS - Defending champion Kei Nishikori will face big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic in Sunday's final of the ATP US National Indoor Championships after each breezed to a semi-final victory. Japanese star Nishikori, top seeded for the first time at an ATP event, defeated American Michael Russell 6-3, 6-2 while Karlovic advanced when Taiwan fourth seed Lu Yen-Hsun retired after losing the first set 6-1. Nishikori, ranked 16th, seeks his fourth ATP crown while Karlovic, ranked 80th, seeks his sixth career title. Karlovic, whose serve has not been broken this week, has won both prior meetings against Nishikori, taking a 2012 Davis Cup match and a Delray Beach triumph last year when the Asian star retired down 5-4. Karlovic snapped a five-year ATP title drought last year at Bogota.–AFP

Hamza wins Asian Golf Tour Card

LAHORE - Hamza Amin of Pakistan succeeded in winning the Asian Golf Tour Card after he finished eighth out of 700 contestants in the Asia Tour Qualifying School Final Stage held at the Spring Field Royal Country Club, in Cha-an, Hua Hin, Thailand. This success brings Pakistan's golf in the forefront in the Asian Tour Golf championships. Talking over the phone, Hamza stated: “My goal was to finish inside the top 40 and I am glad that I have done it, thus bringing glory to Pakistan and immense delight for my parents.” Hamza is the son of legendary golfer, Taimur Hassan, who has many national and international accomplishments to his credit as a golfer. Others from Pakistan, who could not win a slot in this bid for Asian Tour Card are Aadil Jehangir and M Munir.–Staff Reporter