Karim Jaafar, Getty Images
Maria Sharapova hits a return to Gallina Voskoboeva during the Qatar Open WTA tournament.

Sharapova wins a 3-set match

DOHA, Qatar — Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova, top-seeded Ana Ivanovic and No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the third round at the Qatar Open on Wednesday.

Sharapova beat Russian qualifier Galina Voskoboeva 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, Kuznetsova edged Nathalie Dechy 7-5, 7-5, and Ivanovic beat Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-1, but twisted her ankle toward the end of the match.

"It became a very tough match at the end because the pain in my leg was increasing," Ivanovic said. "However, I had my chances and I grabbed them. I was fairly determined to win my match and I am glad I was able to finish off quickly, because it is hard to focus when your mind is on the pain."

In other matches, Li Na of China upset No. 5 Anna Chakvetadze of Russia 7-6 (7), 6-4, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia defeated No. 9 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-3, 6-4, Shahar Peer of Israel beat Virginie Razzano of France 6-1, 7-6 (3), and Dinara Safina topped Yan Zi of China 6-2, 6-1.

Leipheimer leads California race

Levi Leipheimer took the overall lead in the Tour of California on Wednesday, while Robert Gesink of the Netherlands won the mountainous 102-mile third stage from Modesto to San Jose.

The 21-year-old Gesink finished in 4 hours, 28 minutes, 29 seconds.

"We were screaming at each to ride strong to get to the finish together," said Gesink, who rode with Leipheimer for the final 20 miles. "I won one race last year, but this win is better because the field is so much stronger."

Leipheimer, the Astana rider who finished third in the 2007 Tour de France, finished just behind Gesink in the same time to open a 13-second lead over Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland. Gesink was third overall, 15 seconds behind Leipheimer in the seven-stage, eight-day race.

NASCAR levies penalties

Robby Gordon was docked 100 points and his crew chief was suspended for six races and fined $100,000 as NASCAR penalized 10 teams in its three different national series for infractions found at Daytona International Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one of seven drivers penalized for Nationwide Series infractions, and six crew chiefs were suspended. Todd Bodine, winner of the Truck Series race, was one of two drivers penalized in that series.

The harshest penalty went to Gordon, who had an unapproved front bumper cover on his No. 7 Dodge during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500. The deduction of points drops him from ninth in the standings to 40th.

Frank Kerr, the crew chief, was fined $100,000 and is not eligible to return to the track until the April 12 race in Phoenix. Kerr was also placed on probation through the end of the year.

Extra points: NFL news and notes

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hopes the NFL is close to an agreement that will allow former New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh to tell the league about the tapes he is said to have made of the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl ... Dwight Smith's two loud seasons with Minnesota ended Wednesday when the Vikings released the seven-year veteran safety, making him a free agent ... Tight end Dallas Clark, one of Peyton Manning's favorite receivers, signed a six-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, a day after the team placed the franchise tag on him.

Joe Louis' sister found dead

The 92-year-old sister of boxing great Joe Louis died of hypothermia outside her apartment at an assisted-living facility.

Vunies High, who had Alzheimer's disease, was found Monday outside The Heatherwood retirement complex in Southfield, Mich., Southfield EMS coordinator Capt. Tom Colombo said.

Authorities say High was last seen Sunday. She was dressed only in pajamas and was wearing only one shoe, the other lying nearby.

An autopsy showed High died of hypothermia. Her death was reported Wednesday by The Detroit News.

High spent 25 years as a teacher and counselor for Detroit Public Schools.


In a story on Snow Canyon's win at the girls 4A state basketball tournament in Wednesday's edition, Warriors center Angela Walter was mistakenly identified as Elizabeth McArthur. Walter scored seven of her 10 points in the final four minutes to help Snow Canyon defeat the Highland Rams.