MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka has won her fourth Grand Slam trophy by pulling away to beat Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the Australian Open final. Osaka improved to 4-0 in title matches at major tournaments. She is the first woman to start her career that way since Monica Seles (SEHL’-ehs) did it 30 years ago. Only two active women own more Slam titles than Osaka: Serena Williams, with 23, and her sister, Venus, with seven. Osaka has won her past 21 matches dating to last season. That includes a championship at last year’s U.S. Open. She was seeded No. 3 at Melbourne Park and is now assured of moving up to No. 2. Brady was playing in her first Grand Slam final. The 25-year-old from Pennsylvania says she believes “winning a Grand Slam is totally achievable.”
STATELINE, Nev. (AP) — Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains will be the backdrop for a pair of outdoor NHL games this weekend. The picturesque setting for the games between Vegas and Colorado and Philadelphia and Boston will be unlike the 30 previous outdoor games, which were played at football, baseball and soccer stadiums. The NHL built a rink on the 18th fairway of the golf course of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort, which is located on the shores of Lake Tahoe and surrounded by trees with the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountain range towering in the background. Vegas plays Colorado today and the Philadelphia-Boston game is tomorrow.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Alabama looks to move a step closer to its first Southeastern Conference title in 19 years when the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide host Vanderbilt today. Alabama hasn’t played since defeating Georgia on Feb. 13, after its mid-week game with Texas A&M was called off. Still, the Crimson Tide are 12-1 in the league and have three fewer losses than chasers No. 24 Arkansas and LSU.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Seventh-ranked Virginia looks to rebound from a lopsided loss at No. 16 Florida State and maintain its winning percentage likely to determine conference tournament seeding when it visits Duke tonight. Virginia also aims to bounce back defensively after allowing FSU to shoot 50% overall and from long range. The Blue Devils seek their third consecutive ACC win to improve their conference winning percentage and maintain slim NCAA Tournament hopes. They return home after consecutive wins at North Carolina State and Wake Forest by least 16 points each.
UNDATED (AP) — After the Big 12 had three of its five midweek games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, including a tantalizing Thursday night matchup between ninth-ranked Oklahoma and No. 12 Texas, the league gets back to work in earnest today with a nearly full slate of games. The highlights are No. 13 West Virginia visiting the Longhorns and No. 15 Texas Tech heading to No. 23 Kansas.