Thursday’s Sports In Brief

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TENNIS

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Serena Williams got on and off court as quickly as she could in the scorching heat, registering yet another record with match win No. 61 at the Australian Open as she advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Daniela Hantuchova.

The five-time Australian Open champion later withdrew from the doubles, avoiding any extra exposure to the blazing sun during the once-in-a-century heat wave that was gripping Melbourne for a fourth straight day.

Two-time finalist Li Na, the major threat to top-ranked Williams in the top half of the women’s draw, had to save a match point before coming back to beat No. 26-seeded Lucie Safarova 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in 2 hours, 37 minutes.

No. 9 Angelique Kerber advanced earlier with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American Alison Riske. Kerber will next play No. 28 Flavia Pennetta, who advanced 6-1, 7-5 over Mona Barthel of Germany.

On the men’s side, third-seeded David Ferrer advanced to the fourth round for a 10th consecutive Grand Slam when he beat No. 29 Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-2. The French Open finalists will next play Florian Mayer, who beat No. 20 Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

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BASEBALL

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) - Ever since the game was invented, before television or even radio existed, baseball counted on the eyes and ears of umpires on the field. Starting this season, many key decisions will be made in a studio far away.

Major League Baseball vaulted into the 21st century of technology, approving a huge expansion of instant replay in hopes of eliminating blown calls that riled up players, managers and fans.

Acknowledging the human element had been overtaken in an era when everyone except the umps could see several views over and over in slow-motion, owners and players and umpires OKed the new system.

Now each manager will be allowed to challenge at least one call per game. If he’s right, he gets another challenge. After the seventh inning, a crew chief can request a review on his own if the manager has used his challenges.

NEW YORK (AP) - Tampa Bay left-hander David Price got a big deal, a $14 million, one-year contract. That will be just a small fraction of the mega-contract Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are likely to finalize Friday on one of the busiest days of baseball’s offseason calendar.

Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, agreed to the biggest single-season salary in Rays history. The three-time All-Star, eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, hopes he remains with the budget-minded franchise.

New Oakland closer Jim Johnson, acquired from Baltimore last month, agreed to a $10 million, one-year deal with the Athletics, who also struck a $2.3 million deal with catcher John Jaso. Johnson’s 50 saves tied for the big league lead last year, when he was 3-8 with a 2.94 ERA.

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