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Emotional Murray Wins at Brisbane

BRISBANE, Australia — His voice cracking, an emotional Andy Murray used his victory speech to offer encouragement to an absent friend.

Murray kicked off 2013 with a successful defense of his Brisbane International title, holding off Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (0), 6-4 on Sunday.

“I’d like to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends,” Murray said. “Thank you very much. He’s back home watching and, you’re going to get through.”

He signed what appeared to say “For You Perched” on a small plaque after the match, but wouldn’t disclose the identity of his friend.

Murray began his breakthrough season in 2012 by winning in Brisbane and tacked on career-changing titles at the London Olympics and U.S. Open.

SYDNEY: Caroline Wozniacki beat Poland’s Urszula Radwanska 6-1, 6-2 in hot conditions Sunday in the first round of the Sydney International.

HOBART: American Sloane Stephens broke Laura Robson’s service in the opening game and went on to beat the British player 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the first round of the Hobart International.

Esquibel Wins By Split Decision

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Albuquerque mixed-martial-arts fighter Jodie Esquibel defeated Liz McCarthy by three-round split decision Saturday night on Invicta FC IV.

Esquibel, an atomweight (105 pounds) who trains at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, is 3-0. McCarthy, of Milwaukie, Ore., is 1-1.

Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter Emily Kagan (2-1), a strawweight (115), lost by third-round submission (rear naked choke) to Rose Namajunas (1-0) of Milwaukee.

Lobos Skiers Cruise at Aspen

ASPEN, Colo. — New Mexico’s Chris Acosta captured the men’s giant slalom, while Lobo Kate Williams took the women’s giant slalom for the UNM Alpine team over two days of competition at the FIS Races.

Michael Bansmer, Joonas Rasanen, Chriss Salbu, Mary Rachel Hostetter and Courtney Altringer also had good runs for New Mexico.

“Obviously we had big successes with Chris Acosta and Kate Williams,” Alpine coach Joe Downing said. “Everybody across the board had a good run or was at least skiing fast. They might not have put two runs together for a race, but they all had some success there. It’s very encouraging going into our first college events.”

Etc. …

HORSE RACING: Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens finished third in the first race of his comeback after a seven-year retirement at Santa Anita. He was aboard Jebrica Sunday in a $45,000 claiming race at a mile on the turf.

… Mizdirection beat Kindle by a nose to win the $150,000 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita for co-owner and sports talk host Jim Rome.

SOCCER: Luis Suarez was involved in a new hand ball controversy when he scored the decisive goal for Liverpool in a 2-1 victory that ousted non-league club Mansfield from the third round of the FA Cup.

… American Herculez Gomez scored on a header in the 27th to help Santos Laguna tie San Luis 1-1in the first round of Mexico’s Clausura tournament.

RODEO: Robson Palermo rode Whitewater Trouble for 90 points to win the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and capture the event title at the PBR’s Monster Energy Invitational at Madison Square Garden.

SKIING: In Zagreb, Croatia, defending champion Marcel Hirscher reclaimed the overall World Cup lead by winning a slalom for his third victory of the season.
— This article appeared on page B4 of the Albuquerque Journal

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