Sports in Brief: Venus returns from long layoff

Posted: March 22, 2012

Venus Williams won in her first singles match since August, dispatching Kimiko Date-Krumm, 6-0, 6-3, on Wednesday at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.

She beamed wide, raised her arms in victory, then skipped to the net to shake's Date-Krumm's hand before twirling around and pumping her arms in a celebration worthy of winning the title, not just a first match.

But other than playing a meaningless doubles match in early February, she hadn't played an official match since the U.S. Open first round. Williams, 31, withdrew from her second-round match against Sabine Lisicki at the U.S. Open after announcing she had a fatigue-causing, autoimmune disease known as Sjogren's syndrome.

HONORS: Army linebacker Andrew Rodriguez on Tuesday night won the James E. Sullivan Award, given by the Amateur Athletic Union to the top amateur athlete in the nation. The other finalists were shot- putter Jillian Camarena-Williams, volleyball player Alex Jupiter, former Temple rower and Olympic gold mesalist Jason Read, speedskater Katherine Reutter, and gymnast Jordyn Weiber.

LACROSSE: Wings forward Kevin Crowley has been named rookie of the week by the National Lacrosse League after tallying four goals and three assists Saturday against the Edmonton Rush.

COLLEGES: Western Kentucky's Ross Bjork has been named Mississippi's new athletic director. The 39-year-old Bjork has been the athletic director at Western Kentucky since March 2010 and has also worked in the athletic departments at UCLA, Miami, and Missouri. He takes over for Pete Boone, who has announced his retirement effective later this year after more than 13 years on the job.

GOLF: On the eve of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Tiger Woods declared himself healthy and ready to resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus in the majors. He said his left Achilles tendon, which caused him to withdraw from the final round at Doral, no longer bothers him. Woods had a practice round at Augusta National on Sunday, played golf exhibitions the last two days at Lake Nona, and participated in the pro-am at Bay Hill on Wednesday. After Bay Hill - his last tournament before the Masters begins April 5 - he will have played eight straight days of golf.

- Inquirer wire services

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