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S. Williams Captures Another Key Biscayne Title

Serena Williams, reacts after breaking service against Li Na, of China, in the first set during the final at the Sony Open Tennis tournament, Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Serena Williams, reacts after breaking service against Li Na, of China, in the first set during the final at the Sony Open Tennis tournament, Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Key Biscayne, Fla. — The celebration began with a series of happy hops that propelled Serena Williams across the court. Soon she was twirling, waving, laughing and mugging for the cameras — a familiar ritual by a perennial champion.

Williams won a record seventh Key Biscayne title Saturday when she overcame a slow start and a set point to beat Li Na 7-5, 6-1 at the Sony Open.

Williams surpassed the tournament record of six titles she shared with Andre Agassi. But on a muggy spring afternoon, the No. 1-ranked Williams looked sluggish at the outset and served poorly, and she was broken twice to fall behind 5-2.

Li held a set point serving at 5-4, but Williams erased it with a backhand winner.

Williams needed another 21 minutes to pull out the set. The final game of the set went to deuce six times, but she finally won it with a booming backhand that Li couldn’t handle.

Baseball

Trout Breaks the Bank

Anaheim, Calif. — Mike Trout gave a big wave when he bounded onto the stage at the Los Angeles Angels’ fan fiesta Saturday, a plaid dress shirt tucked underneath his red No. 27 jersey. The crowd responded with wild cheers and “M-V-P!” chants for the best young player in baseball.

Trout is beloved at the Big A, and now he can stay under that comfortable halo for at least another seven years.

The 22-year-old center fielder formalized his new six-year, $144.5 million deal shortly before the Angels’ final exhibition game, committing to the club through 2020.

Trout gets $2 million of his $5 million signing bonus within 30 days of the contract’s approval, and the rest by Oct. 15. His salaries are $5.25 million in 2015, $15.25 million in 2016, $19.25 million in 2017 and $33.25 million in each of the final three seasons.

Trout is the first player with less than three years of service time to sign a deal worth more than $20 million annually, but nothing about Trout has much precedent.

The two-time AL All-Star finished second to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in the MVP voting in each of the past two seasons while putting up astronomical offensive numbers and playing above-average defense. He is batting .314 with 62 homers and 196 RBIs in just 336 career games.

Dodgers Ace on DL

Anaheim, Calif. — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday for the first time in his seven-year career because of a swollen muscle in his left upper back.

The 26-year-old left-hander, coming off his second Cy Young Award in three years, already had been scratched from his scheduled start in San Diego today after an MRI revealed the problem.

Kershaw was on a throwing progression program and was tossing the ball at different distances Saturday before the team’s Freeway Series finale against the Angels when he experienced some discomfort on his 27th throw.

Baseball Back In Montreal — Briefly

Montreal — Melky Cabrera’s two-run homer in the eighth inning gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 2-0 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday and a sweep of their two-game exhibition series at an Olympic Stadium packed with former Montreal Expos fans.

Toronto beat the Mets 5-4 before a crowd of 46,121 on Friday night. The games were organized in an effort to show that Montreal wants Major League Baseball back. A total of 96,350 fans attended the two games, mostly chanting “Let’s go Expos!” and “We want baseball!”

NCAA Hockey Tournament

Union 3, Providence 1

Bridgeport, Conn. — Max Novak had a goal and an assist and top-seeded Union beat Providence to win the NCAA East Region championship and advance to the Frozen Four for the second time in three years.

Mat Bodie and Matt Hatch also scored for Union (30-6-4), which is unbeaten in its last 15 games.

BC 6, Denver 2

Worcester, Mass. — Johnny Gaudreau had his first hat trick for Boston College and added three assists, leading the top-seeded Eagles over Denver in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals.

Boston College (27-7-4) will face the winner of today’s second semifinal between No. 2 UMass-Lowell and No. 3 Minnesota State-Mankato for a spot in the Frozen Four.

Minnesota 7 Robert Morris 3

St. Paul, Minn. — Nate Condon scored twice and Adam Wilcox made 22 saves to help top-seeded Minnesota beat Robert Morris. The Big Ten regular-season champion Gophers (26-6-6) will face the Notre Dame-St. Cloud State winner today for a spot in the Frozen Four.

Golf

Bowditch Leads in Texas

San Antonio — Steven Bowditch opened a three-stroke lead in the Texas Open, while Phil Mickelson withdrew after 10 holes because of a pulled muscle in his right side.

Bowditch, the 30-year-old Australian seeking his first PGA Tour title, shot a 4-under 68 to reach 12 under at TPC San Antonio. Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe were tied for second. Kuchar shot 65, and Loupe had a 70.

Mickelson withdrew after pulling the muscle teeing off on No. 1 — his 10th hole of the round.