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In Brief: Serena Williams avoids early exit at Wimbledon

Serena Williams advanced to the third round of Wimbledon. (Ben Curtis / AP)
Serena Williams advanced to the third round of Wimbledon. (Ben Curtis / AP)
wire reports

Tennis: Down a break in the final set and one point away from falling behind 3-0, Serena Williams refused to buckle on Centre Court.

Facing the prospect of her earliest ever loss at Wimbledon, the six-time champion summoned her big-match experience – as well as her big serve – to overcome Christina McHale 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4 on Friday to reach the third round on another day of rain delays at the All England Club on Friday.

“I know mentally no one can break me,” Williams said after the 2 1/2-hour match. “I know that it takes a lot to break me mentally. And I knew (being down) a break in the third that I was going to have to put my mind in it – and that’s what I did.”

Two-time defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, was trailing Sam Querrey 7-6 (6), 6-1 in a third-round match on No. 1 Court before play was suspended for the day on the outside courts because of rain. They’ll resume Saturday.

Bolt pulls hamstring, Olympic fate in doubt

Olympics: Usain Bolt’s Olympic quest is in doubt, after the sprint superstar left his country’s national championships with a hamstring injury shortly before he was going to run the 100-meter final.

And that was just one part of a bizarre night at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Bolt’s longtime rival Yohan Blake won the 100 title and formally qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics – but only after a false-start disqualification call against him was overturned after review.

But even after Blake regrouped and prevailed, all the buzz was about Bolt and his status going forward especially since the national meet serves as the Jamaican Olympic trials.

He’s not out of the Rio Games, but his status hinges now on how he does at a meet in London in three weeks. Bolt said he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring tear – the most mild sort – and that the discomfort began presenting itself in his quarterfinal race on Thursday night

Clary misses out on Olympics at U.S. swim trials: Tyler Clary finished third in the 200-meter backstroke behind California Aquatics teammates Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley, who will represent the U.S. team at the Rio Games.

Murphy grabbed the lead on the second lap and pulled away to win easily in 1 minute, 53.95 seconds. He completed a sweep of the backstroke events, having also won the 100 at the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Pebley held on for the second spot, touching in 1:54.77 to earn his first trip to the Olympics.

Clary was next at 1:55.33, ending his hopes of defending the gold medal he won in London.

Russian whistleblower cleared by IAAF: Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova was cleared by the IAAF to compete as a neutral athlete in the European championships and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

While her participation in next week’s European meet is assured, it remains uncertain whether the IOC will accept the decision for the Olympics.

Jason Day takes the lead at Bridgestone

Golf: Jason Day made a pair of late birdies on a windy afternoon at Firestone for a 1-under 69 and a one-shot lead in the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

Day’s objective was to get in the lead and expand it. He took care of the first part, though the world’s No. 1 player lost a chance at some separation with a three-putt bogey on the final hole.

Henderson, Pettersen share lead at Portland Classic: Defending champion Brooke Henderson and Sweden’s Suzann Pettersen shared the lead at 11 under 133 after the second round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic.

Pettersen shot the day’s low score with an 8-under 64, while No. 2 Henderson, an 18-year-old Canadian who won her first LPGA Tour event last year in Portland, shot 68 at Columbia Edgewater.

Birdies helps Chalmers capture lead: Greg Chalmers birdied five of his last eight holes to take a two-point lead in the Barracuda Championship, the PGA Tour’s only modified Stableford scoring event.

The 42-year-old Australian had a 10-point round to reach 24 points at Montreux in the scoring system that awards eight points for double eagle, five points for an eagle, two points for a birdie and deducts a point for a bogey and three points for a double bogey or worse.

Royal Troon accepts first female member: Royal Troon voted overwhelmingly to admit female members for the first time in the club’s 138-year history.

Painkillers lawsuit against NFL proceeds

NFL: A federal judge in California refused to dismiss a lawsuit by 1,500 former NFL players claiming the teams and their training staffs routinely dispensed a range of powerful drugs, often without prescriptions, to mask pain and injuries and get players on the field without regard for their long-term health.

The ruling by federal judge William Alsup for the Northern District of California allows the class-action lawsuit to proceed to the discovery phase. Alsup dismissed a similar lawsuit against the NFL in December 2014, writing that the collective bargaining agreement was the proper forum to resolve the players’ claims.

Former players pay respect to Buddy Ryan: Buddy Ryan was remembered not just as a defensive master who won two Super Bowls and spawned a legacy carried on by players and twin sons now coaching in the NFL.

He also motivated players with a gruff but caring approach that helped them succeed on the field and in life. Ryan had his players’ backs no matter how tough and demanding he seemed, a loyalty noted and reciprocated by many of his pupils who traveled far to pay their respects.

Former players from several teams Ryan coached said their formal goodbyes to the defensive mastermind, who died Tuesday at 85. Notably present were several members of the 1985 Chicago Bears, who won the Super Bowl thanks to the dominant 46 defense coordinated by Ryan.

Six eligible for supplemental draft: Six players have been declared eligible for the NFL’s supplemental draft, which will be held July 14.

Defensive linemen Ra’Zahn Howard of Purdue and Cameron Walton of Concordia (Alabama), which shut down its program last year; running back Jalen Overstreet of Sam Houston State; defensive back Tee Shepard of Mississippi; wide receiver Rashaun Simonise of Calgary, Alberta; and long snapper Eddie D’Antuono of Virginia Tech received approval from the league.

Ravens’ Waller suspended four games: Baltimore Ravens tight end Darren Waller has been given a four-game suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

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