International Sports Briefs

Vaidisova retires

PRAGUE: Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidisova has decided to end her career at the age of 20, the Czech daily Sport said on Wednesday, quoting her stepfather and former coach Ales Kodat. “Her agent told me last week... She’s fed up with tennis and that’s understandable. She started very young,” Kodat said. Vaidisova, who was seventh in the world in May 2007 before sliding to her current 176th spot, won her first WTA tournament in Vancouver in 2004 at the age of 15 years and three months. He also confirmed Vaidisova would soon marry her 31-year-old compatriot Radek Stepanek, the World No 17.

Sharapova, Safina out

MIAMI: Three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova will miss the Sony Ericsson Open, as will women’s World No 2 Dinara Safina and 2008 men’s champion Nikolay Davydenko, organisers said. Sharapova had been slated to play in Miami for the first time since 2007, but an MRI exam on the sore right elbow showed a bone bruise. Safina remains sidelined by the back injury, while Davydenko is out with a broken left wrist.

Magpies open up gap

LONDON: Newcastle breezed past Scunthorpe 3-0 on Wednesday to go 12 points clear of third-placed Nottingham Forest in the Championship and take another huge step closer to a Premier League return. The win restored Newcastle’s four-point advantage over second-placed West Brom and left them needing a maximum of 15 points from their remaining 10 games to clinch promotion. Scunthorpe arrived on Tyneside as only one of four sides to beat Newcastle this season.