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Around & About / News and notes

Top two seeds will meet

Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka will face No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the final of the Porsche Grand Prix today in Stuttgart, Germany.

Azarenka cruised past Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 6-1, 6-3, in the first semifinal Saturday, and Sharapova outlasted No. 3 Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Azarenka is seeking a tour-high fifth tournament title of the year.

She dominated the match against the fourth-ranked Radwanska, whose four losses of the year have come against Azarenka.

On match point, Azarenka fired a forehand winner to advance to the final. She is 29-1 for the year.


Union Rags in peak form

Trainer Michael Matz believed what he couldn't see -- that Union Rags had a strong final workout amid a field of Kentucky Derby hopefuls that dotted Churchill Downs on Saturday.

When he was told the times -- 59.80 seconds over five furlongs -- his eyes grew wide for a brief moment before he quickly downplayed what could be the Derby favorite after Wednesday's post-position draw.

"I didn't see very much," said Matz, whose view was blocked in part because runners involved in a pre-Derby marathon made it difficult to get to the front side of the track.

"We wanted him to have a strong work here and that was the plan all along. Like I said, I wish I could've seen it, but all I saw was the front part of it, the last quarter mile, but he looked like he did that nice. They both went real nice."

Two other horses that worked on the main track Saturday -- Went the Day Well and Prospective -- will both be longer shots even though Went the Day Well is owned by Team Valor International, trained by Graham Motion and ridden by John Velazquez.


Texas-San Antonio on the move

Conference USA is set to bring aboard Texas-San Antonio ahead of a planned merger with the Mountain West that would create a league with as many as 24 schools.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, and Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has recommended approving the move only months before UTSA is set to begin its first season in the Western Athletic Conference.

Football coach Larry Coker and UTSA officials apparently began having reservations about the WAC, telling regents that three other WAC members have declared their intentions to defect. The agenda does not reveal which remaining football-playing WAC schools those are: Utah State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Louisiana State, Texas State or San Jose State.

"Joining CUSA ... will provide greater national visibility and association with universities of similar enrollment, academic standing and community size," the agenda item reads.

UTSA went 4-6 in its inaugural football season as an independent last year, but the program has sought to accelerate its national profile as quickly as possible.


Bo knows cycling

Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson's 300-mile bike ride across Alabama has ended in Tuscaloosa, having raised more than $413,000 so far to help victims of last spring's tornado outbreaks.

The ride ended Saturday afternoon after passing through rural areas and communities hit hard by tornadoes.

Hundreds joined Jackson for the ride, including celebrities such as Lance Armstrong, amd former major leaguer Ken Griffey Jr.

From News Staff and wire service reports