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In Brief | Nation and World May 14

Venus loses to Robson, who faces Serena next

ROME — Beating one of the Williams sisters is an accomplishment any young tennis player should celebrate. Winning consecutive matches against both of them would likely be a career highlight.

British teenager Laura Robson faces that task after beating Venus Williams 6-3, 6-2 on Monday at the Italian Open to set up a second-round match against younger sister Serena — the world’s top-ranked player.

The top eight seeds in Rome, including Williams, have first-round byes.

In other matches, ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur cruised past Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan 6-2, 6-3; two-time champion Jelena Jankovic overpowered Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-0; Sabine Lisicki of Germany eliminated American qualifier Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-2; and Italian wild-card entry Nastassja Burnett defeated 2008 finalist Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 6-2.

In a night match that was suspended briefly due to a lighting outage, 59th-ranked Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands beat 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (5), 6-1.

In men’s action, 11th-seeded Marin Cilic beat Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-2, and Italian wild card Potito Starace rallied past Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to set up a match against second-seeded Roger Federer.

In a late match, 16th-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan dispatched Italian wild card Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-4.

Nishikori, who upset Federer in Madrid last week, called for a trainer while leading 4-3 in the second set to tend to his right thigh but did not appear slowed while closing the match out.

Buddy Nix steps down as Bills GM

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Not getting any younger and confident he’s put in place a young foundation capable of turning the Buffalo Bills into a winner, Buddy Nix called this the right time to step down as general manager on Monday.

The 73-year-old Nix will not be leaving the team entirely.

He’ll instead move into a newly created role as a special assistant.

Nix steps down two weeks after overseeing his fourth draft with the Bills, which the team opened by selecting its quarterback of the future in Florida State’s EJ Manuel with the 16th pick.

And his departure comes with Buffalo in the midst of yet another start-from-scratch overhaul under new coach Doug Marrone.

English soccer set for 5-game minimum racism ban

LONDON — The English Football Association is due to vote this week to introduce minimum five-game bans for racial abuse.

The sanction will rise if there are aggravating circumstances, people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press about the proposal, which is in response to concerns about a resurgence of racism in the English game.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details ahead of the vote at the FA annual general meeting on Thursday.

FA chairman David Bernstein confirmed last week that the organization is preparing to present new anti-racism measures, while stating it wouldn’t back proposals by the Union of European Football Associations for a 10-game minimum ban for racist abuse.

Brown U. player critically injured by head punch

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Police in Providence, R.I., say a Brown University basketball player is in critical condition after being punched in the head in what appeared to be an unprovoked assault.

Deputy Police Chief Thomas Oates said 21-year-old sophomore Joseph Sharkey suffered severe head injuries when a man came up to him and hit him early Sunday morning while he was talking to a group of women on Providence’s East Side.

Campus and city police responded. Oates said he doesn’t know if Sharkey and the assailant knew each other.

A Rhode Island Hospital spokesman said Sharkey is in critical condition.

WADA hones a new code including harsher penalties

MONTREAL — The World Anti-Doping Agency’s top officials spent the weekend honing a new global code that includes doubling suspensions for some drug cheats.

WADA’s executive committee and foundation board met in Montreal to review the third draft of the proposed 2015 World Anti-Doping code, which will come up for approval at the Nov. 12-15 World Conference on Doping in Sport at Johannesburg.

From wire sources