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Sports at a glance

Williams out early in Rome

ROME — Serena Williams’ 1,000th tour-level singles match ended in defeat as she marked her return to action with a 7-6 (6), 7-5 loss to Nadia Podoroska on Wednesday in the second round of the Italian Open.

The eighth-seeded Williams, who hadn’t played since the Australian Open, rallied from a break down twice in the opening set and saved the first three set points she faced in the tiebreaker before Podoroska converted her fourth. The Argentine went on to win in 1 hour, 58 minutes.

The 24-year-old Podoroska took a 5-2 lead in the second set but was broken at love the first time she tried to serve out the match. She broke Williams again in the 12th game to seal her third career win over a top-10 player.

Ex-Vikes coach dead at 94

MINNEAPOLIS — Jerry Burns, the colorful character who took over as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach in a time of turmoil and led the team to three playoff berths, has died. He was 94.

The team announced Burns’ death. Vikings spokesman Bob Hagan said Burns’ son-in-law informed him of Burns’ death Wednesday morning.

Burns helped the Green Bay Packers win the first two Super Bowls as defensive backs coach, then joined iconic Vikings coach Bud Grant as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator in 1968. Burns held the position until 1985, and became head coach in 1986, following Les Steckel’s 3-13 season in 1984 and Grant’s 7-9 campaign in 1985 when he was coaxed out of retirement.

A Detroit native, Burns played quarterback at the University of Michigan from 1947 to 1950. He caught on as an assistant coach at Iowa in 1954 and took over as head coach in 1961.

The Associated Press

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