HOT: VENUS FLIES BACK
Venus Williams won the Luxembourg Open, her first WTA tournament victory in more than two years—the longest drought of her 18-year career—beating Monica Niculesu of Romania 6--2, 6--3 for her 44th career singles titles, second only to sister Serena among active players.
NOT: CAM CAN'T
The Panthers are 1--5, but at least they have Cam Newton, right? Meh. The second-year QB's 79.3 rating is 23rd in the NFL, he has more picks than TDs and, lately, his postgame pressers have wallowed in self-pity—on Sunday he suggested, well, a suggestion box for the team.
HOT: SPAIN GAINS
Powered by a Radamel Falcao 25-yard free kick, Atlético Madrid flew by Real Sociedad 1--0 on Sunday, its seventh straight La Liga win, tying it with Barça for the league lead. Said coach Diego Simeone of Falcao's 90th-minute goal, "It was an exquisite strike."
NOT: OH, JOSE
After just 53 pitches in the postseason, Tigers closer Jose Valverde had an ERA of 27.00 and had given up seven hits and two home runs before getting benched after Game 1 of the ALCS. Can he turn it around in the Series? His postseason numbers pre-'12: four saves, 14 K's in 12 IP.
HOT: VIKINGS' QUEST
Minnesota, perhaps the NFC's biggest surprise, knocked off Arizona 21--14 to go to 5--2. And RB Adrian Peterson is playing like it's '08, putting up 153 yards and a TD on Sunday. Tampa Bay, Seattle and Detroit (8--10 combined through Sunday) are up next.