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LEADING OFF

Author:

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Photograph by Erick W. Rasco

Text by S.L. Price

THE REIGN NEVER ENDS She'll be 31 this month, well north of the age once regarded as athletic prime, and, yes, Serena Williams has shown signs of age. There was the first-ever first-round defeat at a Grand Slam event, in Paris in May; there were matches in which suddenly, inexplicably, she disappeared. It happened again on Sunday. After rolling No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the first set of the weather-delayed U.S. Open final, Williams abruptly looked, well, old: wondrous serve fraying, ferocious will dissolving into the Flushing Meadow dusk. Then she rose again. "I never, never quit," Serena said, and too soon, of course, that won't be enough. But the last American great went on to win her 15th major title 6--2, 2--6, 7--5 to seal a golden summer and take full possession of the year's final Slam. For full coverage of the women's and men's finals, go to SI.com/tennis or download this week's issue on your tablet, free to all magazine subscribers.

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Photograph by John W. McDonough

CLAWS FOR CONCERN Seahawks wideout Charly Martin had an obstructed view of this Russell Wilson pass—but an excellent look at the outstretched hands of Cardinals cornerback Michael Adams—in the final 25 seconds of Sunday's opener in Glendale, Ariz. Seattle ran six plays inside Arizona's 15 in the final minute but was unable to cash in during a 20--16 loss.

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Photograph by Scott Rovak/US Presswire

DECLARATION OF SAFETY The Cardinals' Daniel Descalso artfully plays the role of elusive base runner—and de facto umpire—while successfully dodging the tag of Brewers shortstop Jeff Bianchi last Saturday in St. Louis. The Cards fell to their division rival 6--3 but remained tied for the National League wild-card lead as of Monday.