On Sports

Former Providence Journal sports writer Mike Szostak blogs regularly with news and analysis about sports in Rhode Island.

The U.S. Open starts Monday in New York, and there’s reason for Rhode Island tennis fans to pay attention other than Serena Williams’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam.

  Thank goodness for a new week. Could last week have been any worse for Boston sports?

  Six years after winning his first title on the men’s pro tour at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, unheralded Rajeev Ram returned to the scene of that 2009 triumph and won again.

In a taut duel that lasted 2 hours and 23 minutes at the Newport Casino on Sunday, Ram upset second-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (2), before a near-capacity crowd of about 3,700 on a breezy, steamy afternoon.

“The first win was more elation. This one is more satisfaction just because I did it again,” the 31-year-old from Carmel, Ind., said.

  Jared Donaldson, Rhode Island’s native son on the ATP World Tour, won his debut match in the main draw of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships Monday evening as the sun slid toward the western horizon.

The 18-year-old from Chepachet defeated fellow American Austin Krajicek, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 in the first round at the Newport Casino. Donaldson’s match was the finale on the stadium court of the historic facility.

Tennis Week in Newport begins in earnest on Monday with first-round matches of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships at the Newport Casino. The only men’s professional grass-court tournament remaining in North America launches the ATP World Tour’s summer season in the United States.

Two-time champion John Isner leads the field of 32 singles players, but 18-year-old Jared Donaldson of Chepachet is the big news for Rhode Island tennis fans. He will play the final Opening Day match on the stadium court against American Austin Krajicek.

  June is high-school graduation season. Standing at the head of the class at North Kingstown High is Sarah Andrews and at Seekonk High Matt Salit. Last fall, I wrote about them as two of the 12 national finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman. Friday night, they will cap their high school careers with valedictory addresses, so here is an update.

  Four construction projects totaling $71 million are underway at Bryant University. When finished, three will have a direct impact on intercollegiate athletics.

The skeleton of a strength and conditioning center stands at the entrance to Bulldog Stadium. Contractors have assured Bryant President Ronald K. Machtley that it will be finished by Aug. 1, just in time for the arrival of fall sports athletes.

  Roger Federer, considered by many the best tennis player in history, told me the other day the 10 reasons why he likes tennis. And he will tell you as well, if you visit the renovated museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.

Federer stars in an eight-minute hologram, one of the technological highlights of the three-year, $3-million project. The Hall of Fame is the first sports museum in the U.S. to employ the technology, according to Doug Stark, the museum’s director.

  Sports World has lost its mind. Again.

Why would the NFL suspend Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the 2015 season because an investigator concluded that it was “more probable than not” that Brady had something to do with footballs being deflated for the AFC Championship game last January? No concrete evidence. Just “more probable than not.”

Why would the league fine the Patriots $1 million when the investigation did not implicate the owner Robert Kraft or the head coach Bill Belichick?

Festivities in Newport surrounding the Volvo Ocean Race are not the only significant sailing activities in Rhode Island waters on Saturday.

Roger Williams University in Bristol will cut the ribbon on its new $3 million sailing center in conjunction with the 11th Annual Captain’s Cup, a regatta featuring current RWU sailors, alumni sailors and their parents.

  Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez, the man has a flair for the dramatic.

Friday night at Fenway Park, pinch hitting in the eighth inning of a 2-2 game, Rodriguez lined a 3-0 pitch from Junichi Tazawa into the Green Monster sea,ts, giving the New York Yankees the lead and eventually a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

  It’s official. Kris Dunn is returning to Providence College for the 2015-16 basketball season

“I am excited about next season," Dunn said in a statement released by the school Friday afternoon.

A potential lottery pick or probable first-round choice in the 2015 NBA draft as a result of his stellar play last season, Dunn had denied a Yahoo! Sports report, citing NBA sources, that he was skipping the draft. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Sunday, and Dunn and PC finally confirmed the report.

  Kris Dunn is making the smart move to return to Providence College for the 2015-16 basketball season.  The Friars point guard has not announced his decision, but Yahoo! Sports, citing NBA sources, is reporting that Dunn will skip the 2015 NBA Draft. The deadline for underclassmen to declare of the draft is Sunday. Once a player declares, there is no going back.

  Hail to the Providence College hockey Friars, NCAA Division I champions for the first time.

PC rallied for a 4-3 victory over Boston University Saturday night before 18,022 spectators at TD Garden in Boston. The Friars scored two goals in a span of 2 minutes and 19 seconds in the third period to erase a 3-2 deficit. They needed an acrobatic save by goalkeeper Jon Gillies on a Nick Roberto shot with a minute to play to preserve the victory.

Providence lost its only other championship game appearance in 1985 to RPI.

 The beginning of the end of the long college hockey season occurred Thursday when Providence College defeated Nebraska-Omaha, 4-1, and Boston University beat North Dakota, 5-3, in the Frozen Four semifinal games at TD Garden in Boston. The Friars and Terriers, Hockey East rivals, will meet Saturday night for the national championship. They split their regular-season series, each winning at home

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