Sports Shorts

Volleyball league to start with fewer teams

Volleyball's Premier League is slated to open on Monday with a reduced format of seven teams - two fewer than last year. The Israel Volleyball Association held a season-opening event at Gaash on Sunday in which it pushed to expand the league to 12 teams and to delay the first round of games by two weeks. However, the initiative lost any momentum it had gained over the weekend, mainly because Hapoel association members objected to expansion just two weeks ahead of elections within the organization. Jacob Shtofman, who decided not to run for another term as president, said he should have started the expansion process two months ago, "when the problems started with Kiryat Ata, Ilabun and Ramat Hasharon." (Rami Hipsh)

Azarenka beats Goerges for Linz tennis title

Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka won her sixth WTA title of the season on Sunday by beating Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-4 at the Generali Ladies. Azarenka, who now has 14 career titles, extended her unbeaten run without conceding a set to 13 matches since losing the U.S. Open final in September. Azarenka broke the fifth-seeded Goerges in the opening game and again at 5-3 to take the first set. That still made the German the first opponent to win more than two games in one set against the Belarusian at this tournament. The event in Austria was her final tournament ahead of the season-ending WTA Championships, which start in eight days in Istanbul. (AP)