News Summaries from The Sports Network - Friday, October 24|
Maddon leaving Rays after 9 seasons
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joe Maddon's tenure as manager of the
Tampa Bay Rays came to a sudden end after nine seasons when he exercised an
opt-out clause in his contract on Friday.
Maddon had managed the Rays since 2006, leading them to one World Series berth
while presiding over the most successful period in the franchise's 17-year
His exit came despite what the team described as an active bid to keep him. It
followed the departure of longtime executive Andrew Friedman, who was hired by
the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
Although Maddon signed a three-year extension in 2012 that wasn't set to
expire until after next season, a clause in the deal allowed him to opt out
under certain circumstances, including Friedman's departure, Rays president
Matthew Silverman said.
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement that the team tried
"diligently and aggressively" to sign Maddon to a third contract extension, to
Sternberg said Maddon was leaving "to explore opportunities throughout Major
League Baseball" -- a decision sure to spawn conjecture that he will look
to manage another team.
Silverman said during a conference call with reporters that he had "a number
of conversations over the past week" with Maddon -- the last one on Friday
morning, after which the team learned from Maddon's agent that the manager was
"I'm surprised by it, and disappointed," Silverman said. "I believed that Joe
wanted to be the manager of the Rays long-term. That was my intention and
(Sternberg's) intention and we dove head-first into discussions about an
extension, but it takes two parties to reach an agreement and we weren't able
to reach that agreement and that's how we got to this stage."
Silverman said he was "very comfortable" with the financial offers they made
to Maddon on another extension.
"They were very generous," he said. "He listened to those and chose to opt
Charismatic and quotable, the bespectacled Maddon managed winning teams in six
of his nine seasons with Tampa Bay, bringing success to a baseball outpost
that never saw more than 70 wins in the eight years before he arrived.
Maddon, 60, took over what were then the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006 and lost
197 games in his first two seasons.
In his third season, the Rays beat the blue-blood Yankees and Red Sox to win
the AL East for the first time and went on to face Philadelphia in the 2008
World Series, falling in five games.
In all, Maddon managed the Rays to a 754-705 record with two division titles
and four postseason berths. The Rays were 77-85 this past season, their worst
record in seven years, and finished fourth in the AL East.
Silverman said the team will look inside and outside the organization for a
new manager, but didn't offer any specifics about what they were looking for,
only saying they hoped their search could be as fruitful as it was when they
"That's as far as we've gotten in our approach," he said.
Maddon's exit came 10 days after Friedman left his post as the Rays' executive
vice president of baseball operations to become the Dodgers' president.
Friedman joined the Rays in 2004 as assistant of baseball development and was
named executive vice president in October 2005.
Despite the loss of two key organizational pieces, Silverman remained upbeat,
at least in his comments to the media.
"We have more than 300 people in our organization who are committed to making
the Rays a great source of pride for Tampa Bay. We have hundreds of
players who are part of our current and future successes. I'm very
optimistic about our future," Silverman said.
"Our best days are ahead of us both on the field and off the field and I'm
confident that we'll look back upon these weeks and recognize that our
organization has grown stronger in the face of this adversity."
Konerko, Rollins named co-winners of Roberto Clemente Award
San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Retiring Chicago White Sox slugger
Paul Konerko and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins were honored
Friday as co-winners of this year's Roberto Clemente Award, given to the
player who combines outstanding play on the field with devoted work in the
Both players were presented their awards prior to Game 3 of the World Series
between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.
Rollins and Konerko tied in the final voting, which was conducted via fan
balloting combined with a distinguished panel that included commissioner Bud
Selig along with several Hall of Famers. It's the first time there has been a
tie for the award.
Konerko and his wife Jennifer founded the Bring Me Home Campaign in 2007.
They, along with former White Sox teammate Jim Thome and his wife Andrea,
helped to raise awareness and recruit foster parents and advocate for the
needs of foster children. The campaign has raised nearly $450,000 in its first
Konerko, who played 18 major league seasons, also supports several White Sox
charities, including the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Rollins started J-Roll's Aces, which is a charitable ticket program that
provides opportunities for inner-city students. He has also been the head of
the J-Roll's Readers program.
"Paul Konerko and Jimmy Rollins are two of baseball's great ambassadors and
have long distinguished themselves as leaders both on the field and in their
communities," Selig said. "Their commitment to making a difference in the
lives of children is a wonderful reflection of the legacy the legendary
Roberto Clemente has left on our game and in society. Major League Baseball is
proud to honor Jimmy and Paul, two veteran standouts who have represented the
National Pastime with excellence, with our game's most prestigious
The Commissioner's Award was renamed in 1973 in honor of Clemente, who was
killed in a plane crash Dec. 31, 1972, while helping transport relief supplies
to Nicaragua after an earthquake on Dec. 23 that killed more than 6,000
Tigers 1B Cabrera has ankle surgery
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera
had surgery this week on injuries to his right ankle and foot, the team said
The procedure to remove bone spurs in his ankle and repair a stress fracture
to his navicular bone occurred Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Cabrera will be reevaluated in three months.
The two-time reigning American League MVP batted .313 in 159 games this past
season with a .371 on-base percentage and 25 home runs, his fewest total since
he was a rookie in 2003.
He hit .364 in the AL Division Series against Baltimore, which swept Detroit
in three games.
Cardinals ace Wainwright has elbow surgery
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright
underwent surgery on his right elbow on Friday.
The club revealed that the 33-year-old submitted to a procedure which trimmed
cartilage from his pitching elbow. After an initial MRI failed to reveal any
significant issue, Wainwright pushed for a second MRI and the results spurred
the decision to go under the knife.
Wainwright finished the 2013 season with a 20-9 record and 2.38 earned run
average in 227 innings over 32 starts for the NL Central champions.
He missed a turn in the rotation in mid-June due to trouble with the elbow,
though an MRI taken then revealed no structural damage to the ligament which
was replaced with Tommy John surgery in 2011.
O's take Steve Johnson off 40-man roster
Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Orioles outrighted pitcher
Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk on Friday, removing him from the 40-man
The oft-injured Johnson hasn't pitched in the majors since Sept. 27, 2013. He
had surgery last month to remove a bone spur from his right pitching shoulder
after making a combined 17 starts in three different minor-league levels this
Johnson had a strong first season with Baltimore in 2012, going 4-0 in 12
games, including four starts, with a 2.11 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 38 1/3
innings. He made nine appearances for the O's in 2013, all but one of them out
of the bullpen.
Lions list WR Johnson as questionable
Bagshot, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Calvin Johnson's status for Sunday's
game in London remains up in the air as the star Detroit Lions wide receiver
continues to battle a high ankle sprain.
The Lions listed Johnson as questionable on Friday's injury report and view
him as a game-time decision to play against Atlanta, according to the team's
Johnson has missed the last two games because of the injury and was limited in
practice all week.
The Lions have ruled out tight ends Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Joseph Fauria
(ankle) and listed running back Reggie Bush (ankle) and tight end Brandon
Pettigrew (foot) as doubtful against the Falcons.
Bush sat out the last two practices and all three tight ends missed practice
every day this week.
Tackle LaAdrian Waddle (concussion) returned to practice on Friday but is
questionable to play. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (toe) and running back Theo
Riddick (hamstring) are likely to play.
The 5-2 Lions will take on the 2-5 Falcons at Wembley Stadium in a game that's
scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Texans' Clowney questionable vs. Tennessee
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon
Clowney is questionable for Sunday's game at Tennessee.
Clowney is looking to take the field for the first time since the opening week
as he had to have surgery to repair a torn left meniscus.
The top overall pick of the 2014 draft was limited in practice all week.
"I think he's got a good shot to play on Sunday," Houston head coach Bill
O'Brien said about Clowney.
Linebackers Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and John Simon (ankle)
are also questionable.
Colts rule out Wayne vs. Steelers
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie
Wayne will miss Sunday's game in Pittsburgh because of an elbow injury.
The 14-year veteran missed practice all week and was ruled out Friday by the
Wayne had 38 catches for 434 yards and a touchdown through the team's first
Running back Trent Richardson also missed practice all week but was listed as
questionable with a hamstring injury. He has 101 carries for 358 yards and two
touchdowns in seven games.
Tight end Jack Doyle (knee) is also questionable while everyone else on the
Colts' injury report is likely to play.
Bears LB Briggs doubtful vs. Patriots
Lake Forest, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs is
unlikely to play in Sunday's game against New England because of a lingering
Briggs, who has missed the last two games, was listed as doubtful on Friday's
injury report after being limited in practice all week.
Fellow linebacker Jonathan Bostic is also likely to miss a third straight game
with a back injury after practicing only on a limited basis this week. He was
listed as doubtful for the road game, which comes ahead of Chicago's bye week.
Safety Danny McCray (knee) has been ruled out and tackle Jordan Mills (foot)
is questionable to play.
Everyone else on Chicago's injury report is probable.
Bills WR Goodwin doubtful vs. Jets
Orchard Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise
Goodwin was listed as doubtful to play in Sunday's road game against the New
York Jets because of a hamstring injury.
Goodwin sat out practice all week for the injury-plagued Bills, who were
already missing running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
Cornerback Ron Brooks was added to the team's injury report Friday with a
groin injury but is expected to play.
Wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee) and safety Aaron Williams (neck) were
limited in practice all week and are questionable to play in the AFC East
clash and linebacker Ty Powell (ankle) has been ruled out.
Defensive end Mario Williams (thumb), linebacker Brandon Spikes (ribs) and
wide receiver Sammy Watkins (groin) are all expected to play.
Falcons WR Douglas questionable
Watford, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry
Douglas is listed as questionable for Sunday's game in London against the
Douglas has been out since suffering a foot injury in Atlanta's Week 3 victory
over Tampa Bay, missing four games.
The Louisville product, who has 12 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in
three games this season, was limited in practice the past two days after
sitting out Wednesday's session.
Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (foot) is questionable after missing
practice all week, while wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle), guard Justin
Blalock (back) and linebacker Prince Shembo (knee) are all probable.
Eagles' Sproles, Kendricks questionable to play
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren
Sproles and linebacker Mychal Kendricks were listed as questionable for
Sunday's road game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Both were full participants in practice on Friday after being limited the
previous two days.
Sproles is recovering from a knee sprain that he suffered against the New York
Giants in the Eagles' last game on Oct. 12. Kendricks hasn't played since Week
2 because of a calf injury.
Center Jason Kelce, who returned to practice this week for the first time
since sports hernia surgery, was also listed as questionable.
Running back Chris Polk (hamstring), linebacker DeMeco Ryans (groin) and
cornerback Jaylen Watkins (wrist) are probable to play in the showdown between
Wide receiver Brad Smith (groin) has been ruled out.
Ravens TE Daniels has knee procedure, out for Sunday
Owings Mills, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels
will miss Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals after having a knee
procedure on Friday.
Daniels had sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday in the hopes of healing
the ailing knee.
The injury is not expected to be a long-term problem, and he might be
available for next week's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With tight end Dennis Pitta out for the season due to a hip injury, rookie
Crockett Gilmore is expected to start for the first time. The third-round pick
has three catches for 29 yards this season.
Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe (knee), guard Kelechi Osemele (knee),
linebacker Daryl Smith (not injury related) and wide receiver Steve Smith (not
injury related) are all listed as probable.
Monroe hasn't played since Week 3 after undergoing an arthroscopic surgery on
his knee, while Osemele missed the past two games after bruising and
hyperextending his right knee.
Defensive end Chris Canty will miss his fourth straight game as he is
recovering from wrist surgery.
Bengals' Green questionable for Sunday
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J.
Green was listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the visiting
Baltimore Ravens because of a toe injury.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection missed the last two games and didn't
practice for a second consecutive week.
Green initially sustained the injury in the season opener at Baltimore. He has
17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season.
Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee) is also questionable, while running
back Giovani Bernard (ribs) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict (neck) are among 10
players listed as probable.
Pats' Vereen questionable due to illness
Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - New England Patriots running back Shane
Vereen was listed as questionable for Sunday's home game against the Chicago
Vereen was added to the injury report after missing Friday's practice because
of an illness.
As expected, the Patriots ruled out defensive end Chandler Jones (hip).
Offensive linemen Dan Connolly (concussion), Cameron Fleming (finger) and
Bryan Stork (concussion), defensive lineman Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee),
defensive back Nate Ebner (finger) and special teams standout Matthew Slater
(shoulder) are also questionable.
Seahawks have 7 out for Sunday
Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Seattle Seahawks have ruled out
seven players for Sunday's matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
The seven ruled out are running back Derrick Coleman (foot), defensive tackle
Jordan Hill (ankle), cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf), tight end Zach Miller
(ankle), center Max Unger (foot), linebacker Bobby Wagner (toe), and wide
receiver Bryan Walters (concussion).
Listed as probable for Seattle are defensive end Michael Bennett (toe), safety
Kam Chancellor (ankle), running backs Marshawn Lynch (not injury related) and
Robert Turbin (shoulder), cornerback Tharold Simon (ankle), defensive tackle
Kevin Williams (not injury related), and tight end Luke Willson (groin).
Seattle is hoping to snap it first two-game losing streak in almost two years
when it visits Carolina.
Boston's Chara out 4-6 weeks with knee injury
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will be
sidelined for the next 4-to-6 weeks because of a torn left knee ligament.
Chara was hurt during the first period of Thursday's game against the New York
Islanders while delivering a hit to John Tavares.
Tests revealed a torn posterior cruciate ligament. Surgery will not be
required, for now.
"It's obviously a blow," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli on
Friday. "He's one of the premier defensemen in the league, but I'd rather have
it 4-to-6 weeks than 4-to-6 months."
Chara has two goals and an assist through nine games this season, his ninth
with the Bruins. The 37-year-old captain has been durable throughout his
tenure in Boston, missing no more than five games in any of his previous eight
Injured Flyers Coburn, MacDonald out 4 weeks
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Philadelphia Flyers defensemen Braydon
Coburn and Andrew MacDonald will miss approximately four weeks with lower-body
injuries, the team said Friday.
Coburn has been out since suffering an injury in the season opener against
Boston on Oct. 8, but was skating with the team for a full week before
Friday's announcement by general manager Ron Hextall.
MacDonald has played in all seven games so far, collecting one goal and two
assists while averaging almost 23 minutes of ice time, second on the team.
Hextall said forward Zac Rinaldo is day-to-day with an upper-body injury he
suffered Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, forward Vincent Lecavalier skated for 15-20 minutes Friday morning,
the first time he's been on the ice since suffering a lower-body injury in a
game against Montreal on Oct. 11.
Stastny placed on injured reserve
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Blues placed center Paul
Stastny on injured reserve Friday and recalled forward Dmitrij Jaskin from
Chicago of the American Hockey League.
Stastny, who was lured away from Colorado and signed a lucrative four-year
contract at the outset of free agency in July, totaled a goal and three
assists in four games for his new club in the early going.
Jaskin participated in 18 games for the Blues last year through several call-
ups and recorded a goal and one assist.
Oladipo sidelined due to facial fracture
Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - It's been a rough month for Orlando Magic
guard Victor Oladipo.
The second-year pro has not played in the preseason because of a sprained left
MCL and on Thursday suffered a facial fracture in practice that will keep him
Oladipo was hurt after taking an inadvertent elbow during a practice drill. He
will undergo a corrective surgical procedure on Saturday.
The Indiana product was a First Team All-Rookie selection last season after
averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 80 games. He finished
second in the Rookie of the Year balloting, behind Philadelphia's Michael
Orlando opens its 2014-15 season on Tuesday at New Orleans.
Pistons exercise contract options on Drummond, Caldwell-Pope
Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Pistons announced Friday
the exercising of team options for the contracts of center Andre Drummond and
guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Detroit selected Drummond with the ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft. He
has averaged 11.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over 141 games in his
first two NBA seasons.
Caldwell-Pope, taken eighth overall in 2013, finished his rookie season by
posting 5.9 points and 2.0 rebounds over 80 appearances.
Nets pick up options for Plumlee, Karasev
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets have picked up the third-
year options on the contracts of forward/center Mason Plumlee and swingman
Terms of the deals were not disclosed Friday, but the options will keep the
two second-year players under contract through the 2015-16 season.
Plumlee was a first team All-Rookie selection last season after averaging 7.4
points and 4.4 rebounds in just 18.2 minutes over 74 games, 22 of which were
The Duke product was selected by the Nets with the 22nd overall pick of the
2013 NBA Draft. He was also a member of this summer's USA men's national
basketball team that won a gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Karasev joined the Nets on July 10 from Cleveland as part of a three-team
trade. He was the 19th overall pick of the 2013 draft and last season averaged
1.7 points in 22 games with the Cavaliers.
Nets trade Teague to Sixers
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets traded guard Marquis
Teague and a 2019 second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in
exchange for guard Casper Ware on Friday.
Teague has averaged 2.3 points and 1.4 assists in 88 career games with Chicago
and Brooklyn. The Kentucky product was selected by the Bulls in the first
round (29th overall) of the 2012 draft.
Ware averaged 5.3 points and 1.1 assists in nine games for the Sixers last
Pelicans pick up option on Davis
New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Pelicans have picked up
the fourth-year option on the contract of forward Anthony Davis.
The first overall pick in the 2012 draft, Davis has averaged 17.3 points, 9.1
rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 131 games over his first two seasons.
Davis, who helped lead the United States to a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup
this summer, earned his first All-Star selection last season.
Bishop out as PGA of America president
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Less than one day after he made
insensitive remarks, the PGA of America has relieved president Ted Bishop of
The PGA of America Board of Directors voted to "remove Ted Bishop, the 38th
PGA president, from office for insensitive gender-based statements posted
(Thursday) on social media," according to their statement.
Bishop referred to Ian Poulter as a "lil girl" in a twitter post and again on
Facebook in a separate post. Both posts have since been deleted.
"The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead
this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf," said PGA
chief executive officer Pete Bevacqua. "We must demand of ourselves that we
make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and
everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example."
On Thursday, Bishop tweeted to Poulter "(Nick) Faldo's record stands by
itself. Six majors and all-time Ryder Cup points. Yours or His? Lil Girl."
Bishop tagged Faldo and the PGA of America twitter accounts in the post.
Bishop added this on his Facebook page, "Used to be athletes who had lesser
records or accomplishments in a sport never criticized the icons. Tom Watson
(8 majors and a 10-3-1 Ryder Cup record) and Nick Faldo (6 majors and all-time
Ryder Cup points leader) get bashed by Ian James Poulter. Really? Sounds like
a little school girl squealing during recess. C'MON MAN!"
Derek Sprague, who had been the vice president, has been appointed as the
association's interim president. Paul Levy, the PGA secretary, will assume the
dual responsibilities as vice president and secretary.
"The members and apprentices of the PGA of America must uphold the highest
standards and values of the profession, as well as the manner in which we
conduct ourselves at all times," said Sprague. "We apologize to any individual
or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident."
Bishop had one month left on his tenure as president. The PGA annual meeting
is scheduled for November 22, at which time the election of new national
officers will take place.
Poulter's autobiography was published this week, and in the book, he stated
that players had "lost a lot of respect" for Faldo, who said Sergio Garcia was
useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup.
Bishop's comments were in reaction to Poulter's statement. Bishop had named
Watson to lead the 2014 United States Ryder Cup in hopes that Watson could
help stop a two-match losing streak for the Americans.
Europe won the Ryder Cup by five points and Watson was called out publicly by
Phil Mickelson for not involving the players in any decisions.
That led to Bishop creating a Ryder Cup task force that will look at all
aspects of the U.S. Ryder Cup process, from how points are attained by
players, to how the captains and vice captains will be selected and when the
captains' picks are announced.
Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters
Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Rafael Nadal has decided to withdraw from
next week's Paris Masters.
The tournament on Friday said the Spanish superstar pulled out for personal
Nadal is playing this week in Basel, but has missed time recently with a wrist
injury and is also battling appendicitis.
While Nadal has won the French Open in Paris nine times, he has never won the
Masters event in the fall. He lost to David Ferrer in last year's semifinals
and his best result in four tries was a loss to David Nalbandian in the 2007
Pablo Andujar will replace Nadal in the draw.
U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic and Ernests Gulbis also pulled out of next
week's event. Cilic has an injured right arm and will be replaced by Jerzy
Janowicz, while Gulbis has a shoulder injury and was placed by Vasek Pospisil.
Ferrer, Murray reach Valencia semis
Valencia, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - No. 1 seed David Ferrer of Spain was an
easy winner on Friday at the $1.9 million Valencia Open while third-seeded
Andy Murray produced a comeback to also reach the semifinals.
Ferrer, a three-time Valencia champion and two-time runner-up, beat qualifier
Thomaz Bellucci 6-1, 6-2 in 67 minutes to set up a meeting with Murray, who
dropped a first-set tiebreaker against Kevin Anderson before putting together
Murray's 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-4 victory took 2 hours and 43 minutes and moved the
two-time grand slam winner closer to a second win in Valencia after his title
Ferrer won in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and was runner-up to Mikhail Youzhny last
year and to Igor Andreev in 2005.
The other semifinal will pit Tommy Robredo against Jeremy Chardy after both
posted straight-set wins Friday. Robredo beat Pablo Andujar 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 and
Chardy topped Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-2.
This year's champion will collect $500,000.
Federer into Basel semis, Coric stuns Nadal
Basel, Switzerland (SportsNetwork.com) - Hometown hero Roger Federer was a
straight-set winner Friday, while Rafael Nadal was stunned by a Croatian
teenager in the quarterfinals at the $1.87 Swiss Indoors Basel tennis
The top-seeded Federer, a five-time champion at this event, defeated fifth-
seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to advance to the semifinals,
where he will face eighth-seeded Croat Ivo Karlovic.
Karlovic's countryman, wild card Borna Coric, achieved the biggest win of his
career by beating the second-seeded Nadal 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
Nadal announced after the match that he will have season-ending appendicitis
Ranked 124th in the world, the 17-year-old Coric will next play David Goffin
after the seventh-seeded Belgian rallied for a 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4 victory
over fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic.
Karlovic beat German Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-4.
The 2014 Basel champ will claim $450,000.
Sharapova wins, but falls short of Singapore semis
Singapore (SportsNetwork.com) - Maria Sharapova won her last round-robin match
Friday at the WTA Finals, but it was not enough to give her a berth in the
semifinals of the season-ending tournament.
Sharapova needed a straight-set victory over Agnieszka Radwanska for a chance
to advance, but Radwanska managed to pull out a set as the Russian came away
with a 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 triumph.
Caroline Wozniacki then claimed a 6-2, 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova in the final
White Group match on Friday. The Dane finished 3-0 in round-robin play.
Radwanska, Sharapova and Kvitova all finished 1-2 in the group, but Radwanska
advanced to the semifinals because she won one more set than the other two.
The Pole can thank her good friend Wozniacki, as a victory by Kvitova in the
last White Group match would have instead sent Kvitova into the semis.
"When I saw (Wozniacki) yesterday, she was already saying, 'I know, I know.'
She knew what was going on and that she could help me if she won," said
Radwanska. "She wasn't surprised that I would be supporting her."
Radwanska will play Simona Halep in one of Saturday's semifinals, while
Wozniacki will take on Serena Williams in the other.
Williams finished second in the Red Group, behind Halep, who was beaten by Ana
Ivanovic on Friday, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-3. Halep, Williams and Ivanovic all
finished 2-1 in round-robin play, but Ivanovic lost the tiebreaker. The Serb
could have advanced with a straight-set win over Halep on Friday, a result
that would have knocked Williams out of the tournament.
Friday's results, however, ensured Williams will be the top-ranked player at
the end of the year. Sharapova could have eclipsed Williams by capturing the
tournament if Williams didn't reach the final.
Williams, the two-time reigning champion and a four-time winner of the season-
ending event, will face Wozniacki for the fourth time this year. The American
has won each of the first three matchups, first in the Montreal quarterfinals,
then in the Cincinnati semifinals and most recently in the U.S. Open final.
Overall, Williams owns a 9-1 career record and has won six straight matches
against Wozniacki. The Dane's lone win in the series came in the 2012 Miami
"My matchup against (Serena) hasn't been that great," said Wozniacki. "I won
once and lost like 10 times or nine. I don't know. I don't even count anymore.
But it's a new tournament. It's new week and I've been playing well, really.
Again, I believe if I play like I did today, doesn't matter who's on the other
side, I can win."
Radwanska is 4-2 lifetime against Halep. The two split a pair of matches
earlier this year -- Halep winning a semifinal match in Doha and Radwanska
coming through at the Indian Wells semis.
Saturday's winners will meet for the title on Sunday.
Williams to finish as year-end No. 1
Singapore (SportsNetwork.com) - Serena Williams didn't even lift a racket
Friday, but still clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking on the WTA Tour.
The American star was ensured of finishing in the top spot after Maria
Sharapova failed to qualify for the semifinals at the season-ending WTA
Sharapova was the only player who could have surpassed Williams, but needed to
win the tournament and have Williams not reach the final. The Russian star won
her match Friday against Agnieszka Radwanska, but needed to win it in straight
sets and the Pole pulled out the second set.
If Sharapova had won in straight sets -- she was up 7-5, 5-1 against Radwanska
and failed to close it out early -- Caroline Wozniacki's win over Petra
Kvitova would have kept the Russian alive in the tournament, and in the race
for No. 1.
Williams, who nearly was eliminated from the tournament herself on Friday,
will play in the semifinals on Saturday against Wozniacki. If Ana Ivanovic had
beaten Simona Halep in straight sets on Friday, Williams would have been
denied a chance at her third straight WTA Finals crown. Ivanovic, however,
needed three sets to beat Halep.
The year-end top ranking is the fourth for Williams, who also accomplished the
feat in 2002, 2009 and 2013.
Only four others have been No. 1 as many times. Steffi Graf was an eight-time
year-end No. 1, while Martina Navratilova did it seven times, Chris Evert five
and Lindsay Davenport four.
McMurray tops Logano for Martinsville pole
Martinsville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jamie McMurray claimed the pole for the
Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 -- the first race in the Eliminator Round of
the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- by beating Joey Logano in
Friday's qualifying at Martinsville Speedway.
McMurray, who is not in the Chase field, made a lap around this 0.526-mile,
paperclip-shaped track at 99.905 mph during the second and final round of
knockout qualifying. His lap was 0.057 seconds quicker than Logano's lap,
which was clocked at 99.605 mph.
It was McMurray's second pole of the season and the 11th of his Sprint Cup
Series career. His first pole this year came in June at Sonoma. McMurray also
earned the top starting position at Martinsville in the spring of 2011. His
best finish in a Cup race here is second, which occurred in the fall of 2004.
"Great start to our weekend for our McDonald's (sponsored) Chevrolet,"
McMurray said. "We tested here, and I thought we had a really good test. (Crew
chief) Keith (Rodden) and (team engineer) Josh (Sell) just did a really good
job adjusting on the car. It's amazing you can go quicker your second time
out. For years, we came here to these places and ran slower. That was a good
McMurray has not been into victory lane in Sprint Cup since October 2013 at
Talladega (36 races ago).
Logano is one of the eight drivers who remains in the Chase. It's the first
time he will start on the front row at Martinsville.
"I was not first, but we were close to it," Logano said. "Jamie laid down a
hell of a lap there."
Matt Kenseth, a title contender, qualified third, while Tony Stewart, a non-
Chaser, took the fourth spot.
"It surprised me with our speed there, and I thought we were going to have a
shot at the pole, but I didn't quite have the same feel I wanted there on that
last lap," Kenseth said. "Overall, that's great. You can't complain about
starting third, especially here."
Finishing fifth through 12th in the last qualifying round were: Denny Hamlin,
Brad Keselowski, who won last Sunday's race at Talladega to advance into the
next playoff round, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Carl
Edwards and Clint Bowyer.
Hamlin, Newman and Edwards have advanced into the Eliminator Round as well.
Jeff Gordon, who is in the Chase and the defending winner of this race, missed
the cut for the second round by only 0.003 seconds. Gordon will start 13th.
"The track definitely freed-up for us, and I was loose-in and real loose off,"
Gordon said. "I really fought the drive off. I thought that first lap might be
enough to squeak our way in there and then we could make some adjustments. We
tried some adjustments there that next time out. It just didn't have the
drive-off that I needed, so we did fight that.
"I don't mind starting 13th. It's not a bad place to start. You just want that
really good pit stall, and so we'll definitely suffer with a the pit stall a
little bit, but we can definitely still win it from there."
Title contender Kevin Harvick, who leads the series with eight pole wins this
season, qualified 33rd after making slight contact with the wall during his
attempts in the opening round. Harvick had a 39th-place finish in qualifying
last week at Talladega.
"We just missed it today," Harvick said. "We were way too loose. We struggled
in practice and just missed it in qualifying."
All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field for Sunday's
500-lap race at Martinsville.
Former world 800-meter champion Mulaudzi dies in car accident
Johannesburg, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Former world 800-meter
champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa died in a car accident Friday. He
Mulaudzi won a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He captured gold at
the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
"The nation has lost a true hero and one of our most disciplined and talented
athletes who flew the South African flag across the sporting globe," South
African President Jacob Zuma said. "We wish to convey, on behalf of government
and the entire country, our heartfelt condolences to his family, ASA, the
South African sports fraternity and the International Olympics Committee. May
his soul rest in peace."
Mulaudzi didn't compete at any other global championships after 2009. His
final competitive appearance came in 2013 when he came in fourth at the
Diamond League meeting in New York.
10/24 20:38:49 ET