Friday’s Sports In Brief
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The way Rafael Nadal managed to somehow retrieve a forehand midway through the second set shocked even Roger Federer, who has been on the receiving end of the Spaniard’s unbelievable shots more than anyone else in Grand Slams.
It was a tipping point in their Australian Open semifinal. Federer had lost the first-set tiebreaker, but was still throwing his whole arsenal at Nadal.
At 15-30 in the sixth game of the second set, Federer thought he’d wrong-footed Nadal with a volley deep into the left corner. Nadal lunged for a desperate forehand, swinging just as the ball was about to bounce for the second time and angling it back over the net. Federer, in good position but not expecting he’d need to play another shot, framed a volley. It gave Nadal a break point, and he quickly broke Federer for the first time in the match.
He completed his 23rd win in 33 head-to-heads, and ninth in 11 Grand Slam matches, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in 2 hours and 24 minutes against the 17-time major winner.
A win over another Swiss, No. 8-seeded Stan Wawrinka, in the final, would give Nadal a 14th Grand Slam title and make him the first man to win all four majors at least twice in the Open era.
NEW YORK (AP) – Carmelo Anthony scored a career-high and franchise-record 62 points, most at the current Madison Square Garden, and the New York Knicks beat the Charlotte Bobcats 125-96 to stop a five-game losing streak.
Anthony made 23 of 35 shots, one when he leapt from halfcourt to beat the halftime buzzer, and even added 13 rebounds in the NBA’s highest-scoring performance this season.
Anthony had 56 after three quarters, bettering Kevin Durant’s previous season high of 54, and stayed in for the first few minutes of the fourth to break Bernard King’s Knicks record of 60 points and Kobe Bryant’s arena record of 61, set five years ago.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – Jordan Spieth turned out to be the star attraction playing with Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines.
Spieth again showed game well beyond his 20 years with a 9-under 63 on the North Course, giving him a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink going into the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. Cink drilled a 3-wood from 280 yards onto the green at the par-5 ninth on the tougher South Course for a two-putt birdie and a 71.
Woods rarely gets upstaged at Torrey Pines, where his eight professional wins include the 2008 U.S. Open.
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) – Jessica Korda took the second-round lead in the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic, birdieing four of her last seven holes in high wind for a 7-under 66.
The 20-year-old Korda had an 11-under 135 total on Atlantis Resort’s Ocean Club course. She won the 2012 Women’s Australian Open for her lone LPGA Tour title.
DOHA, Qatar (AP) – England’s Steve Webster shot a 2-under 70 for a share of the third-round lead with Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the Qatar Masters.
DALLAS (AP) – Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent avoided prison Friday and instead was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation for a drunken car crash that killed his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown.
Brent was convicted Wednesday of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash on a suburban Dallas highway that killed Brown, who was a passenger in Brent’s car. Brent could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. He was also fined $10,000.
Brent, 25, closed his eyes when the judge read the jury’s verdict. He was kept in custody after the hearing.
NEW YORK (AP) – Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was fined $7,875 for unsportsmanlike conduct/taunting in the final minute of the NFC championship game against San Francisco. Sherman’s fine was confirmed by the league Friday.
Sherman was flagged after he made a choking gesture toward the San Francisco bench that he said was directed at quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Sherman had just deflected a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone that was intercepted by linebacker Malcolm Smith and clinched Seattle’s 23-17 victory.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone wasted little time filling a big hole on his staff by reaching a deal with recently fired Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – After getting permission from his 7-year-old daughter, New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl has retired after an 11-year career that included two Super Bowl championships.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Citing rising threats of violence at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, U.S. officials said they are prepared to work with Russian security officials to help protect American athletes and the 10,000 American spectators expected to attend.
As host country, Russia has prime responsibility for protecting athletes and spectators. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 7, and U.S. officials are already in Sochi.
CHICAGO (AP) – As their win total plummeted last season, one thing remained steady for the Chicago White Sox – their faith in Robin Ventura.
The White Sox rewarded their manager with a multi-year contract extension, announcing the move hours before their annual fan convention opened.
NEW YORK (AP) – Daisuke Matsuzaka is staying with the New York Mets.
The 33-year-old right-hander agreed to a minor league contract and was invited to big league spring training camp next month. Matsuzaka was 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA for the Mets last year after going 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 19 starts for Cleveland’s Triple-A team at Columbus.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – The San Jose Sharks locked up two of their cornerstone players before they could hit the open market this summer, signing three-year extensions with captain Joe Thornton and franchise leading goal-scorer Patrick Marleau.
The contracts prevent the two stars from becoming unrestricted free agents this summer and keep them under contract with the Sharks through the 2016-17 season.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Juan Mata was on the brink of becoming the most expensive player in Manchester United’s history after the Premier League champions announced an agreement with Chelsea to acquire the Spanish midfielder.
United released a statement saying Mata will move for a club-record fee ”subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms.”