Thursday’s Sports In Brief
LONDON (AP) Eugenie Bouchard defeated French Open runner-up Simona Halep 7-6 (5), 6-2 to become the first Canadian to advance to a Grand Slam tournament final.
The 20-year-old Bouchard, who has not dropped a set in six matches, won on her sixth match point and will play 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who beat fellow Czech left-hander Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 6-1.
Bouchard lost in the semifinals at the year’s two previous majors, the Australian Open and French Open. She’s projected to rise to No. 7 – the highest ranking for a Canadian woman – by reaching Saturday’s final and would go to No. 6 by winning the championship.
Bouchard would also be the youngest Grand Slam champion since 19-year-old Maria Sharapova won the 2006 U.S. Open.
In the first semifinal, Kvitova, 24 and the only player born in the 1990s to have won a major title – here, three years ago – improved her record to 25-5 on the Wimbledon grass. She’s made at least the quarterfinals for five years in a row.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Four years after their messy breakup, the Cavaliers and LeBron James are at least talking about a reunion.
Cavs officials met with James’ agent, Rich Paul, this week about the free-agent superstar’s possible return. The sides visited as James continued his family vacation, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press.
It was not immediately clear if owner Dan Gilbert was at the meeting.
James recently opted out of the final two years of his contract in Miami. The two-time NBA champion has gone to four straight finals with the Heat. However, after the team was throttled by San Antonio in this year’s finals, James said he would weigh his options this summer.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Knicks went coast to coast to let Carmelo Anthony know they want him to stay in New York.
Team officials traveled to Los Angeles to meet with the free agent and offered him the maximum contract allowable, a person with knowledge of the details said.
Team President Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills were part of the meeting but not Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, an official with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press.
The meeting was first reported by ESPN.
Anthony was in Los Angeles to meet with the Lakers, who are among the teams hoping to convince the All-Star forward to leave New York. Anthony already visited Chicago, Houston and Dallas this week.
DALLAS (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks have agreed on what could be the final contract for the big German.
A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that Nowitzki would get a three-year contract worth roughly $30 million.
New contracts can’t be signed until next Thursday.
The 36-year-old Nowitzki is taking a big pay cut with a contract similar in value and structure to the one Tim Duncan signed with San Antonio two years ago.
Nowitzki just completed a four-year deal worth $80 million, and he left money on the table in that deal hoping the Mavericks could get some pieces around him.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Northwestern University urged the National Labor Relations Board to overturn a regional ruling that would allow its scholarship football players to unionize, holding up the football program as exemplifying the university’s integration of athletics and education.
In a 60-page brief filed with the labor board in Washington just hours ahead of a midnight deadline, the university laid out its opposition to student athletes forming a union and asked to argue its case before the board.
The decision by the regional director of the labor board ”transforms what has always been a cooperative educational relationship between university and student into an adversarial employer-employee relationship,” the university said in the brief.
The director ruled March 26 that football players who receive full scholarships to the Big Ten school qualify as employees under federal law and therefore can unionize.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The NFL suspended Chiefs backup offensive lineman Rokevious Watkins without pay for four games for violating its substance-abuse policy.
He’ll be eligible to return to the Chiefs’ active roster Sept. 30, the day after Kansas City’s Monday night game against the New England Patriots.
No details of the violations were disclosed. The league said Watkins is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) – Dion Jordan of the Miami Dolphins has been suspended for the first four games of the season after testing positive for a stimulant prohibited under the NFL’s policy on use of performance-enhancing substances.
The Dolphins announced the suspension in a statement released by the team, saying Jordan took ”full responsibility” for the positive test.
Jordan’s statement also included an apology for the ”impact of this situation” on his teammates, coaches, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, his fans and family.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) – Defending champion Jonas Blixt shot a 6-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Greenbrier Classic.
Six of Blixt’s eight birdies came on putts of 10 feet or less on the Old White TPC. The Swede also chipped in from the rough for birdie on No. 16.
Patrick Rodgers, the former Stanford star playing in his third tournament as a pro, was a stroke back along with Chris Kirk, D.A. Points, James Hahn, Jason Bohn, Joe Durant, Jim Renner and Danny Lee.
Steve Stricker topped the group at 66
Masters champion Bubba Watson, the top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, had a 68.