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Sports in brief: Tampa's Isner serves up spot in Hall of Fame semifinal


with 21 aces, isner advances to semifinal

NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner has been relying on his overpowering serve all week on Newport's grass courts — never more so than in closing out a tough first set Thursday.

Isner continued his strong run at the Hall of Fame Championships, reaching the semifinals with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win over No. 5-seeded Alex Bogomolov.

Isner, of Tampa, had 21 aces — four in the tiebreak and three in the final game — while becoming the first top-seeded player to gain the semis since Andy Murray in 2006. The No. 1-seeded player has never won the title in the tournament's 35 years.

"I served really well. That was the difference," he said. "It was huge. I felt like in the first set I played tentative. I got away with it because of my serve. I was lucky there. I need to play more aggressive."

Isner will next play eighth-seeded Tobias Kamke, who beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, in the other quarterfinal.

They will play on center court Saturday following an induction for the 2011 class. Andre Agassi headlines the class that will be enshrined during an on-court ceremony.

Swedish Open: Barbora Zahlavova Strycova reached the semifinals in Bastad after ousting second-seeded Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Zahlavova Strycova became the highest seed left at No. 7, after fourth-seeded Lourdes Dominquez Lino lost 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to Johanna Larsson.


Qatar: No change to play periods

Qatari organizers of the 2022 World Cup dismissed claims by one of its stadium engineers that FIFA could change the timing of matches to help players cope with intense heat.

Dividing matches into three 30-minute periods was never an option, Qatar officials said in a statement.

"Splitting the games held during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has not been discussed at any time," the Qatar team said. "All 64 games in 2022 will be played in carbon- neutral, cooled stadiums in two halves of 45 minutes as per regulations."

Copa America: A second-string Costa Rica boosted its chances of reaching the knockout stage of the tournament by defeating 10-man Bolivia 2-0 in Jujuy, Argentina. Costa Rica went ahead through Josue Martinez's goal in the 60th minute and put the game away with Joel Campbell's strike in the 79th. Costa Rica will take on host Argentina on Monday, knowing a draw should be enough to reach the quarters, while Colombia will face Bolivia.

et cetera

Boxing: Ricky Hatton, who has not fought since suffering a brutal second-round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in May 2009, announced his retirement. Hatton, 32, is a former junior welterweight world champion and former welterweight titleholder. He was 45-2 with 32 KOs during a career that began in 1997.

Cycling: Doctors treating Juan Mauricio Soler at St. Gallen Hospital in eastern Switzerland say he's showing signs of "serious cognitive deficits" after waking from an induced coma three weeks after crashing in the Tour of Switzerland. The 28-year-old Colombian rider crashed and fractured his skull June 16.

Pro football: The Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League added Maurice Clarett to the active roster. The former Ohio State star running back, 27, spent last season with the team.

Times wires

Sports in brief: Tampa's Isner serves up spot in Hall of Fame semifinal 07/07/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 7, 2011 11:05pm]
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