Azarenka wins, Will finish 2012 as world No. 1
ISTANBUL — Victoria Azarenka defeated Li Na 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 at the WTA Championships to clinch the year-end world No. 1 ranking Friday. She also reached the semifinals of the eight-woman, round-robin event and plays Maria Sharapova today.
"It's really an incredible achievement," Azarenka said. "It's like pretty much touching the sky."
Sharapova had kept alive her hopes earlier of being No. 1, routing Tampa resident Sam Stosur 6-0, 6-3. Azarenka won the Australian Open and has been No. 1 except for a brief period after Sharapova won the French Open.
Agnieszka Radwanska reached the semis by beating Sara Errani 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-4. She faces Serena Williams, who previously qualified, today.
Swiss Indoors: Roger Federer defeated Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-2 to reach the semis of his hometown event in Basel. Federer, 65-9 this year, faces Paul-Henri Mathieu. He edged Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4). The other semi is Juan Martin del Potro against Richard Gasquet.
Seven Tours will not have winner
Seven Tour de France titles taken from Lance Armstrong for doping will not be awarded to any riders, cycling's world governing body officially said. The UCI made the preliminary decision on Monday to leave the winner blank from 1999-2005. The UCI also said Armstrong and "all other affected riders" should return their prize money. That's about $3.85 million for Armstrong. Armstrong's attorney declined to comment.
Soccer: Five French players who went to a nightclub the night before a game must appear before the federation's disciplinary commission on Nov. 8. Yann M'Vila, Wissam Ben Yedder, Antoine Griezmann, Mbaye Niang and Chris Mavinga drove two hours to Paris and back between two Under-21 World Cup qualifiers against Norway. France won the first 1-0 but lost the second 5-3 to be eliminated.
Olympics: Police in London said a 2012 bronze medal stolen from field hockey player Hannah Macleod was returned by mail anonymously. Her medal and rower Alex Partridge's bronze medal were lost Wednesday at a nightclub after a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. Partridge's medal remains missing.
Skiing: Cold weather and snow threaten this weekend's season-opening World Cup women's giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria. Temperatures are expected to drop to 7 degrees, and snow, wind and fog might worsen conditions. Up to 15 inches of snow is expected through Sunday, which could put the men's race in doubt.