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Sports in brief


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djokovic, federer in semis

LONDON — Novak Djokovic reached the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals by extending his dominance over Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 7-5 Thursday in their last round-robin match to stay on course for a fourth straight title.

Roger Federer overcame Kei Nishikori 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to finish the round-robin stage unbeaten and claim first place in the group.

Djokovic is 21-2 all-time against Berdych.

He faces Rafael Nadal on Saturday. The Spaniard has beaten Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka in the other group as he continues a late-season resurgence.

"It's a fact that he's been playing better and he's been raising his level ever since the U.S. Open," Djokovic said of Nadal. "I know that, I've been watching."

Federer, playing with a weeklong stubble, faced more questions after the match about his beard than about getting his serve broken five times. Will it stay if he keeps winning?

"If it itches too much, I'll take it off," Federer said. "If my girls can't stand it, I'll take it off. If I look in the mirror and I don't like it, I'll take it off. Maybe I'll think of Santa and keep it."

As for his wife, Mirka, "she's fine with it. I do make decisions by myself sometimes."


Whitfield, gold medalist and Tuskegee Airman, dies at 91

Mal Whitfield, a sleek middle-distance runner who won three Olympic gold medals for the United States, at one point as a Tuskegee Airman, and later became a U.S. goodwill ambassador promoting athletics abroad, died in Washington. He was 91. His daughter Fredricka Whitfield, an anchor at CNN, confirmed his death. Orphaned as a child in Los Angeles, Mr. Whitfield set records while running for Ohio State. During World War II he was a member of the racially segregated Tuskegee Airmen, part of the U.S. Army Air Forces. In Korea, he once trained for the Games between bombing missions, running on runways at night with a .45-caliber automatic strapped to his side. He was a staff sergeant when he set an Olympic record in the 800 meters at the 1948 London Games. He won another gold in the same Olympics anchoring the 4x400 relay. Four years later, at the Helsinki Games, he won the 800 again.


Orlando a site for next year's Copa America Centenario

The Citrus Bowl in Orlando is among the 10 venues announced for the June 3-26, 2016 Copa America Centenario. The 16-team tournament includes Argentina, Brazil and the rest of the 10 members of the South American confederation, known as CONMEBOL, plus six teams from CONCACAF: the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and the winners of playoffs between Cuba and Panama, and Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago.

MORE SOCCER: New York's Luis Robles was voted MLS's goalkeeper of the year. … The French national anthem will be played at all games in the English Premier League this weekend as an act of remembrance and solidarity with France after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

et cetera

DOPING: The International Weightlifting Federation ruled that Bulgaria is not eligible to participate the 2016 Olympics because of its steroids doping record. ... Spain's Marta Dominguez was banned for three years and stripped of her 2009 world steeplechase title for blood doping.

SKIING: The U.S. team will honor two prospects killed in an avalanche in January by naming them to the squad this season. The team will recognize Bryce Astle, 19, and Ronnie Berlack, 20, during a ceremony Saturday.

Times wires

Sports in brief 11/19/15 [Last modified: Thursday, November 19, 2015 11:06pm]
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