Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

Sports in brief

tennis

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."

OBITUARY

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.

soccer

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

Comments

Boys basketball: Lakewood 45, Gibbs 44

ST. PETERSBURG — Once the lights dimmed in the gymnasium and the capacity crowd dispersed, Lakewood coach Anthony Lawrence spotted Gibbs coach Larry Murphy strolling past the the bleachers."Hey, Murph. Do we have to do this every time?" Lawrenc...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Boys basketball: Nature Coast 78, Central 29

Boys basketball: Nature Coast 78, Central 29

BROOKSVILLE – Once again supporting its place as the top program in Hernando County, Nature Coast maintained its undefeated record in a dominant win over rival Central.While the Bears were able to upset the Sharks to win the Class 6A, District ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Girls basketball: Plant 66, Steinbrenner 31

LUTZ — Here's some discouraging news for any team that has to play Plant this season or in the next few seasons: The Panthers beat Steinbrenner 66-31 Friday night. Of those 66 points, 48 were scored by a sophomore and two freshmen.Freshman powe...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Boys basketball: Plant City 79, Tampa Bay Tech 74

Boys basketball: Plant City 79, Tampa Bay Tech 74

TAMPA — Traveling to play at Tampa Bay Tech is a test for any area basketball team these days because the Titans are tough and the crowd is loud.Plant City prepared for all of the above, answered most of the questions and passed the exam Friday...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Friday, saying that reports that Winst...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Westbrook, Embiid put on show in triple OT thriller

Westbrook, Embiid put on show in triple OT thriller

PHILADELPHIA — Russell Westbrook had 27 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists, and the Thunder and the 76ers went basket-for-basket in a three-overtime thriller before Oklahoma City pulled out a 119-117 victory Friday night. Andre Roberson scored the wi...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 15

Friday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 7, Clearwater 0Osceola 9, Bradenton Bayshore 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Plant 1Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 0, Plant 0Lennard 4, Armwood 1
Updated: 2 hours ago

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingMiddleweights: Lemieux vs. Saunders9:30 p.m.HBOCollege basketballButler vs. PurduenoonFoxMiami at George WashingtonnoonCBSSNLouisville vs. MemphisnoonESPN2Detroit vs. MichigannoonESPNUNC-Greensboro at N.C. StatenoonFSFSeton Hall at Rutgers...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan took a nasty spill into the boards Thursday night, it didn't look good.Turns out, it wasn't. Callahan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper body injury, evaluated after three to four weeks, per GM Steve Yzerma...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rangers hold off Pacific-leading Kings

Rangers hold off Pacific-leading Kings

NEW YORK — Rick Nash scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:27 left to lead the Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Pacific Division-leading Kings on Friday night. Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller scored to help New York win for the second time i...
Updated: 3 hours ago