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Sports in brief


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djokovic, nadal to meet in semis

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Novak Djokovic dominated both tiebreakers to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2) Friday and reach the semifinals of the Paribas Open, where he will meet Rafael Nadal in a matchup of players who have won a combined seven titles in the California desert.

Nadal, seeded fourth, defeated No. 5 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-3, connecting on 89 percent of his first serves in the match played in 91 degree heat under a relentless sun.

"My return was important," Nadal said. "At the same time, my serve was enough good for this match."

Djokovic, the defending champion and top seed, led 5-4 in the second set and had two match points on No. 7 Tsonga's serve in the 10th game.

But Tsonga pulled out a big serve to hold at 5-all. Tsonga came up with another key hold at 6-all to force another tiebreak.

In women's semifinals later, top seed Serena Williams played No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 13 Victoria Azarenka faced No. 18 Karolina Pliskova.


Barcelona gets Atletico Madrid in CL quarters

Defending champion Barcelona will play Atletico Madrid in an all-Spanish quarterfinal in the Champions League. Barcelona is trying to be the first team to retain the title since the format was created 24 years ago.

Real Madrid was drawn against Wolfsburg, which has never before played in the quarterfinals. Bayern Munich will face Benfica, and Paris Saint-Germain will play Manchester City. The first leg is April 5-6, the second leg a week later.

Europa League: Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool will meet in the quarterfinals in a match between manager Juergen Klopp's former and current clubs. Sevilla, seeking a third straight title, was drawn against Athletic Bilbao in an all-Spanish contest. Villarreal, the third Spanish team in the quarter, will play Sparta Prague, and Braga will take on Shakhtar Donetsk. The first leg is April 7, the second leg April 14. … Europe's governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United and Liverpool for fan problems in their game Thursday. UEFA charged both teams with crowd disturbances and throwing objects after scuffles late in the match, which Liverpool won 3-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw. Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs.

et cetera

College football: Miami dismissed kickoff specialist Jon Semerene for "conduct detrimental to the team and to others," coach Mark Richt said. No details were given.

College hockey: Top-seeded Boston College beat unseeded Clarkson 3-2 in overtime and No. 3 Minnesota beat No. 2 Wisconsin 3-2 in overtime to advance to the women's NCAA title game Sunday in Durham, N.H. … Wisconsin fired men's coach Mike Eaves, who led the Badgers for 14 seasons and won a national title in 2006. Eaves also took the Badgers to the title game in 2010, but they have struggled the past two seasons. The Badgers finished 8-19-8 this season with a loss to Penn State in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. Wisconsin is the host school for this year's Frozen Four at Amalie Arena next month.

College wrestling: No. 1 Penn State sent five wrestlers to the NCAA championship finals and extended its lead in the team standings at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Horses: Todd Pletcher became the 10th thoroughbred trainer to reach 4,000 wins when Eagle Scout won the fifth race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. Pletcher, 48, already is the No. 1 trainer in earnings, with more than $311 million in purse money over a career that began in 1995. Among his Kentucky Derby contenders this year is Destin, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12 at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar.

Times wires

Sports in brief 03/18/16 [Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2016 11:20pm]
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© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


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  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.