US bags spot in semi-finals
The US secured a spot in the Davis Cup semifinals on Saturday when the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan beat Spain's Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The decisive win over Spain in front of a partisan crowd left the US squad confident they'll end their 12-year Davis drought. Andy Roddick invited the fans to party with him, James Blake sounded confident and Bob Bryan went as far as to predict a title. Coupled with Friday's singles wins by Roddick and Blake, it gave the US a 3-0 lead in the best-of-five tie, putting the US players a step closer to their first Davis title since 1995.
Russia leads France 2-1
Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev gave Russia a 2-1 lead over France in the Davis Cup quarter-finals by beating Sebastien Grosjean and Michael Llodra 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in Moscow on Saturday. France, which has not lost a doubles match to Russia in six previous Davis Cup matches since 1973, was broken in the eighth game of the fifth set when Grosjean sent a forehand return wide. Andreev then served out the match at love. "We haven't played together for almost a year," Davydenko said. "We were lucky to win in five sets." The best-of-five series was scheduled to be decided yesterday in the reverse singles matches when Davydenko faced Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny took on Paul-Henri Mathieu.
■ Track and field
Trial set in doping case
A trial date has been set in the case against Trevor Graham, the elite athletics coach who helped launch the US government's probe of doping in professional sports and later became a target for allegedly lying to federal agents. Graham's trial is to begin on Sept. 24 in San Francisco federal court, US District Judge Susan Illston ruled last week. A pretrial conference is set for Sept. 11. Graham, who coached Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin and Tim Montgomery, was indicted last November on three counts of making false statements to a government agency.
Cambridge defeats Oxford
Cambridge rallied to beat Oxford for the first time in three years on Saturday in the 153rd Boat Race on the Thames in London. The more experienced and stronger Light Blue crew won by a length in almost perfect conditions on the river after initially trailing underdog Oxford. The Dark Blues of Oxford pulled ahead early on the 6.8km course after winning the toss and taking advantage of the Surrey bend. As the rowers powered to the Hammersmith Bridge, there was little to separate the crews and they came close to touching oars. But just after the halfway point at Chiswick Steps, Cambridge got into its rhythm and pulled ahead to win.
Shastri to become coach
Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri will take over as India's cricket coach when the team tours Bangladesh next month and Rahul Dravid will stay on as the captain, a senior official of India's cricket board told reporters on Saturday. The board met to discuss the debacle of the Indian team's first-round World Cup exit and to chart a course for the future after coach Greg Chappell's resignation last week. Former medium-pacer Venkatesh Prasad has been brought in as bowling coach.