Brands shocks Tipsarevic
Germany’s Daniel Brands pulled off a shock victory to reach the semi-finals of the ATP clay-court event in Munich on Friday as he edged out top seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Brands, the world No. 69, is to face countryman and titleholder Philipp Kohlschreiber for a place in the final, while Tommy Haas, the third German left in the draw, is to play Croatian Ivan Dodig. Kohlschreiber took another step towards his quest for a third triumph in Munich after beating Viktor Troicki 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), having also lifted the trophy in 2007. Meanwhile, the 35-year-old Haas disposed of compatriot Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1 to set up a last-four meeting with Dodig, who brushed aside Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-4.
‘Les Verts’ suffer blow
AS Saint-Etienne’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League suffered a blow when they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to mid-table Girondins de Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Friday. Les Verts stayed in fourth place on 59 points with three games left, one point behind archrivals Olympique Lyonnais, who visit relegation-threatened AS Nancy-Lorraine today. The top two teams in Ligue 1 qualify directly for the Champions League group stage, while the third-placed side go into the third qualifying round. Bordeaux remain eighth on 49 points.
Drivers could face bans
Reckless Formula One drivers have been warned that the introduction of a “football-style” penalty points system may lead to them facing race bans in future. Discussions into the viability of a revised punishment system for dangerous or other irregular driving are expected to take place at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix and could be introduced later this year. International Motoring Federation race director Charlie Whiting is due to meet the teams at a meeting of the Sporting Working Group think tank ahead of the Barcelona race to discuss potential future rule changes. “It’s a complex question and we need to get the balance right because banning a driver is a serious issue,” he said. “We need to make sure a driver genuinely deserves any ban. We will be monitoring offences and running a [hypothetical] system in the background to see how it would all work if put into practice. We need to do that for a while.” Last season, several serial offenders on the track emerged after a spate of first-lap accidents and later collisions, and other incidents. They included Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Williams, who was involved in several crashes, and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus, who was in seven opening-lap crashes in 12 races.
Schalke get boost
Julian Draxler struck late in the game to give Schalke 04 a 1-0 win at fading Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday, boosting their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season. The winning goal came after Schalke goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand rolled the ball to a defender and they broke quickly down the left hand side. An exchange of passes ended with Raffael slipping the ball between three defenders for Draxler, 19, to fire past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for his ninth goal of the league season. Schalke, who are fourth in the Champions League playoff spot, have 52 points from 32 games, four behind third-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen and six ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt in fifth.