Andy Roddick ran into a bold, bigger version of himself at the US Open, and 2m Joachim Johansson sent the defending champion home. \nRoddick was upset 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4 Thursday night by another 22-year-old brandishing a powerful serve and forehand, but also someone who's won just one title, was playing in his first major quarterfinal, and who started the year ranked 113th. \nNot only that, but Johansson never had played a five-set match before. Yet there he was, smacking serves at 141mph, outslugging the American from the baseline during extended exchanges, saving two break points late, and ending the match by breaking Roddick. \nFar less surprising was Andre Agassi's exit earlier Thursday. That's because he was up against No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland, who won 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in a quarterfinal suspended by rain early in the fourth set the night before and wrapped up in the worst of swirling winds. \nIt's the first time since 1986 that no American man reached the Open semifinals. \nFederer will face No. 5 Tim Henman of Britain, while Johansson, having eliminated the 2003 Open winner, goes up against the 2001 champion, Lleyton Hewitt of Australia -- whose sister Jaslyn just happens to be the 28th-seeded Swede's girlfriend. \nThat should make for interesting dinner conversation. \nJohansson played pretty much perfectly for the first two sets and threw Roddick off his game. Twice, Johansson held serve after being down love-40; once, he broke Roddick after trailing 40-love. \nIn the final game of the match, No. 2 Roddick fell behind love-40 with a double-fault, saved two match points thanks to big serves, then sailed a backhand long on the third. Up at the net for a postmatch handshake, the 6-2 Roddick reached up to tap Johansson on the chest. \nRoddick found himself playing the way opponents try to negate his power-packed game, standing way behind the baseline, resorting to guesswork on returns, and hitting to the backhand. After dumping one return into the net, Roddick flipped his racket in the air and lamented, "Oh, my God!" \nAnd Roddick seemed generally uncomfortable, arguing the occasional call, questioning a line judge's positioning, and standing with hands on hips as if he didn't want to leave the court for what turned out to be a 55-minute rain delay right after being broken to 3-2 in the first set. \nWhen they returned to action, Roddick missed a backhand on the first point, then pointed and snapped "Sit down!" at spectators slow getting to their seats. Johansson went on to win the first set with a running forehand winner down the line. \nAt one moment in the fifth set, while Roddick was needling the chair umpire, his coach, Brad Gilbert, pointed both index fingers to his temples. The message was clear: "Keep your head in the game." \nJohansson was flawless in the first two sets. In the third and fourth sets, it was Roddick's turn to be brilliant, with a total of three unforced errors. Yes, three. Actually, Roddick won far more points: 152 to 128. But he converted only three of 15 break chances. \nBoth pounded aces, with Johansson finishing with 30 to raise his tournament-leading total to 109, while Roddick had 34. \nThe players know each other and each other's games well. While this was just their second meeting as pros, they met three times as juniors, and reached the 18-and-under doubles final together at the 2000 French Open. \nJohansson inherited some of his abilities: His father, Leif, was Bjorn Borg's teammate on Sweden's 1974 Davis Cup team. And little Joachim -- surely, he was little at one time -- got to practice with Borg as a tyke. \nWell, he's all grown up now. Roddick came into the match having been broken just once in 50 service games during the Open. It took less than 20 minutes for Johansson to do it. \nIn the second set, Roddick had Johansson at love-40 in the second game, but the Swede saved the break points with a 132mph ace, a 110mph ace and a 133mph service winner. In the next game, Roddick took a 40-love lead on his serve and lost the next five points, with Johansson seizing a 2-1 edge with a forehand. \nServing for the second set, Johansson fell behind love-40 again -- and got out of it again, this time finishing with the flourish of a 136 mph service winner. The match was 75 minutes old, and already Roddick had lost two sets (two more than he had all tournament before Thursday), had been broken twice and had gone 0-for-7 on his break chances. \nRoddick walked to his chair, slammed his racket down and looked up at Gilbert, who was biting his nails, while the partisan fans sat in stunned silence. \nJohansson couldn't possibly keep playing this well, could he? \nAnd then, 56 minutes later, it was two sets all. From that second break, Roddick went on a roll where he won 44 of 46 points on his serve, including 29 straight. He also, finally, began to get somewhere on Johansson's serve, breaking him for a 2-0 edge in the third set by closing an 18-stroke point with a volley winner. \nHe rocked back on his heels, pumping both arms and screaming, as much to the fairly subdued crowd as to himself: "Come on! Let's go!" \nHours earlier, Agassi sat alone, starting blankly at an Arthur Ashe Stadium doorway, the silence punctured by the rustling leaves on nearby trees. \nSoon, he'd walk through that exit, his US Open done. In those idle moments on a lobby bench, there was plenty for the 34-year-old Agassi to contemplate. \n"My game plan is to play until I can't do it," Agassi said. "I certainly want to be able to assess my level of play, and at some point my level of play will dictate my decisions. But as of right now, I'm trying to win tournaments, and I believe that with that focus, I can still do that." \nMartina Navratilova's run at this US Open ended when she lost in the mixed doubles semifinals on Thursday. Whether she'll return to Flushing Meadows or retire, that decision will come later. \n"This might be my last US Open or it might not," she said. "I'm not definite, one way or another." \nAt 47, Navratilova was hoping to add to her total of 58 Grand Slam championships. But she lost with Lisa Raymond in doubles in the quarterfinals, and was eliminated with Leander Paes of India 10-3 in a third-set super-tiebreaker by Australians Alicia Molik and Todd Woodbridge. \n"We outplayed them for the match, and we lose. It's pretty much what happened in our doubles as well. Pretty frustrating for me," she said. \nNavratilova has won 167 titles in singles and 174 in doubles. Only one of those victories came this year, in a doubles tournament in Vienna. She lost at the Olympics in the quarterfinals. \n"I'm playing better tennis than I did last year. The game is better, but the results are worse," she said. "Very consistent, but not enough wins certainly." \nNavratilova and Paes won the first set 6-4 and then lost 3-6, forcing the tiebreaker. \nFed Cup \nBeginning next year, the Fed Cup will move from November to September and be played the week after the US Open. \nThe Fed Cup change follows a four-year extension of the agreement between the International Tennis Federation and the WTA. \n"This agreement continues the long history of cooperation that exists between the ITF and the WTA Tour," said Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the ITF. \n"We are delighted we were able to find a way to shorten the season, a goal for both the ITF and the WTA Tour, and to strengthen Fed Cup with better positioning within the calendar." \nTournament categories will be condensed from five tiers. The WTA hopes the new tier of mandatory events will lead to greater rivalries. \nThe simplified ranking could eliminate situations such as the current one where Amelie Mauresmo, a quarterfinal loser at the US Open, can be No. 1 after the tournament should Lindsay Davenport lose in either the semifinal or final.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on