Novak Djokovic heard what Andy Roddick said about him and didn’t like it one bit.
Still, as much motivation as Djokovic might have had in their U.S. Open quarterfinal Thursday night, Roddick’s own unusual serving miscues had a lot to do with the 2003 champion’s 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) loss.
Two points from forcing a fifth set at 5-4 in the fourth, Roddick double-faulted twice in a row and was broken for the fifth time – twice more than he lost serve in his first four matches combined.
In his prior match, a five-set ordeal Tuesday against No. 15 Tommy Robredo, Djokovic called for the trainer more than once as he dealt with hip, ankle, stomach and breathing issues.
Asked then about Djokovic’s problems, Roddick kidded around, checking whether the list shouldn’t also include bird flu, anthrax, SARS and a common cold.
“That’s not nice anyhow to say in front of this crowd that I have 16 injuries and that I’m faking,” Djokovic said during a postmatch interview.
The third-seeded Djokovic advanced to a semifinal meeting against Roger Federer. It’s a rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, which Federer won for his fourth consecutive title at Flushing Meadows.
Federer beat qualifier Gilles Muller 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5), extending his record by reaching the semifinals at an 18th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.
South Carolina upset
Chris Nickson threw for a touchdown and ran for another and Vanderbilt finally beat a ranked opponent on its field, upsetting No. 24 South Carolina 24-17 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
The Commodores hadn’t upset a ranked team in Nashville, Tenn., since Sept. 19, 1992, a 31-9 win over then-No. 25 Mississippi.
•Penn State player booted: A Penn State player has been kicked off the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and three others will miss this weekend’s game against Oregon State because of a separate, off-field issue coach Joe Paterno said.
Reserve defensive back Willie Harriott is off the squad and defensive linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma, and tight end Andrew Quarless will sit out of Saturday’s game.
Storm clinch berth
Sue Bird scored 19 points to help the Seattle Storm clinch a playoff berth with a 70-62 victory over the Chicago Sky in Chicago.
Camille Little had 13 points and Yolanda Griffith added 10 for Seattle, which moved into sole possession of first place in the West and secured a fifth straight trip to the postseason.
The Storm won for the third time in four games since the Olympic break and improved to 6-3 without reigning MVP Lauren Jackson, who is out for the rest of the regular season after having arthroscopic surgery on her ankle.
KHL points finger
A newly formed Russian hockey league accused the NHL of poaching two of its players when the Los Angeles Kings agreed to terms with two draft prospects last week.
As a result the Continental Hockey League (KHL) announced that it was no longer obligated to abide by a moratorium reached in July, when the leagues agreed against signing players that were under contract.
In a news release, the KHL said the NHL violated that agreement when the Kings signed 2008 second-round draft pick, defenseman Vjateslav Voinov, and 2008 fifth-round pick, center Andrei Loktionov, on Aug. 27. The KHL said Voinov is under contract with Chelyabinsk while Loktionov is under contract with Yaroslavl.
•Stewart, Logano avoid probation: Tony Stewart and Joey Logano will not be on probation in the NASCAR Nationwide Series after all.
A three-man panel of the National Stock Car Racing Commission issued a decision Wednesday rescinding the probation handed down to the drivers – which they appealed – after the Joe Gibbs Racing team was caught trying to manipulate an engine horsepower test after the Nationwide race at Michigan last month. The rest of the penalties remain intact.
•First round of BMW rained out: The first round of the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship was rained out in St. Louis. The round of the tournament was postponed until today, with 36 holes on Saturday to get back on schedule.
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