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Canadians overshadow top seeds

Sat., Aug. 10, 2013

Canada's Milos Raonic returns a ball to Latvia's Ernests Gulbis during their quarterfinal match. (Associated Press)
Canada's Milos Raonic returns a ball to Latvia's Ernests Gulbis during their quarterfinal match. (Associated Press)

Tennis: Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil set up a semifinal showdown at the Rogers Cup, overshadowing two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic and Spanish star Rafael Nadal.

Canada’s top two singles players won quarterfinal matches Friday in Montreal, continuing a rare run of success for homegrown players at the country’s biggest tennis event.

They will face each other today with a berth in the final on the line.

“I think it means a lot, not just to us, but to Canadian tennis,” Raonic said. “It’s an opportunity, a great, great moment.”

Pospisil became the first Canadian since Mike Belkin in 1969 to reach the final four of the event, once called the Canadian Open, when Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko retired due to illness. Pospisil led 3-0 in the first set when Davydenko stopped playing.

Raonic, the 11th seed, rode the spirited support of the center court crowd for a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ernests Gulbis, the Latvian player who knocked out second-seeded Andy Murray on Thursday.

In the other quarterfinals, top-seeded defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat seventh-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-1, 6-2; and fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain topped Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic 6-2, 6-4.

Serena Williams advances to semifinals: Top-seeded Serena Williams eased into the Rogers Cup semifinals in Toronto, overpowering Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1.

Williams, coming off a seventh tournament victory of the year last month in the Swedish Open, had seven aces and finished off Rybarikova in 60 minutes, 5 seconds.

The two-time Rogers Cup champion will face third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, a 7-6 (1), 7-5 winner over fifth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy.

Silver Stars earn rare win in Seattle

WNBA: Shenise Johnson scored 15 points and the San Antonio Silver Stars earned their first win in Seattle in six years, defeating the Storm 77-56.

Danielle Robinson had eight assists for San Antonio (8-14), which had lost 10 straight in Seattle.

The teams will play again in Seattle on Sunday night when San Antonio can close within one-half game of the Storm for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Shekinna Stricklen scored 16 and Tina Thompson 12 to lead Seattle (9-12).

Changes coming to Derby series

Miscellany: The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series will include 34 races, with a point system deciding which horses run in next year’s first leg of the Triple Crown.

Churchill Downs said the series has been reduced by two races. Two races – the Iroquois at Churchill and the Jerome at Aqueduct – have been added to the prep portion of the series between September and mid-February.

Three preps were removed as well as The Derby Trial, run a week before the Derby since 1982.

A sliding scale of points is awarded to the top four finishers in select races. The top 20 point-earners nominated to the Triple Crown can start in the Derby on May 3.

• Luna Rossa takes 3-0 lead over Artemis: Helmsman Chris Draper made a clutch move right before the start and sailed Italy’s Luna Rossa to victory over Artemis Racing and a 3-0 lead in the America’s Cup challenger semifinals.

Luna Rossa can wrap up the best-of-seven series today on San Francisco Bay and earn a berth against Emirates Team New Zealand in the Louis Vuitton Cup final.

• Bayern opens with victory: Defending champion Bayern Munich kicked off the German soccer season with a 3-1 victory over visiting Borussia Moenchengladbach in Berlin. It was Bayern coach Pep Guardiola’s first Bundesliga game.

Arjen Robben opened the scoring with a deft flick from Franck Ribery’s pass in the 12th minute, Mario Mandzukic pounced to make it 2-0 4 minutes later, and David Alaba sealed the result with a penalty in the 69th, after Dante’s own goal had given his former team some hope in the 40th.

Matthews wins another stage in Utah

Cycling: Australia’s Michael Matthews raced to his second stage victory in the Tour of Utah, sprinting uphill to edge Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet at the finish line in Salt Lake City.

Matthews, riding for Orica GreenEdge, also won the second stage.

Australia’s Lachlan Morton remained atop the overall standings, 19 seconds ahead of Van Avermaet.

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