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International Sport Briefs

Thursday, June 05, 2014    

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Nadal back in French Open semis for 9th time

PARIS, France (AP) — Rafael Nadal rallied to advance to the French Open semifinals for the ninth time, beating David Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 yesterday.

The eight-time champion at Roland Garros lost the first set, but then seemed to race through the next three to ensure he had the day off today.

Nadal will face either Andy Murray or Gael Monfils in the semi-finals, a match that was underway at press time.

Nadal improved his record to 64-1 at the French Open, and stretched his unbeaten streak to 33. His only loss came in the fourth round of the 2009 tournament, when Robin Soderling beat him.

Petkovic maintains remarkable run in France

PARIS, France (AFP) — Andrea Petkovic kept her remarkable run at the French Open on track yesterday as she crushed Italian 10th seed Sara Errani to set up a last four clash against Simona Halep.

The German, who slumped to 177 in the world following a spate of injuries that almost forced her to give up the game and fell in qualifying at Roland Garros 12 months ago, sailed past 2012 finalist Errani 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour.

Halep, the highest seed remaining in the draw at number four, also reached her first Grand Slam semi-final as she brushed aside 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia by the same 6-2, 6-2 scoreline.

Petkovic becomes the first German woman to reach the French Open semi-finals since 1999 when Steffi Graf went on to win the last of her Open era record of 22 Grand Slams.

Her delight after sealing the match was obvious as the ball sailed out.

"I saw the ball, and it was so slow. I just prayed to God that it went out, because I didn't want to smash that ball," she said.

"I thought about, Should I take it as a drive volley or should I smash it? I was just praying that it went out. I was like, please, please, please, please, please'".

Spurs' Parker is a go for Game One of NBA Finals

SAN ANTONIO, USA (AP) — Tony Parker's left ankle is ready for the NBA Finals.

The San Antonio point guard has pronounced himself ready to go for tonight's Game One of the title series against the Miami Heat, after spending much of the last few days recovering from a sprain.

Parker acknowledged that he still has some concerns about how the ankle will hold up over the course of the Finals. He indicated in recent days that treatment has helped considerably.

"I'm trying to be very positive," Parker said. "I'm trying to do everything I can, eat healthy, get my rest, go through treatment and just trust my body. I've been going for four years nonstop since 2010, no vacation. ... But I'm still here and I trust my body to hold up for the whole series."

The Heat expect nothing less than the best of Parker.

"Definitely, he'll be 100 per cent," Heat guard Mario Chalmers said. "I doubt he'll sit out any time during the Finals."

Parker sprained the ankle in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City, then aggravated the injury in Game Five of that series. He tried to play in Game Six and made it through the first half, before the Spurs decided at half-time that his night was over.

San Antonio were outscored by 11 points when Parker was on the floor in Game Six against the Thunder, and rallied in the second half anyway. The Spurs scored 37 points in the third quarter — their second-highest total during that period in 100 games this season — and went on to win in overtime to clinch their second straight trip to the finals.

Durant, James lead All-NBA selections

NEW YORK, USA (AP) — Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant has capped his MVP season by being the lone unanimous choice to the All-NBA first team.

Durant was a first-teamer on all 125 ballots, and made the top squad for the fifth time. Miami's LeBron James got 124 first-team votes on the way to being selected for the eighth time, while the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul earned his fourth first-team selection.

Houston's James Harden and Chicago's Joakim Noah are first-time first-team choices.

Second-team All-NBA selections were San Antonio's Tony Parker, Golden State's Stephen Curry, the Clippers' Blake Griffin, Houston's Dwight Howard and Minnesota's Kevin Love.

Portland's Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, Phoenix's Goran Dragic, Indiana's Paul George and Charlotte's Al Jefferson were third-team selections.

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