Luna Rossa takes 3-0 lead over Artemis in semis: (AP) — Helmsman Chris Draper made a clutch move right before the start and sailed Italy’s Luna Rossa to victory Friday 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 Saturday on San Francisco Bay and earn a berth against Emirates Team New Zealand in the Louis Vuitton Cup final.
Unless Artemis can extend the series, its campaign will be finished after only four races. The Swedish-backed syndicate has been scrambling to catch up since May 9, when sailor Andrew “Bart” Simpson was killed in the capsize of its first boat.
Artemis was going through a slow tack during prestart maneuvers when Draper tucked the chrome-hulled Italian catamaran under the Swedish boat and into control. Luna Rossa led at every mark and won by 1 minute, 18 seconds.
It was the closest margin in the challenger series so far.
Raonic, Pospisil set up Canadian semi showdown: MONTREAL (AP) — Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil set up a semifinal showdown at the Rogers Cup.
Canada’s top two singles players won quarterfinal matches Friday, continuing a rare run of success for homegrown players at the country’s biggest tennis event.
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. Raonic, the 11th seed, rode the spirited support of the center court crowd for a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.
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 faced Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic.
Serena Williams advances to Toronto semifinals: TORONTO (AP) — Top-seeded Serena Williams eased into the Rogers Cup semifinals Friday night, overpowering Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1.
Williams, coming off a tournament victory in the Swedish Open on July 21, will face third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, a 7-6 (1), 7-5 winner over fifth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy.
In the other quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Li Na of China beat Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (1), 6-2; and Romania’s Sorana Cirstea upset sixth-seeded defending champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Lawyer: Manziel could play before inquiry is done: (AP) — The attorney for Johnny Manziel says even if the NCAA investigation of the Heisman Trophy winner isn’t completed by the start of the season the quarterback should be able to play in Texas A&M’s first game.
Jim Darnell, Manziel’s El Paso, Texas-based attorney, says he has met with Manziel and his family, but provided few details about the status or nature of the investigation.
He did say he believed that Manziel would play Aug. 31 when the Aggies open the season against Rice, but could not put a timetable on the case.
ESPN has reported the NCAA is investigating Manziel for receiving payment for signing autographs, a violation of amateurism rules that could put his eligibility in question for the coming season.
NCAA’s enforcement staff will go back to school: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA will soon be sending enforcement staff members back to school.
Interim enforcement chief Jonathan Duncan told The Associated Press it’s part of a broader plan to give investigators a firsthand glimpse into what campus leaders contend with every day.
Duncan took over as the department head in March after an embarrassing scandal led to the ouster of Julie Roe Lach.
In five months, Duncan has devised a plan that includes more intensive staff training on NCAA rules, investigation and interview techniques, and the ever-changing world of campus life. He also plans to hire a director of quality control, a newly-created position that he hopes will help improve NCAA relations with school leaders in an attempt to help restore the department’s tattered public image.
TRACK & FIELD
Bolt is always the show when he steps on the track: MOSCOW (AP) — Anytime Usain Bolt steps into the blocks he makes for compelling theater.
And track and field these days can use some drama that has nothing to do with drug tests. Doping scandals have left a cloud on the sport that Bolt can help lift with a run for gold at the world championships, which begin Saturday.
Track’s showcase event will be without plenty of headline names: Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell-Brown have recently tested positive for banned substances. Yohan Blake, Bolt’s top rival in the 100 meters and the defending champion, is out because of a hamstring injury.
Granted, in the best of circumstances, there aren’t many threats to Bolt in the 100. And about now the Jamaican’s biggest challenger may be the clock.
“After the 2012 Olympics, I was telling people who weren’t into track and field, ‘Hold onto your popcorn because next year is going to be even more exciting. We’re going to have the same people,’” American sprinter Justin Gatlin said. “Never in a million years would I think it would end up like this. I still think it’s going to be exciting.”