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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Jan. 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Djokovic notches another win in Australia

MELBOURNE, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Novak Djokovic ran his Australian Open winning streak to 17 matches with a third-round win Friday.

Djokovic is seeking a third consecutive Australian Open title. He would be the first to do that since Roy Emerson won five straight (1963-67). Djokovic Friday defeated No. 31-seeded Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in his latest step toward that feat.

Djokovic saved both break points he faced and had just 19 unforced errors -- Stepanek had 37 -- over the 192-point match. Djokovic took nearly 80 percent of the points on serve.

He advanced to a fourth-round match against 15th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, who outlasted No. 20 Sam Querrey 7-6 (8-6), 7-5, 6-4. Wawrinka ended up winning just six more points (111-105) than Querrey but still moved on without dropping a set.

No. 4-seeded David Ferrer took out 28th-seeded Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, allowing Baghdatis just 16 winners. Ferrer had a pair of breaks in each set.

Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych defeated No. 26 Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 behind a 12-ace attack. He did drop the only break point he faced but still won 75 percent of the points on serve.

Eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic rallied for a 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 decision over No. 32 Julien Benneteau over 3 1/2 hours. Tipsarevic had a narrow 138-136 edge in overall points won but had the only breaks over the last two sets to advance.

No. 10-seeded Nicolas Almagro topped 24th-seeded Jerzy Janowicz 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 while No. 16 Kei Nishikori beat Evgeny Donskoy 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 6-3 and unseeded Kevin Anderson ousted 22nd-seeded Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.


Sharapova continues strong Australian run

MELBOURNE, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- World No. 2 Maria Sharapova lost her first games of the 2013 Australian Open Friday but gained the fourth round with a straight-set win over Venus Williams.

Sharapova posted consecutive 6-0, 6-0 wins in the first two rounds and ran her game-winning streak to 28 before losing her first of the tournament. Still she went on to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over the No. 25-seeded Williams.

After dropping that game, Sharapova won the next five for a 3-0 lead in the second set. Williams staved off elimination by breaking Sharapova's serve to get to 2-5, but two games later Sharapova was through the round.

She won 60 percent of the points in the match, including 56 percent when Williams, who had 26 unforced errors, served. That allowed Sharapova to pile up five breaks in eight games.

Only one unseeded player advanced to the fourth round in the lower half of the women's draw. Kirsten Flipkens beat Valeria Savinykh, also unseeded, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 behind six breaks. Flipkens draws Sharapova in the next round.

Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska had little trouble getting by Heather Watson 6-3, 6-1 in her Friday match. Radwanska had five aces, with no double faults, and only 13 unforced errors. Radwanska is 12-0 in matches and hasn't dropped a set in 2013.

Fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber marked her 25th birthday with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Madison Keys and No. 6 Li Na had seven breaks in a 6-4, 6-1 win over 27th-seeded Sorana Cirstea.

No. 19-seeded Ekaterina Makarova pulled a small upset with a 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-4 win over 11th-seeded Marion Bartoli that took nearly 3 hours.

Ana Ivanovic, the 13th-seed, stopped No. 22 Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-3 and No. 18-seeded Julia Goerges got by Zheng Jie 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 despite 56 unforced errors.


Gentry out as coach of Suns

PHOENIX, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The Phoenix Suns announced Friday that Alvin Gentry is out as head coach after five seasons.

The team and Gentry "have mutually agreed to part ways," a Suns statement said.

The NBA team is 13-28 this season.

An interim coach was to be named soon, the team said.

The Suns don't play again until Wednesday.

The 58-year-old Gentry, who became interim and then head coach in 2009, has a 158-144 record with the Suns.

Gentry was in the final year of his contract with the Phoenix club.

He previously coached Detroit, Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers.


Critics unmoved by Armstrong's interview

CHICAGO, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Critics of disgraced former cycling champion Lance Armstrong appear unmoved by his interview with U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Armstrong told Winfrey he used banned substances and blood transfusions in all of his Tour de France wins, calling it "one big lie" that became too big to sustain.

Armstrong, stripped of his seven Tour titles last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency determined he led "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," admitted to using erythropoietin, cortisone, testosterone, human growth hormone and other banned drugs.

He told Winfrey he didn't believe it would have been "humanly possible" to achieve his success without cheating, but he believed he was operating on a "level playing field."

Betsy Andreu, wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, told CNN she expected more from the interview.

Armstrong attacked the couple after she said she had heard him admitting to doctors treating him for cancer that he had taken drugs to enhance his racing performance.

"This was a guy who used to be my friend, who decimated me," Andreu said. "He could have come clean. He owed it to me. He owes it to the sport that he destroyed."

Scott Allison, a University of Richmond professor who has studied heroes who have fallen from grace, compared Armstrong to another sports idol, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"It kind of reminded me of Tiger Woods coming clean," Allison said. "For people like Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong, it's so foreign to admit wrongdoing that they are out of their element. ... It can come across as robotic."

Christine Brennan, an ABC News consultant who writes a column for USA Today, said Armstrong may have done the Winfrey interview too soon.

"It was a lose-lose going in. I think he did more harm than good to his reputation, and he just looked cold-blooded and cutthroat, and ruthless," Brennan said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

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