UK's Quigley advancesto NCAA men's singles semis
Kentucky's Eric Quigley became the third player in school history to advance to the NCAA Singles Championship Final Four after defeating No. 5 Henrique Cunha of Duke 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
The Pewee Valley native is now 53-7 on the season, moving his career record to 171-46 — both school records.
Never miss a local story.
"I play my best when I am not tense or thinking too much about what is ahead," Quigley said after the match. "I wanted to make sure that I was relaxed out there today and that I stayed aggressive. I have a lot of confidence right now and I am just trying to keep that going."
Quigley, seeded third in the tournament, will face No. 9 Blaz Rola of Ohio State in the semifinals Sunday. The two have not faced each other this season but met twice last season with each player earning a win.
UK's top doubles duo of Quigley and sophomore Panav Jha could not continue their impressive run in the doubles event, falling in the quarterfinals to the nation's top-ranked duo of Rola and Chase Buchanan of Ohio State, 6-3, 6-4. Quigley and Jha, ranked seventh in the nation in doubles, finished the season 22-13.
■ Novak Djokovic has won his last 21 Grand Slam matches, earning titles at Wimbledon in July, the U.S. Open in September and the Australian Open in January. If he can prolong that run on the red clay of Roland Garros over the coming two weeks, Djokovic will become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four consecutive major tennis tournaments. The French Open starts Sunday.
Djokovic says winning a fourth Grand Slam title in a row "would definitely mean the world to me" but he's tried to avoid thinking about it because he doesn't "want to put too much pressure" on himself.
■ Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat Simona Halep of Romania 7-5, 6-0 to win the Belgian Open. It was Radwanska's third victory of the season.
Liukin medals in comeback event
Olympic champion Nastia Liukin tied for third on balance beam in her first competition in three years Saturday night. She scored a 14.9 at the U.S. Classic, finishing 0.10 points behind reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman.
It was the only event Liukin did, but it was enough to let everyone know she hasn't lost any of the skills or elegant style that earned her five medals at the Beijing Games.
"I finally felt like I got back in the groove of things," she said. "It was like, 'OK, this is happening, this is real.'"
When Liukin, 22, was introduced as the bronze medalist, she was greeted with ear-splitting shrieks and cheers. Raisman, a member of the U.S. squad that won the team title at the world championships last fall, won her second straight title at the U.S. Classic.
Next up is the U.S. championships, June 7-10 in St. Louis, where Liukin plans to add uneven bars — her signature event and the event she needs to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. The Olympic trials are June 28-July 1 in San Jose, Calif.
■ Chellsie Memmel's latest comeback attempt is over. Probably her competitive gymnastics career, too. The 2005 world champion's petition to compete next month in the national championships was rejected after she fell twice on balance beam and scored an 11.950 at the U.S. Classic. The selection committee had set a qualifying score of 14 points for gymnasts only doing one event at the meet.
Pants On Fire takes Skip Away Stakes
Pants On Fire took the lead early and beat Norman Asbjornson by a length Saturday in the $75,000 Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth Park. Ridden by Paco Lopez, Pants On Fire covered 1 1⁄16 miles in 1:43.56. The Kelly Breen-trained 4-year-old returned $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 in winning for the second time this year.
■ In the $60,000 Lamplighter Stakes, Malibu Way and jockey Joe Bravo rallied through the stretch to edge Heavy Breathing by a neck. The Christophe Clement-trained winner ran 1 1⁄16 miles on the turf in 1:42.1 and returned $6.60, $3 and $2.60 in winning for the second time in three career starts.
■ Canadian-based Simmard took the lead at the head of the stretch and turned back a late charge by Joinem to win the 75th running of the Grade III, $115,200 Louisville Handicap by 1¼ lengths Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Simmard's final time of 2:27.16 for the 1½ miles over a firm Matt Winn Turf Course was a stakes record, which eclipsed Drilling for Oil's mark of 2:28.35 in 2007. Simmard paid $9.40, $4.40 and $2.60 as the 7-2 second betting choice.
Donovan gets hat trick against Scotland
Landon Donovan returned to the U.S. national team following an eight-month absence and scored his first international hat trick in five years, leading the Americans over Scotland 5-1 in an exhibition game Saturday night.
Donovan scored in the third minute, then added a pair of second-half goals for his third international hat trick, raising his career total to 49 goals. It was a record 125th start for Donovan, one more than the previous American mark set by defender Jeff Agoos.
Michael Bradley scored on a 30-yard shot half-volley in the 10th minute and Jermaine Jones got his second international goal in the second half off an assist from Donovan, who had skipped eight matches because of injuries and commitments to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The U.S. has won five straight following an 0-4-1 start under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who replaced Bob Bradley after the 4-2 loss to Mexico in last year's Gold Cup finals.
Clint Dempsey — who has not played together with Donovan under Klinsmann — missed the match while recovering from a groin strain.
The last word
Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning as the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Saturday. Toronto had taken a 7-5 lead in the top of the inning, but reliever Justin Frasor couldn't hold on to it. Said Frasor:
"It happened so fast. It was just walk-hit-homer and it was over."