Nadal, Djokovic earn semifinal date in Paris; Sharapova wins
King of clay Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the only man to beat him on European dirt this spring, set up a high-profile semifinal at the French Open in Paris with convincing straight-set wins on Wednesday.
Top seed Djokovic, who stunned the Spaniard for the Monte Carlo title six weeks ago, overcame a few tough spots at the end before finally beating Tommy Haas, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.
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Nadal moved closer to a possible eighth title at Roland Garros from the past nine editions with his defeat of Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. The win came in the wake of the Swiss star's dramatic comeback from two sets to love down in the previous round over Richard Gasquet. "Today I played my best match of the tournament," said Nadal, who first won in Paris in 2005. "Stan was maybe a bit tired from his previous, incredible win."
In the women's quarters, Maria Sharapova's title defense nearly came off the rails before the second seed cobbled together a rally to cool down red-hot Serb Jelena Jankovic, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The Russian will face former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka after the third seed beat ex-doubles partner Maria Kirilenko, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
Junior college linebacker commits to UK
Junior college linebacker Ryan Flannigan committed to play for Kentucky on Wednesday. Flannigan, who will be a sophomore at Blinn Junior College in Texas next season, was considered a three-star recruit when he was a member of the class of 2012.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder is a native of Missouri City, Texas. He becomes UK's 11th commitment from the class of 2014.
Flannigan's teammate at Blinn College — defensive back Shyquawn Pullium — committed to Kentucky on Sunday.
Rivals.com ranked Flannigan as the No. 60 outside linebacker and No. 98 player in the state of Texas in the class of 2012. ESPN rated him as the No. 40 outside linebacker and 68th-best prospect in Texas. 24/7 Sports considers Flannigan the No. 30 overall junior college player in the country and the No. 2 overall juco OLB.
Flannigan originally committed to Texas Tech, where new UK coaches Neal Brown, Tommy Mainord and Chad Scott were all on staff. He also had offers from West Virginia, Arizona, Boise State, Baylor, Arkansas and several other schools coming out of high school
Cards, Tide recognized; UK golfers excel
Alabama and Louisville are performing almost as well in the classroom as they do on the playing field.
On Wednesday, the reigning national champs in the two most visible college sports made the NCAA's honor roll for academic success. Louisville was one of 35 men's basketball teams to score between 978 and 1,000 on the annual Academic Progress Rate. Alabama was one of 13 Bowl Subdivision schools to make the cut.
In all, 976 teams made the most recent list that covered the four-year period ending in 2011-12. Alabama won the national championship then, too, and Louisville reached the Final Four. Actual scores for each school will be released Tuesday.
The most telling signal of progress may be this: Ten national champs were honored. The other winners were Alabama in men's golf, Duke in men's lacrosse, Indiana in men's soccer, Georgia in men's swimming, Michigan in men's gymnastics, Oregon in women's indoor track, Texas in women's volleyball and Yale in men's ice hockey,
The APR is billed as a real-time academic measure of every Division I team.
■ The Kentucky women's and men's golf teams were also honored for their Academic Progress Rate scores. The squads placed in the top 10 percent of Division I schools in their sports. This is the first time that two UK teams have received the award in one year. It's also the first time that a UK squad, men's golf, has won in consecutive years. The UK men's cross country team was recognized in 2010 and men's basketball earned the honor in 2009.
■ The Morehead State volleyball, women's tennis and women's track and field programs have been recognized for their APRs.
Legends' Mills extends scoreless streak
Alec Mills pitched seven shutout innings and the Lexington Legends blanked the host Savannah Sand Gnats 4-0 Wednesday night.
Mills, named Monday to the South Atlantic League Southern Division All-Star team, struck out six and walked none. He allowed seven hits. In two starts since moving from the bullpen, Mills has pitched 13 scoreless innings.
The Legends scored a run in the third when Kenny Diekroeger singled, stole second and came home on Raul Mondesi's hit.
Lexington added two runs in the sixth inning on Michael Antonio's two-run double and scored their final run in the seventh. Terrence Gore had three hits for Lexington.
Snedeker taking drug to boost rib mass
Brandt Snedeker is taking medication he injects into his stomach every night trying to increase the bone mass in his troublesome ribs that kept him from playing competitive golf earlier this year for about a month.
Snedeker said Wednesday he checked with PGA Tour officials once his doctor recommended the osteoporosis medication Forteo, which is approved for use.
"It's just a rare thing that I have," Snedeker said at the St. Jude Classic. "It's like taking an insulin shot and taking it every day. I have to travel with it. I've got to keep it refrigerated. It's probably the biggest pain of my life keeping it ... refrigerated all the time."
Snedeker started the year by finishing second to Tiger Woods in San Diego and second to Phil Mickelson in Phoenix before winning the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February to reach his highest world ranking at No. 4. Then his ribs kept him out for a month.
So Snedeker went through a battery of tests back home in Nashville. Now Snedeker is hoping the medication will help a condition that also has limited how much he has been able to practice.
"Its hopefully long-term effects can regrow some of my bone, specifically in my rib cage where they're very, very brittle comparatively speaking to the rest of my bones," Snedeker said.
Big Ben out until July after knee surgery
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent what Coach Mike Tomlin called "minor" surgery on Wednesday to deal with lingering discomfort in his right knee. The 31-year-old Roethlisberger, who will miss next week's minicamp, is expected to return when Pittsburgh opens training camp in July.
The surgery is the second one on Roethlisberger's right knee during his nine-year career. He missed four games in 2005 but came back to lead the Steelers to their fifth Super Bowl title.
■ Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens underwent heart surgery late Tuesday and the team says his early prognosis is "positive." Kitchens did not feel well and left Tuesday's practice. A CT scan at a hospital revealed a defect in his aorta.
The last word
Lightly raced Freedom Child, who drew post No. 2 for Saturday's Belmont Stakes, led throughout a 13¼-length rout in the Peter Pan Stakes in the slop May 11 at Belmont, and his connections are rooting for similar conditions. Co-owner Terry Finley, a 1996 West Point graduate, joked about using his military connections to gain an edge:
"We've already called the Pentagon and the Air Force guys and we're going to seed the clouds."