Murray's U.S. Open defense ends in quarterfinal clunker
Trying to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time, and not quite two months removed from his historic Wimbledon championship, Andy Murray bowed out quickly in his U.S. Open quarterfinal, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to Stanislas Wawrinka in a result that was surprising both because of who won and by how much.
"I have had a good run the last couple of years," said the third-seeded Murray. "It's a shame I had to play a bad match today."
He managed only 15 winners, 30 fewer than Wawrinka. He tapped in second serves as slow as 75 mph, allowing Wawrinka to hit four return winners and easily take control of countless other points. Murray, one of the sport's top returners, never earned a single break point during any of Wawrinka's 14 service games.
Wawrinka reached his first career Grand Slam semifinal in his 35th appearance, at age 28. He also finally made it further at a major tournament than his Swiss Olympic teammate Roger Federer, who lost in the fourth round.
In Saturday's semifinals, Wawrinka will face No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, who reached the U.S. Open semis for the seventh consecutive year, beating 21st-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0. Djokovic is 12-2 against Wawrinka. The other men's semifinal will be No. 2 Rafael Nadal against No. 8 Richard Gasquet.
The women's semifinals are Friday, with No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 5 Li Na, and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka vs. unseeded Flavia Pennetta. Williams owns 16 Grand Slam titles; the other women own three combined.
K-State rolls in opener; Pikeville romps
Jacquise Lockett rushed for three touchdowns and fellow junior Justin Williams added two more in Kentucky State's 42-6 rout at Kentucky Wesleyan, the Thorobreds' season opener.
■ Pikeville followed up its upset of Morehead with a 56-13 shellacking of Bluefield College in the Bears' home opener.
■ Investigators in North Carolina say a Georgia-based sports agent violated sports agent laws by providing more than $20,000 in cash and benefits to former Tar Heels receiver Greg Little in 2010.
In a search warrant unsealed this week, an agent with the Secretary of State's office said Little told investigators that agent Terry Watson provided him with a monthly cash allowance of $2,200 in addition to other benefits. Little is now with the Cleveland Browns.
LaRue star Ivy Brown picks Hilltoppers
The Western Kentucky women's basketball team picked up a major commitment Wednesday from LaRue County senior guard Ivy Brown. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 22.9 points and 10 rebounds as a junior, shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from three-point range. She's considered a front-runner for the 2014 Kentucky Miss Basketball Award.
Brown said she chose WKU over Middle Tennessee, Kentucky and Tennessee Tech. "With the relationship I had with the coaching staff, I was comfortable around them all," Brown said. "Also, I really liked the players, and I felt like I could fit in with them really well."
■ Geno Auriemma will return to coach the U.S. women's basketball team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Auriemma will be the first repeat coach for the U.S. women's Olympic team, which has won a gold medal at the past five games.
■ Jim Larranaga seems set at Miami for the rest of his career. The Hurricanes coach, who turns 64 next month, received a three-year extension in what works out as a nine-year deal that runs through May 31, 2022. His team won 29 games last season, claiming the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and post-season championships, and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. He also was The Associated Press Coach of the Year.
Minor League Baseball
Legends earn community service award
The Lexington Legends have been named the Community Service Organization of the Year by the South Atlantic League. The award was presented for the first time this year, and recognizes a club's charitable and philanthropic contributions to their community. Through the first 12 years of their history, the Legends contributed more than $11 million to hundreds of charitable organizations in Central and Eastern Kentucky. The team's Community Organization of the Night program puts a charitable organization in the spotlight at every home game, and numerous special events and fund-raisers are held at Whitaker Bank Ballpark throughout the year.
Kentucky soccer men fall on the road
East Tennessee State posted a 1-0 win over the Kentucky men's soccer team in UK's 2013 road opener. Kentucky (1-1) and ETSU battled through a scoreless first half before the Bucs struck 1:20 into the second half on Thibault Civalier's goal.
■ The Sacramento Kings on Thursday hired Hall of Famer Chris Mullin as an adviser to owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Pete D'Alessandro. Mullin had been advising Ranadive since the Silicon Valley software magnate bought the team in May, including scouting ahead of the NBA Draft. Mullin was the general manager of the Warriors from 2004-09, including a playoff run in 2007 when the team upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round. He was a five-time All-Star with Golden State.
■ Hudson Swafford, Nick O'Hern, Edward Loar and Ben Kohles share the lead in the Chiquita Classic in Davidson, N.C., shooting 5-under 67 on Thursday in the first round of the Web.com Tour Finals event. The tournament is the second in the four-event series that will determine 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season.
The last word
Twins Bob and Mike Bryan were beaten Thursday in U.S. Open doubles by the veteran team of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, two matches short of sweeping the four Grand Slam tournaments in a calendar year for the first time since 1951. It was their first loss in a major tournament since Wimbledon 2012. Said Bob Bryan:
"In one sense it's a little bit of a relief where you get to kind of exhale for the first time in a few months. All this Grand Slam talk has been in the back of our head. ... It's been a great 12 months. We would have never dreamed it would have been this sweet."