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Federer cruises to final in Japan

By TIMES WIRES
Published October 8, 2006


TOKYO - Top-ranked Roger Federer easily defeated Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to advance to his first Japan Open final.

Federer barely broke a sweat in the match and was never seriously challenged by the 14th-seeded Becker, who beat Andre Agassi at the U.S. Open last month to send the eight-time Grand Slam winner into retirement.

Federer meets Tim Henman in today's final at Ariake Colosseum. Henman, who is chasing his first title this year, posted a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) win over ninth-seeded Lee Hyung-taik.

Federer broke Becker in the first set to go up 2-0, and the first of eight aces gave him a commanding 3-0 lead.

"I didn't get a break behind," Federer said. "Once I got the break, I was in control and then just tried to get a lot of first serves in. I didn't make any mistakes on my serve, and that was pretty much what it came down to."

In the women's singles semifinals, top-seeded Marion Bartoli trounced Camille Pin 6-0, 6-1 to set up a finals matchup with Aiko Nakamura, who defeated Chan Yung-jan 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-4.

OPEN DE MOSELLE: Jurgen Melzer advanced to today's final in Metz, France, beating Marc Gicquel 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. He faces Novak Djokovic, the only seeded player to reach the tournament's quarterfinals. The third-seeded Djokovic edged Sebastien Grosjean 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.

PORSCHE GRAND PRIX: Fourth-seeded Nadia Petrova defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 to reach today's final in Stuttgart, Germany. Petrova will face Tatiana Golovin, who upset fifth-seeded Patty Schnyder 6-1, 5-7, 7-5.

TASHKENT OPEN: Wild-card Iroda Tulyaganova upset sixth-seeded Olga Poutchkova 6-4, 6-0 to advance to today's final in Uzbekistan. Tulyaganova will meet Sun Tiantian in the title match after she beat Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-4.

BASKETBALL

Pacer fired in self-defense

Pacers guard Stephen Jackson fired shots in the air in apparent self-defense after he was hit by a car outside a strip club early Friday in Indianapolis.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said that Jackson and teammates Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and Jimmie Hunter committed an "error in judgment" by staying out late during training camp. No one was seriously injured.

Police said the disturbance began with an argument inside Club Rio involving patrons and players. The players said they left the club, but the patrons followed them. Then things turned physical.

Sgt. Matthew Mount, a police spokesman, said Jackson fired five shots from a 9mm pistol outside the club after he was slugged in the mouth and struck by a car that sent him tumbling onto the hood. Officers were searching for the vehicle and three men wanted for questioning.

Jackson needed stitches in his lip and face but had no broken bones or other injuries, Carlisle said. His status for Wednesday's preseason opener against New Jersey was unclear.

INJURY: Bucks center Andrew Bogut left the court in the third quarter during a team scrimmage after banging his leg into Steve Blake's knee. Bogut, who did not return to the game, was diagnosed with a contusion on his lower left leg. Bogut, the first pick in the 2005 draft, is listed as day-to-day, Bucks coach Terry Stotts said.

PRESEASON: Trajan Langdon scored 17 and Tomas Van Den Spiegel added 16 to lead CSKA Moscow to a 94-75 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in an exhibition game in Moscow. Center Chris Kaman had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Corey Maggette scored 13 for the Clippers.

BOXING

Thurman in title bout

Clearwater's Keith Thurman was poised to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials on his first try.

Fighting in the first of seven qualifiers, Thurman posted a 16-5 victory over New Jersey's John Thomas on Friday to advance to Saturday's National Police Athletic League championship in the 152-pound division in Oxnard, Calif.

Thurman, ranked No. 5 by USA Boxing, was to face No. 2 Charles Hatley in the final. A victory would clinch a spot in next year's trials.

ET CETERA

HORSES: Bernardini cruised to an easy victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in New York. Next up for Bernardini is the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. ... Lava Man led all the way in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap in Arcadia, Calif., and will compete next in the Breeders' Cup.