Red-hot Murray is in semifinals

In Shanghai, Andy Murray eased into the semifinals in the Shanghai Masters with a 6-3, 6-2 win over qualifier Matthew Ebden and Andy Roddick lost to David Ferrer 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (2).

The second-seeded Murray has won 23 of his past 24 matches since mid-August, with the only loss coming to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. He’s attempting to win his third title in as many weeks.

• In Linz, Austria, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova eased past Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2 to reach her seventh semifinal of the season at the Generali Ladies.

The top-seeded Kvitova will play Jelena Jankovic for a place in Sunday’s final. The third-seeded Serb defeated Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina 6-2, 6-4.



Skinner’s goal lifts Hurricanes

In Buffalo, Jeff Skinner scored with 1:24 left in the third period and Cam Ward made 39 saves in leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.

Brandon Sutter and Tim Brent scored short-handed goals, while Jay Harrison also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won two in a row after a 0-2-1 start.


Ramirez enters not guilty plea

In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., former baseball star Manny Ramirez has pleaded not guilty to a domestic battery charge involving his wife.

Ramirez’s attorney filed the written plea ahead of Friday’s scheduled arraignment. Ramirez did not appear at the hearing. He is free on $2,500 bail.

The 2004 World Series MVP was arrested Sept. 12. His wife told investigators Ramirez slapped her, causing her head to strike a bed headboard. Ramirez has denied slapping her.


U.S., France to play in a friendly

The United States will play France in a friendly at the Stade de France on Nov. 11, the first meeting between the nations in 32 years.

The nations played twice in 1979, with France winning 6-0 at East Rutherford, N.J., on May 2 and 3-0 in Paris on Oct. 10.

France is preparing for next year’s European Championship, having qualified Tuesday, and the U.S. is getting ready to start World Cup qualifying in June.


PGA Tour event has new name

Mississippi’s only event on the PGA Tour will have a new name and new sponsors in 2012.

Tournament director Randy Watkins says the event, in Madison, will now be called the True South Classic.

Watkins says “three or four” companies make up the consortium but expects as many as four or five more to join over the next few months. He declined to identify them.

The tournament, which will continue to be played at Annandale Golf Club in Madison, was in jeopardy of being discontinued after Viking Corp. did not renew its title sponsorship.


Board approves the sale of 76ers

The NBA Board of Governors has approved Comcast-Spectacor’s sale of the 76ers to a group of investors led by New York billionaire Joshua Harris, an NBA source confirmed.

The sale is expected to close early next week.