Originally created 10/03/04



Roddick, Federer in Thailand Open final

In Bangkok, Thailand, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick pulled out three-set victories Saturday to set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 final at the Thailand Open.

Top-ranked Federer got past Thai star Paradorn Srichaphan 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the first semifinal, while Roddick outlasted Marat Safin 7-6 (1), 6-7 (0), 7-6 (2) in a matchup between past U.S. Open champions.

There were zero breaks of serve in the Roddick-Safin semifinal, and each player only faced a single break point. Both pounded 18 aces and put in nearly 60 percent of their first serves.

Now the second-ranked American must try to stop Federer, who owns a 7-1 head-to-head edge, including wins in this year's finals at Wimbledon and the Toronto Masters.

"I hope to win," Roddick said. "It'll be fun."

If Federer beats Roddick again Sunday, he'll be the first man in nearly 20 years to win 12 consecutive tournament finals. The last was John McEnroe in 1984-85.

sl In Seoul, South Korea, Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova routed Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the Korea Open final.

The top-seeded Sharapova will play for the title Sunday against Poland's Marta Domachowska, who defeated Abigail Spears of the United States 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the other semifinal and will play for a championship for the first time on the tour.

l In Beijing, Li Na reached the final of the Guangzhou International Women's Open, giving her a chance to become the first Chinese to win a WTA Tour singles title when she faces Slovakia's Martina Sucha.

Li beat Li Ting 6-3, 6-3 Saturday, the first time two Chinese women reached the semifinals in a tour event. Sucha downed Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 7-5.

Chinese women reached singles finals five times previously, the last by Li Fang at Pattaya City, Thailand, in November 1998.

Li Na won three matches to qualify for the main draw, then eliminated second-seeded Jelena Jankovic and sixth-seeded Kristina Brandi.

l In Palermo, Sicily, Filippo Volandri moved within a victory of giving Italy its first champion in 20 years at the Campionati Internazionali di Sicilia, beating unseeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals Saturday.

The fifth-seeded Volandri will play No. 8 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Berdych, who's 18, defeated No. 7 David Ferrer of Spain 7-5, 6-4 in the other semifinal.


Lewis could serve time in offseason

In Atlanta, lawyers for Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis are negotiating a plea deal in his drug conspiracy case that would allow him to serve jail time in the offseason, a source close to the case told The Associated Press.

Under a deal being discussed with federal prosecutors, Lewis would serve four to six months – possibly split between jail and a halfway house – after the season, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"There would be no jail time that would interfere with his career," the source said.

The deal could be completed in the next week, the source said.

  • In Pittsburgh, Steelers linebacker and former Laney High and Georgia player Kendrell Bell will miss a fourth consecutive game because of a sore groin.
  • Bell, considered a key to the defense before the season, hasn't played since an Aug. 14 exhibition game against Detroit, first because of an injured shoulder and now the groin.


    Horse Racing

    Funny Cide claims win in Gold Cup

    Funny Cide is New York's hero again. The gutsy gelding stormed into the lead down the stretch and pulled away for a sweet victory in the rain in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Saturday.

    And just like that, the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner had that elusive victory over the same wet racetrack where he suffered his biggest defeat – a loss in the Belmont Stakes that ended his bid for the Triple Crown.


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