Top-ranked Federer ousted by Berdych in Sony Ericsson Open
Some fans at the packed tennis stadium in Key Biscayne, Fla., shouted encouragement at Roger Federer in Spanish, which is not one of the six languages he speaks.
One man hollered in English, “I love you, Roger!” Another barked, “Get it together.”
Words failed to help. In a ragged performance that still produced plenty of drama, the top-ranked Federer lost to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6).
With Tuesday’s upset, the No. 16-seeded Berdych ended a streak of eight straight losses to Federer. The 6-foot-5-inch Berdych also had lost 11 matches in a row against top-10 opponents.
“I fought as much as I could,” Federer said. “My game has issues at the moment. I’m definitely lacking timing. I don’t know where that comes from.”
Federer won a succession of spectacular rallies to salvage the second set but converted only two of 10 break-point chances in the match and committed 62 unforced errors, many on an unreliable backhand.
Others advancing to the quarterfinals included sixth-seeded Andy Roddick and fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal, who could meet in the semifinals.
Roddick beat Benjamin Becker, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Nadal defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Three-time champion Venus Williams, seeded third, reached the semifinals by defeating No. 6-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3, 6-1.
Super Six contender Dirrell recovering from blow to head
Super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell is recovering from a scary incident during his fight Saturday, in which he took a blow to the head while on a knee.
Dirrell slipped on some water in the corner when Arthur Abraham laid him out in their second fight of the Super Six World Boxing Classic in Detroit. Abraham was disqualified.
Dirrell promoter Gary Shaw said his fighter spent about three hours in the hospital and sustained a concussion or, perhaps, a seizure from the blow.
The scene that unfolded generated more negative publicity for a novel event that has struggled to sustain interest. It has been beset by injuries and delays.
The tournament was designed to guarantee six of the best 168-pounders in the world three fights each, with points awarded based upon the outcome. The four participants with the most points would advance to seeded semifinals, with a championship bout next year.
Also: A lawyer representing WBC lightweight champion Edwin Valero said the boxer has entered a rehabilitation center for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.
Milda Mora said Valero, 28, entered the rehab center in Merida, Venezuela, on Sunday under court orders after his arrest on charges of harassing his wife, threatening medical personnel who treated her and resisting arrest.
Suspended Masoli takes part in Ducks’ first spring practice
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli took part in the opening day of spring practice at Oregon, even though he won’t play a down for the Ducks this fall after his season-long suspension.
Masoli pleaded guilty March 12 to a misdemeanor burglary charge involving a theft at a campus fraternity house in late January. Coach Chip Kelly suspended him within hours of Masoli’s court appearance.
Masoli, touted as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate his senior season, is allowed to practice with the team during the suspension and possibly could request a redshirt.
Speculation has indicated that Masoli will transfer. But he was present when the Ducks opened spring workouts in Eugene, Ore., with Nate Costa taking the initial snaps at quarterback.
Also: Oregon Attorney General John Kroger is looking into a $2.3 million severance package for departing Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti.
Bellotti, who was the Ducks’ football coach for 14 seasons, abruptly announced March 19 he was stepping down as Oregon’s AD after less than a year on the job. He has taken a job as a college football analyst for ESPN.
Coach Dave Wannstedt signed a two-year contract extension with Pittsburgh that runs through the 2014 season, a deal designed to reassure recruits that the Panthers are running one of the nation’s most stable programs.
Caster Semenya is tired of waiting for track and field’s ruling body to release results of her gender tests and plans to return to competition.
What’s unclear is whether any meets will allow the world champion to run.
The International Association of Athletics Federations still is reviewing the results to determine Semenya’s eligibility. The organization has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that the tests indicate Semenya has male and female sex organs.