UNLV’s Bouras, Schoeman earn
spots in NCAA Championships
UNLV’s Mehdi Bouras landed two berths in the NCAA Tennis Championships, earning bids in singles and doubles for the May 25 to 30 tournament in Stanford, Calif.
Bouras, named the Mountain West Conference men’s player of the year last week, got the bids on the basis of being the league’s highest-ranked singles player and being part of the MWC’s highest-ranked doubles unit. He’ll be joined in doubles by partner Bernard Schoeman.
Bouras is 22-11 at No. 1 singles for the Rebels and ranked 72nd. Bouras and Schoeman are 13-8 in doubles and ranked 43rd, with three wins over top-20 opponents.
Also: Roger Federer came close to being an upset victim before finally beating Feliciano Lopez in three gripping sets at the Madrid Open, and rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic continued their winning streaks with ease.
Federer, beaten by Jurgen Melzer in Monte Carlo last month, saved a match point in a marathon 7-6 (13), 6-7 (1), 7-6 (7) win after three hours.
Djokovic ran his winning streak to 30 by beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa, 6-3, 6-4. Nadal is unbeaten in his last 35 matches on clay after a 6-1, 6-3 rout of Marcos Baghdatis.
On the women’s side, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic upset second-seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals.
Second-ranked Kim Clijsters withdrew from the Italian Open as she recovers from an injured ankle, putting her readiness for the French Open in doubt.
The Rome tournament starts Sunday and is an important warmup for the season’s second Grand Slam, which begins May 22.
Justice Department questions
NCAA on lack of playoff
The Justice Department wants to know why the NCAA doesn’t have a college football playoff system and says there are “serious questions” about whether the current format to determine a national champion complies with antitrust laws.
Critics who have urged the department to investigate the Bowl Championship Series contend it unfairly gives some schools preferential access to the title championship game and top-tier end-of-the-season bowl contents.
In a letter this week, the department’s antitrust chief, Christine Varney, asked NCAA president Mark Emmert why a playoff system isn’t used in football, unlike in other sports; what steps the NCAA has taken to create one; and whether Emmert thinks there are aspects of the BCS system that don’t serve the interest of fans, schools and players.
“Your views would be relevant in helping us to determine the best course of action with regard to the BCS,” she wrote.
The NCAA said it would respond to the government’s questions when it receives the letter.
Also: Miami defensive tackle Jeffrey Brown, a redshirt freshman, was arrested in Coral Gables, Fla., and accused of forcing sex on an intoxicated female in her dorm room.
Police say the alleged incident took place in the early morning hours of April 30. Brown surrendered to police Wednesday afternoon and was charged with one count of sexual battery about an hour later.
He has been suspended indefinitely from the football program.
Manchester United breezes
into Champions League final
Manchester United routed Schalke 4-1 in Manchester, England, with Anderson scoring twice to help United advance to the Champions League final against Barcelona with a 6-1 aggregate win.
Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson also scored for Manchester United, which plays Barcelona at Wembley on May 28 in a rematch of the 2009 final, which Barcelona won, 2-0.
After winning 2-0 in Germany last week in the first game of the home-and-home semifinal, United manager Alex Ferguson rested many of his regulars. United is preparing for this weekend’s key English Premier League match against second-place Chelsea, whom United leads by three points with three games left.
Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand didn’t dress, and Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra sat on the bench.
Also: Patrik Berglund scored twice, and Sweden had three second-period goals to wrap up the group stage of the hockey world championship with a 6-2 victory over the United States in Kosice, Slovakia.
Both teams advanced to the second round.
The city of Pasadena, Calif., will host a new Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon that starts and ends at the historic Rose Bowl, with the event debuting Feb. 19.
With the addition of Pasadena, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series expands to 23 cities, including a Las Vegas event run each December.