June 6, 2007


Nadal step closer to French repeat


Associated Press/Francois Mori
Spain’s Rafael Nadal serves up a straight set victory over fellow countryman Carlos Moya, during the quarterfinal of the French Open at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris today.

AP Sports Writer

PARIS — Rafael Nadal moved closer to a third straight French Open title today, beating 1998 champion Carlos Moya 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
The second-seeded Spaniard, who is 19-0 in his career at the French Open, has not dropped a set in the tournament this year. He next will face Novak Djokovic, who reached his first Grand Slam semifinal by beating Igor Andreev of Russia 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Last year at Roland Garros, Djokovic retired while trailing Nadal in the quarterfinals.
“He’s the best player in the world on this surface,” the sixth-seeded Djokovic said. “He plays with a lot of motivation and confidence. Physically he’s very ready.”
Nadal won the final eight games of the match. Moya saved one match point with a backhand volley, but double-faulted to set up Nadal’s second match point, which Nadal won with a forehand that Moya could barely get his racket on.
Djokovic also had an easy time against Andreev.
“I was aggressive from the start and that was the key,” Djokovic said. “The result is not showing the right picture about the match — it was not easy to play Andreev. He’s the kind of player who makes you work for the points, he produces a lot of spin.”
Nadal is 3-1 against Djokovic, but the Serb beat Nadal in the quarterfinals at Key Biscayne, Fla., in March.
“It’s not the same match, it’s not the same player,” Djokovic said. “On clay you have to do more to try and earn the point against him.”
Djokovic jumped in the air when he went up 3-0 in the third set. The 125th-ranked Andreev could not find a way back, and Djokovic won on his first match point when Andreev hit a forehand into the net — one of many similar errors he made during the match.
“You keep winning matches, so you think you can do it,” said Andreev, who beat third-seeded Andy Roddick in the opening round. “Unfortunately, today it didn’t happen and I couldn’t reach the semifinal. But I don’t think it will be my last quarterfinal.”
Andreev said Djokovic was strong across the board.
“He has no bad shots. He does everything very well,” Andreev said. “Defending very well, serving very well. Mentally he is so strong for a young age.”
The 20-year-old Djokovic took command early, winning five straight games from 3-3 in the first set to go up 2-0 in the second.
Djokovic is the third Serb to reach the semifinals this year at Roland Garros. Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic reached the women’s semifinals on Tuesday.
“Phenomenal for such a small country,” Djokovic said. “Especially with no tennis tradition.”
In the men’s other semifinal on Friday, top-ranked Roger Federer will try to improve to 9-0 against fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko. Federer lost a set for the first time in 12 Grand Slam matches Tuesday, but regrouped to beat ninth-seeded Tommy Robredo 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2. Davydenko eliminated No. 19 Guillermo Canas 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
On Tuesday, Maria Sharapova found her footing to beat Russian Anna Chakvetadze 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” Sharapova said. “I’m more proud and excited about it.
“I didn’t come off the court and go, ‘Wow, I’m in the semifinals.’ That wasn’t really the feeling that I had. In any tournament that I play, whether it’s on clay or mud or whatever it is, I know what I’m capable of, and I believe in myself.”
Bidding for her third Grand Slam title, the No. 2-seeded Sharapova will play Thursday against No. 7 Ana Ivanovic. The other semifinal will be between top-ranked Justine Henin and No. 4-seeded Jelena Jankovic.
Henin, who seeks to become the first woman to win three consecutive French Open titles since Monica Seles in 1990-92, advanced by beating Serena Williams 6-4, 6-3.
Williams, this year’s Australian Open champion, was the lone remaining American in men’s or women’s singles. Henin dominated with her vast array of shots, while Williams blamed herself for a sloppy, passive performance.
“I never play like that,” Williams said. “Sometimes you’ve got to just step back and say, ‘OK, try this, try that, or try Plan B.’ But I think my Plan B was to make errors.”
Ivanovic defeated 2006 runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0, 3-6, 6-1, and Jankovic beat No. 6 Nicole Vaidisova 6-3, 7-5.
Sharapova said she wouldn’t be surprised if she wins the tournament, but she understood why her success this year at Roland Garros might be considered unexpected.
“I haven’t really played that much on clay,” she said.
She grew up on hard court and took quickly to grass, winning Wimbledon three years ago at age 17. But the lanky, 6-foot-2 Sharapova has struggled with her movement on clay, although her French Open record was a respectable 11-3 in 2004-06, with two trips to the quarterfinals.
The Russian has now surpassed those showings, even while nursing a sore right shoulder. She missed nearly two months with the injury before returning in May for a French Open tuneup.
“After being so up and down for such a long period of time, you’re just grateful for every single moment you can be out on the court and feeling like you have a chance to be healthy, and you’re out there enjoying yourself,” Sharapova said. “That’s really what I’m doing.”
She’ll have a big edge in experience against the 19-year-old Ivanovic, a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist.
“I’m really excited to get so far,” Ivanovic said, “and the tournament is still not over.”




Eagles take bows at Award Night

Emery, Leach, Rutan named as top athletes

McGRAW — Evan Emery and Patrick Leach shared Senior Male Athlete of the Year honors and Jenette Rutan was named Female Senior Athlete of the Year at Monday’s McGraw Sports Award Night.
Emery was co-Most Valuable Player of both the boys’ varsity soccer and basketball teams, sharing the awards with Eric Law and Ryan Russell, respectively, while Leach was one of the boys’ varsity soccer team’s three Coaches’ Award winners, along with Josh LaPlant and Jesse Wildman.
Rutan was co-MVP of the girls’ varsity soccer and softball teams with Sarah Bilodeau, and sole MVP of the varsity volleyball squad. Rutan and Bilodeau also shared Scholar-Athlete honors.
Other MVPs were Josh Hempstead for baseball, Eric Law and Kevin Petrella for golf, Heather Rogers for cheerleading, Jenna Tobias for junior varsity girls’ soccer and Nicole Law for JV volleyball.
Most Improved Players included Eric Ralyea for varsity boys’ soccer, Julie Hewes for varsity girls’ soccer, Erin Patch for JV girls’ soccer, Monica Byron for varsity volleyball, Jeni West for softball and Lindsay Holland for cheerleading.
Coaches’ Awards went to Alex Smith, Tyler Stiles and Josh Hakes from the boys’ JV soccer team, Diane Ralyea for girls’ varsity soccer, Megan Wildman for girls’_JV soccer, Matt Clark for varsity basketball, Bilodeau for varsity volleyball, Kristen Guy for JV volleyball, Brad MacLean and Stiles for baseball, Alyssa Whitney for_golf and Michelle Medler for cheerleading.




Joslyn best in Region

SUNY Cortland distance runner C. Fred Joslyn was named the 2007 Division III Atlantic Region Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Joslyn, a senior out of Chenango Forks, earned All-America honors with his eighth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships in late May.
His 10,000-meter time of 29:55.14 earlier in the season was the fastest in Division III this year and set both school and SUNY Athletic Conference records.
Joslyn’s victory in the 5,000 meters helped Cortland claim its third SUNYAC title in four years during the conference championship meet in April. Joslyn qualified for nationals in the 5,000 meters and finished 10th nationally.
MORAN TOP COACH: The Red Dragons also track and field coach Matthew Moran has been_selected as the 2007 Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Atlantic_Region Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA.
Moran led the Red Dragons to an eighth-place finish, its best since 2001, at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships in late May. Cortland captured three individual national titles at the meet.
He also guided the Red Dragons to their first ECAC Division III outdoor title and a second-place finish at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championships, just 1.5 points behind the winner.
In April, Moran earned SUNYAC Coach of the Year honors after the Red Dragons won their first league title since 2002 and 13th overall.