July 4, 2007


Nadal rallies, Venus breezes


Associated PressAlastair Grant
Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt reacts as he plays Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during their Men’s Singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, Thursday today.

AP Sports Writer

WIMBLEDON, England — Erasing a two-set deficit despite playing on a fourth consecutive day, Rafael Nadal came back to beat Mikhail Youzhny in five sets Thursday and reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Nadal, the 2006 runner-up, picked up early service breaks in each of the final three sets to win 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
“After the first two sets, the next three sets maybe I play my best game on grass in my life,” Nadal said.
Venus Williams had a much easier time Thursday, playing outstanding tennis to reach the semifinals by beating No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4. Williams will next face French Open finalist Ana Ivanovic, who defeated No. 14 Nicole Vaidisova 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Ivanovic saved three match points and beginning with the last one, won 13 of 15 points. That sent her on her way to taking the match’s last four games. It ended when Vaidisova double-faulted for the sixth time.
“I knew I could do it,” Ivanovic said. “I knew I could make some good shots and be aggressive and move forward and put pressure.”
Youzhny, one of only three players to have beaten Nadal twice in the last year, struggled midway through his match with pain in his lower back.
He called for a trainer after losing the third set. Lying on his stomach, the Russian got his lower back massaged. After the fifth game of the fourth set, he was again on the ground with the trainer stretching his back.
“Big disbalance between left side and right side in my back,” Youzhny said. “When I play a lot ... more and more and I start to feel pain.”
Nadal’s third-round match, which was supposed to begin Saturday, didn’t finish until Wednesday. The three-time French Open champion failed to convert his first match point Monday, and had to wait until Wednesday to get another because of rain delays.
Nadal is trying to become the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since Bjorn Borg in 1980.
“With every win you improve the confidence on every surface,” Nadal said. “But especially if you are playing like today.”
In the quarterfinals, the second-seeded Spaniard will face No. 7 Tomas Berdych, who beat Jonas Bjorkman 6-4, 6-0, 6-7 (6), 6-0.
No. 10 Marcos Baghdatis, who lost to Nadal in last year’s semifinals, advanced by beating No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the fourth round. He will next play No. 4 Novak Djokovic, who beat 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (8), 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-6 (5).
There was one brief rain delay on some courts Thursday, meaning it’s drizzled on nine of the tournament’s 10 days. But Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett was confident the tournament would finish on time.
“We can still finish on Sunday,” Jarrett said. “That is what we’ll plan for and what we’re aiming for.”
Williams, a three-time champion at the All England Club, has been dominating on her serve in the last two rounds, and she again did what was needed to earn enough breaks to advance.
Williams had three aces, and 2004 U.S. Open champion Kuznetsova failed to put another 21 serves into play. The American won 76 percent of the points played on her first serve, averaging 109 mph.
Her only struggle came when serving for the match. Leading 40-0, Williams lost four straight points and faced a break point. But she fought back and won when Kuznetsova sent a forehand long — the Russian’s 24th unforced error.
“At the end I was able to stay tough against a great opponent,” Williams said. “I felt so motivated, sure about my game.”
Williams started the season with a wrist injury and is not even ranked in the top 30. Seeded only No. 23 at the All England Club, she struggled early in the tournament, needing three sets to beat 59th-ranked Alla Kudryavtseva in the first round and coming within two points of defeat against 71st-ranked Akiko Morigami in the third.
“I really did play two good players who were on,” Williams said.
Williams was broken once Thursday, but the five-time Grand Slam champion responded by breaking back against Kuznetsova at love.
On Wednesday, she easily beat 2004 champion Maria Sharapova in a match that started Tuesday but was suspended for the night after only three points were played.



Post 489 grabs first event win

BINGHAMTON — The Cortland Post 489 American Legion baseball team opened play in the 2007 Stop DWI-World Youth Classic Tuesday with a 6-2 victory over Albuquerque, N.M. Post 49.
It was the first-ever victory in the tournament for Cortland, which went 0-5 last year in its initial appearance. Post 489 was losing 4-0 to Brooklawn, N.J. Post 72 on Wednesday when the game was suspended in the third inning. That contest was to be resumed this morning.
“We played really well,” Cortland coach Jeff Flegler said of Tuesday’s victory. “I think having the year of experience helped. We got down 2-1 but came right back; we had our leadoff man on base in each of the first four innings. I’m very proud of the guys.”
Post 489 scored once in the first on Tuesday as Dustan DiIorio and Tim Fulton singled before Brett Wright was hit by a pitch. After two popouts, Jason Hogan slid past a tag to beat out an infield single and score DiIorio.
Albuquerque scored twice in the top of the second, but Post 489 equalized in the bottom of the same frame as Codi Clayton singled, stole second and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Clayton.
Cortland scored two runs each in the third and fourth. A bases-loaded sacrifice fly by John Sinsabaugh and a wild pitch plated the third-inning runs, while Sean Finucane lashed a two-run double to right-center in the fourth.
Aaron Galutz started and got the win (2-1) for Post 489, allowing three hits and the two runs in four innings, while Clayton came on in relief and pitched three scoreless and hitless innings with two strikeouts to earn the save, his first.
In addition to completing Wednesday’s suspended game, Cortland was also slated to meet Utica Post 229 at 3 p.m. today at Union-Endicott. On Friday, the local squad faces Shrub Oak (1080) at 9 a.m. and the Ottawa Knights at 3 p.m., both at Conlon Field.




Men’s Slow Pitch

Makeup contests set

The schedule has been set for the Cortland Men’s Slow Pitch Softball League’s make-up weekend Saturday and Sunday.
At Beaudry 1 on Saturday, King Sub will meet K&H Motor Sports at 9 a.m., K&H will face Graph-Tex at 10:15 a.m., NAPA and The Tavern will meet at 11:30 a.m., King Sub and Graph-Tex will play ay 12:45 p.m. and Klever Lawn Care and Central City Bar & Grill collide at 2 p.m.
At Dexter on Saturday, the 9 a.m. game matches Woodman’s Pub Mark’s Pizzeria and Dark Horse; Gator’s and Central City Bar & Grill play at 10:15; Grand Rental Station and Gator’s play at 11:30; Grand Rental Station faces Klever at 1 p.m.; Grand Rental Station meets Red Dragon at 2:15; St. Charles and Woodman’s/Mark’s play at 3:30 and at 5 p.m., Red Dragon goes against St. Charles.
At Meldrim on Saturday, Aflac plays three games in a row: against Beach House at 9 a.m., Palm Gardens at 10:15 and Red Jug Pub at 11:30.
On Sunday at Beaudry 1, CCRP goes against Quali-D Auto at 9 a.m. and T.J.’s Landscaping at 10:15, while King Sub and T.J.’s play at 11:30. Gator’s and Klever than meet at both 12:45 and 2 p.m.
At Dexter on Sunday, Red Dragon and Woodman’s/Mark’s meet at 9 a.m. and 10:15, while Grand Rental Station and Dark Horse go at it at 11:30 and 12:45 and St. Charles plays Central City Bar & Grill at 2 p.m. and 3:15.
The lone game at Meldrim on Sunday pits Central City Bar & Grill against Dark Horse at 9:30 a.m.
Anyone with make-up games not on the schedule is asked to call Bob Craig at 753-0603 as soon as possible.