Nadal, Djokovic to meet in Paris semifinals
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Rafael Nadal set up a semifinal matchup against Novak Djokovic at the Paris Masters with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday.
The second-seeded Nadal played his best tennis of the week and ended the eighth-seeded Tsonga's hopes of qualifying for the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London.
"It was a very important victory for me," Nadal said. "It's probably the first big victory after I came back from injury."
Gael Monfils gave French fans hope of a home champion by reaching his first Paris semifinal with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over 12th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia. The 15th-seeded Monfils will play 13th-seeded Radek Stepanek, who advanced when U.S. Open champion and fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro retired trailing 4-0 with a groin injury.
Nadal returned to competition in October after a month off because of a pulled stomach muscle.
The third-seeded Djokovic made the semifinals of the tournament for the first time by defeating ninth-seeded Robin Soderling, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
"(Nadal) is a big champion and plays really well on all surfaces. He is a big fighter," Djokovic said.
TRUEX JR. EARNS POLE FOR O'REILLY 500
Martin Truex Jr. bounced back from a midweek NASCAR penalty with a pole-winning run at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.
Truex turned a lap of 135.120 mph yesterday to qualify first in his No. 1 Chevrolet for tomorrow's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.
It was a huge lift for his team, which failed post-race inspection last week at Texas to draw a 50-point penalty. Crew chief Kevin Manion also was fined $50,000.
"That's how you can sum up our season," Truex shrugged.
Kurt Busch qualified second with a lap of 134.589 in his No. 2 Dodge. It's the first time in NASCAR that the Nos. 1 and 2 will start next to each other on the front row for a Sprint Cup race.
BIZARRE MUSIC HELPS LYSACEK DOMINATE
Dressed in black from head to toe, and performing to what he termed "sort of bizarre music," Evan Lysacek dominated the short program at Skate America last night at Lake Placid, N.Y.
The world champion put out a powerful routine to Igor Stravinski's "Firebird" that built strength by the second.
It worked superbly for the two-time U.S. champion who vastly improved on his work at Cup of China two weeks ago. Lysacek scored 79.17 points to outdistance France's Florent Amodio by 6 1/2 points. American Brandon Mroz was third.
"I felt a lot of pride skating in my country tonight," Lysacek said.
Earlier, China's Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue won the pairs short program, and Americans Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto took the dance compulsories.
GALAXY WINS IN OT TO REACH MLS FINAL
Gregg Berhalter and Landon Donovan scored in overtime to put the Los Angeles Galaxy into MLS Cup final with a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo last night at Carson, Calif.
The Galaxy will play in its first MLS Cup final since 2005 on Nov. 22 in Seattle against the winner of today's Eastern Conference final match between Chicago and Real Salt Lake.
Los Angeles will make its sixth MLS Cup final appearance since the league began in 1996. The Galaxy won it all in 2002 and 2005.
David Beckham's free kick set up Berhalter's goal in the 102nd minute. The Dynamo's Eddie Robinson tried to clear Omar Gonzalez's header off Beckham's free kick but Berhalter poked the ball into the net from 7 yards.
Donovan converted a penalty kick in the 109th minute to set the MLS record for career playoff scoring with 17 goals.