Federer rallies to gain Madrid semis
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Defending champion Roger Federer rallied from a set and a break down to beat Ernests Gulbis, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, yesterday and reach the Madrid Masters semifinals in Madrid.
Federer lost to Gulbis last month at the Rome Masters in his first clay-court match of the season, and the Latvian looked set to repeat the upset until the top-ranked Swiss found his stride in the second set.
"I think it's one of the toughest things in tennis if you lose against a player and you have to play against him in the next couple of weeks," Federer said. "I was very happy with the way I was able to return and mix up the game a bit."
Federer will play ninth-seeded David Ferrer, who beat 2008 champion and third-seeded Andy Murray, 7-5, 6-3.
Earlier, second-seeded Rafael Nadal was close to his clay-court best in beating Gael Monfils, 6-1, 6-3. He will play fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who beat Jurgen Melzer, 6-3, 6-1.
Truex wins Dover pole: Martin Truex Jr. has been first to finish at Dover International Speedway and now he'll be first to start.
Truex turned a lap of 157.315 mph yesterday and won the pole for tomorrow's Autism Speaks 400 — nearly three years after he won his only career Cup race at Dover, Del. Truex won his first pole of the season and first since last November at Phoenix.
Kasey Kahne was second and Mark Martin third in yesterday's qualifying. Points leader Kevin Harvick was 30th.
IN THE COURTS
LT's accuser disputed: A woman has come forward as a defense witness in the sexual assault case against Lawrence Taylor, saying the 16-year-old girl who accused the NFL legend of rape never had sex with him, according to a statement from the woman confirmed yesterday by Taylor's attorney.
The 23-year-old woman said in a sworn statement that she accompanied an alleged pimp and the 16-year-old girl to a hotel outside New York City where Taylor was staying. She said the teenager returned to the car with $300 in cash and said: "It was weird ... we didn't even have sex."
"He's innocent. She's lying. She wasn't raped," she said in the statement.
The statement was given to investigators working for the defense team and seen by The Associated Press. Defense attorney Arthur Aidala said he was planning to use the woman's testimony in the case.
Australian teen circles world: An Australian teenager completed her round-the-world trek today, becoming the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world after a seven-month journey.
Thousands cheered as 16-year-old Jessica Watson maneuvered her pink 34-foot yacht into Sydney Harbour, the finale to an 210-day adventure in which she overcame 40-foot waves and critics who said she'd never make it home alive.
"She said she'd sail around the world and she has," a tearful Julie Watson said as she watched her grinning daughter cruise past the finish line from a nearby boat. "She's home."