NFL exec: HGH testing resolution needed
INDIANAPOLIS — NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch said Thursday the league and players association need to reach agreement soon on HGH testing.
The NFL and the union agreed in principle to HGH testing when a new 10-year labor agreement was finalized in August 2011. But protocols must be approved by both sides and the players have questioned the science in the testing procedures, delaying implementation.
“The longer we continue to stall out on this issue or we don’t have an effective regiment in place, it’s a disservice to all of us,” Birch said at the NFL’s scouting combine. “We need resolution. This is enough. We’ve been talking about this for two years.”
In 2011, the NFL became the first professional league to agree with its players on HGH testing. But while the sides debated the scientific validity of the test, and the union still is not satisfied with the process.
Meanwhile, Major League Baseball will test for HGH throughout the upcoming regular season. Last year, players were subject to blood testing for HGH during spring training.
Nike suspends contract with Oscar Pistorius
PORTLAND, Ore. — Nike says it has suspended the contract of Oscar Pistorius.
Pistorius, the first double-amputee runner to compete on the track at the Olympics, is facing a charge of premeditated murder in South Africa in the Valentine’s Day slaying of his girlfriend.
In a brief statement announcing the contract suspension, Nike says “we believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Pistorius is a multiple Paralympic medalist, but he failed to win a medal at last year’s London Olympics, where he ran in the 400 meters and on South Africa’s 4x400 relay team.
Nike dropped Lance Armstrong in October 2012, but stood by Tiger Woods after he admitted to infidelities and went to rehab for sex addiction.
Nationals agree to terms with RHP Chris Young
WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Chris Young on a minor-league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.
Young is 53-43 with a 3.79 ERA in 159 career starts with the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers. The 33-year-old Young was an All-Star with the Padres in 2007.
Young went 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts last season with the Mets.
The Nationals announced the deal Thursday.
Del Potro, Simon reach Open 13 quarterfinals
MARSEILLE, France — Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro beat Michael Llodra 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 to reach the Open 13 quarterfinals on Thursday.
Del Potro had 14 aces and saved nine of the 10 break points he faced as he was pushed all the way by the veteran Frenchman in a rematch of last year’s final.
The 2009 U.S. Open champion faces another Frenchman, Gilles Simon, in the quarterfinals after he advanced to his third straight quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Roberto Bautista-Agut, although Simon’s serve was again not at its best. He broke his Spanish opponent seven times, but conceded three breaks of his own.
Meanwhile, Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov also advanced after he upset fourth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (4), 6-2.
Tursunov, a semifinalist at the tournament two years ago, saved the four break points he faced and twice broke the Serb. He next plays Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
Seventh-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (0), 6-3, setting up a quarterfinal with top-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Top seed Cilic moves on to Memphis quarterfinals
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Top seed Marin Cilic of Croatia saved three match points in a third-set tiebreaker against Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. National Indoor Championships with a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (7) victory Thursday.
Cilic, the world’s 12th-ranked player, battled Sijsling for more than 2½ hours and saved four break points in the 11th game of the third set to take a 6-5 lead. Cilic squandered a match point with Sijsling serving at 5-6 in the third set.
In the tiebreaker, Sijsling double-faulted on his third match point of the tiebreaker and lost the match when he netted a forehand from behind the baseline.
The win moved Cilic, who won his ninth ATP Tour title two weeks ago in Zagreb, into the quarterfinals against fifth seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over qualifier Donald Young of the U.S.
Kvitova, Wozniacki advance to Dubai semifinals
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova overpowered defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 Thursday to set up a semifinal against Caroline Wozniacki in the Dubai Championships.
Wozniacki, once ranked No. 1, defeated Marion Bartoli 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, capitalizing on 14 double-faults and 46 unforced errors by her opponent. Two double-faults cost Bartoli games in the second set.
Doubles specialist Roberta Vinci of Italy surprised former U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4 in their quarterfinal. She will next face doubles partner Sara Errani, who downed Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-4, 0-6, 6-3.
Almagro, Delbonis into Buenos Aires quarterfinals
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Nicolas Almagro of Spain and Federico Delbonis of Argentina won second-round matches Thursday and will meet in the quarterfinals of the Copa Claro.
The second-seeded Almagro defeated Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-2. Debonis beat Albert Montanes of Spain 6-1, 6-4.
Almagro won this tournament two years ago and was runner-up last year to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.
Ferrer is seeded first and set to play Thursday night against David Nalbandian of Argentina.
From wire sources