Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his 17th straight match at the Australian Open, beating Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3, 7-5...
Djokovic win streak at 17
Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his 17th straight match at the Australian Open, beating Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in the third round Friday.
Djokovic, the two-time defending champion at Melbourne Park who also won the title in 2008, is hoping to become the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian Open titles.
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In other third-round matches, fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrated her 25th birthday with a 6-2, 7-5 win over American teenager Madison Keys.
Sixth-seeded Li Na of China also advanced to the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland won her 12th match in a row with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Britain’s Heather Watson.
In a late match Thursday, Roger Federer’s 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Nikolay Davydenko of Russia set the Swiss star on course for a third-round match against Bernard Tomic, the last remaining Australian in the men’s or women’s draws of the Australian Open.
McIlroy, Woods struggle
With Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods struggling, fifth-ranked Justin Rose of England and unheralded Jamie Donaldson of Wales had 5-under-par 67s for a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in United Arab Emirates.
McIlroy, playing with new clubs following the Northern Ireland star’s multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with Nike, finished with a 75 and risks missing the cut. Woods shot an even-par 72.
Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark and Pablo Larrazabal of Spain finished one stroke behind the leaders.
Mickelson opens with 72
Phil Mickelson opened his season with an erratic even-par 72 at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., leaving him nine strokes behind the first-round leaders.
Jason Kokrak, Roberto Castro and James Hahn topped the leaderboard at 9-under 63.
Russell Henley, the Sony Open winner Sunday in Hawaii in his first start as a PGA Tour member, had a 64.
Former Husky Richard H. Lee shot a 66 and Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor had a 67. Jeff Gove of Seattle, Andres Gonzales of Olympia and former Husky Troy Kelly all shot 73s.
Schilling’s bloody sock
going up for auction
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling — whose video-game company underwent a spectacular collapse into bankruptcy last year — is selling the bloodstained sock he wore during the 2004 World Series.
Chris Ivy, director of sports for Texas-based Heritage Auctions, said online bidding begins around Feb. 4. Live bidding will take place Feb. 23. He said the sock is expected to fetch at least $100,000, though he described that as a conservative estimate.
Nats sign Soriano for 2 years
The NL East champion Washington Nationals have signed right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano to a $28 million, two-year contract that includes $14 million in deferred money.
The former Mariner had 42 saves for the AL East champion New York Yankees last year while filling in for injured closer Mariano Rivera, who plans to return from a knee injury in 2013.
In other player signings, reliever Joba Chamberlain and the Yankees agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,875,000, avoiding salary arbitration; the Boston Red Sox and catcher Mike Napoli agreed to shorten their deal to a one-year contract worth $5 million, with bonuses that could raise his 2013 income to $13 million; the Red Sox and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year deal, a raise of $2 million; outfielder Carlos Gomez and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a $4.3 million, one-year contract; outfielder Will Venable and the San Diego Padres agreed to a one-year contract worth $2,675,000; right-hander Matt Garza and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a $10.25 million, one-year contract; and right-hander Jeff Karstens and the Pittsburgh Pirates finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract.
Report: Damage to Rodriguez’s hip was minimal
A person familiar with the diagnosis said Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was found to have relatively minimal cartilage damage in his left hip during surgery.
In other baseball news, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette, the team’s executive vice president of baseball operations, received contract extensions through 2018.
Farrell 1st overall pick
Louisville defender Andrew Farrell, 20, was selected by the New England Revolution with the top pick in Major League Soccer’s draft.
Connecticut midfielder Carlos Alvarez from East Los Angeles was taken by Chivas USA with the second pick. Toronto then selected Kyle Bekker, a Canadian midfielder from Boston College, and Vancouver drafted 18-year-old forward Kekuta Manneh.
O’Brien wins Bryant Award
Penn State coach Bill O’Brien won the 2012 Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award, beating out five other finalists. O’Brien led the Nittany Lions through an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions to an 8-4 finish in his first season at Penn State.
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