INDIAN WELLS, Calif. Theo Ratliff Jersey . -- For the first time in four years, Novak Djokovic is without a big title to start the year. Or any title. The Serb is used to arriving at the BNP Paribas Open with the Australian Open in his back pocket, having won the seasons first Grand Slam three straight years. He lost in the quarter-finals in Melbourne in January, and then lost in the semifinals at Dubai last month. "That is a different feel from previous years," he said. So Djokovic is especially eager to hoist the trophy at Indian Wells, where hes a two-time champion. He took a step toward that goal with a 6-1, 6-3 quarterfinal victory against Frenchman Julien Benneteau in just over an hour on Friday. "Im on the right path and playing semifinals, which is always of course a challenge and a good result," he said, "but I want to try to go as far as I can." On the womens side, Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta handed top seed Li Na just her second loss of the year, winning their semifinal 7-6 (5), 6-3. The women combined for eight straight service breaks in the first set, which Li lost with her eighth double-fault. Pennetta then broke the No. 2-ranked Li two more times in the second set and closed out the win with a backhand down the line. Li, the reigning Australian Open champion, fell to 17-2 on the year. She was the top seed for the first time at one of the top-level WTA events. "It was pretty high-level match," said the Chinese star, who made more than 50 unforced errors. "I lose the match, a little bit sad, but I still can see a lot positive. At least, I like the way I hit the ball." Pennetta will play No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in Sundays final. Radwanska beat sixth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-4 to reach her first final in eight appearances at the tournament. "Ive been here so many times and finally I did it," Radwanska said. Halep had Radwanska on the run most of the match, but the Polish player was up to the challenge, continually chasing down balls and making well-placed returns. "What I was trying to do was playing aggressive from the beginning of the match and just trying to go for my shots," Radwanska said. "Pretty much all the games, doesnt matter who was serving, it was really tight games. I was better just a few points each set." Halep is projected to move up two spots to a career-best No. 5 in the world in Mondays WTA rankings, the highest ever by a Romanian woman. Djokovic never faced a break point on his serve against Benneteau, the only unseeded player left in the mens draw. The Serb held break points on Benneteaus serve in seven of eight games, and broke him four times during the match. It was Djokovics easiest match so far. He needed three sets to get by Marin Cilic and Alejandro Gonzalez, and had to win a tiebreaker against Victor Hanescu in his opening match. "I felt like I was very focused on the court from the start, and its what I was looking for. First few matches I played good tennis but I had some ups and downs," Djokovic said. "He made a lot of unforced errors, and obviously I just needed to make him play an extra shot and serve well." Djokovic will next play 12th-seeded John Isner, the lone remaining American, in Saturdays semifinals. Isner beat Djokovic at the same stage in 2012 before losing to Roger Federer in the final. Federer, a four-time winner here, will meet Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the other semifinal. Isner fired 13 aces to beat 20th-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) in Fridays other quarterfinal. Isner dropped serve twice to fall behind 4-2 in the second set, but broke back to level the score at 5-all and then dominated the tiebreaker. "I had all my energy going for me," he said. "I know I have those serves in my arsenal. Its just a matter of me pulling them out and I went for them." The American is projected to return to the top 10 in Mondays ATP rankings, the first time he has been there since September 2012. "Its hard to stay there," he said. "I fell back, but I have been knocking on the door for quite some time. It feels good to get back in there." Martell Webster Jersey . With Bernard hurt, the second-round pick has emerged.Hill ran for 152 yards during a 27-10 win at New Orleans on Sunday, his second big game. He also ran for 154 yards against Jacksonville earlier this season. Alvin Williams Jersey .ca! There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburghs Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston.Day in 100 words or less Welcome back Brazil 2014. Oh how we missed you. Gone for just a day, you returned for us all to enjoy on Saturday, as a mini Copa America took place to start the knock out stages. You didnt return with a little tease. You didnt flirt with us, showing brief moments that will take our breath away. No, no. You were even more gorgeous than we remembered, handing us a game that brought all of our emotions to the core and a sensational, radiant maestro who continues to shine light on all that is glorious about you. Brazil 1-1 Chile (Brazil win 3-2 on pens) After arguably the greatest group stage to ever grace a World Cup we could have understood if the World Cups knock-out stages had given us a couple of games low on drama, particularly with what was on the line. What a load of nonsense. Brazil 2014 has laughed in the face of hyperbole at past World Cups, tactical trends and many other stereotypes and it was at it again on Saturday, handing us an instant classic the moment the knock out stages began. There is nothing like a World Cup. Nothing. Part of what makes it so incredible special is watching teams dance so close to that line of elimination. On Saturday in the Belo Horizonte sunshine, the host nation danced precariously close to that line. It is a line that past champions have flirted with often, including in the last 16. Back in 2006, Italy needed a 95th minute controversial winner from Francesco Totti to send Australia home and in 1998 holders France couldnt get by Paraguay until a 113th minute golden goal winner by Laurent Blanc. Brazil clearly have a long way to go to be added to that list but the millions of Brazilians watching this game have their mind on one thing and one thing only - the World Cup trophy. Before Saturday, the mandate was clear. Win four games and lift the trophy inside the Maracana on July 13th. Easier said than done. Chile were always the team they didnt want to face. When the draw was made, many looked at a possible Brazil-Spain knockout game but Luiz Felipe Scolari feared Chile more. On Saturday, we found out why. For a nation that expects, the atmosphere was like a carnival at kick-off. There was very little sense of tension. Brazil came out of the blocks flying, pressing high, recovering balls quickly and countering through the blistering speed of Neymar. A goal seemed inevitable and it came through the route all Chile fans feared. Neymars corner, flicked on by Thiago Silva, and poked in by David Luiz at the back post ignited the carnival further. Brazil were in complete control and Chile were shell-shocked, overawed by the occasion. Then another error on Brazils left side of their defence and the lethal combination of Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez gave them the goal they needed. Chiles nerves were gone and their confidence blossomed. Brazil, through Hulk, had some of the games better chances in the second half but Chile were the better side. The carnival disappeared and the tension flooded the stadium. Eleven players in yellow with the weight of over 200 million people on their shoulders. Chile grew stronger sensing an opportunity. Jorge Sampaoli, their wonderfully animated coach, did what he could but he was powerless. Deep in thought must have been what could have been if Arturo Vidal was anywhere close to the player Juventus fans have been lucky to watch closely. Clearly not fit, the talisman was withdrawn from the cauldron close to the end of 90 minutes and it was a cruel blow for such a special player who clearly could have had a massive influence on this game if not for knee surgery last month. Extra time came, Chile tired, Brazil tightened and penalties were inevitable, even though Mauricio Pinilla smashed the bar in the final seconds. The tension was unbearable for many and then referee Howard Webb got to do what he looked destined to do four years ago. The lottery of penalties it was called by the commentator. How naive. As the game came to a climax, both sides will have statistical analysis on each of the players. Even prepared writers had the stats. Julio Cesar had stopped six of 18 penalties in the last five years. Claudio Bravo had faced 16 spot kicks and prevented three. These stats and plenty more make the experience and education of preparing for a shootout much more worthwhile. For example, here is how Gareth Wheeler and I prepared for the penalties on TSN Radio. Seven of the last eight winners in World Cup shootouts went first and Brazil won the toss and did exactly that. David Luizs opener was worth much more than just one goal. When Julio Cesar saved from Pinilla the odds stacked hheavily against the visitors. Terry Porter Jersey. Only four of the previous 22 World Cup shootouts had seen a team miss first and advance. Chile would get it back to 2-2 through four shootouts but Brazil still had the advantage, knowing a goal would put their opponents in a must score scenario. That pressure fell on Neymar. As the television screens worldwide showed Marcelo Diaz celebrating his penalty, the face of the Brazilian side broke away from his teammates and made the lonely walk by himself. From the moment the eighth penalty was kicked, Neymar had 33 seconds to think about whatever entered his mind. Then he received the ball off the referee and placed it down. 52 seconds had now ticked by before he started his run up. He did a little jig of a dance, oh so close to the line of elimination, checked his run, waiting for the keeper to move but it never happened, forcing him to choose a side. Naturally, Neymar went to his natural side (right footed players hitting it to the left) sliding it to the keepers right. David Luiz was their to greet him as he walked back, a very important sign of unity and intimidation as Chiles fifth taker walked by.Gonzalo Jara then had to score. He went to his unnatural side, guessed correctly by Julio Cesar, but the post kept the ball out and Brazil partied long into the night. Brazil had escaped. They were, once again, miles away from the standard they need to reach but now they are only three games away from their goal. Julio Cesar, Thiago Silva, Hulk and Neymar stood out for the Brazilians while many others didnt. A move to 4-3-3 in the second half, with Oscar, centrally and deeper, seems to be the right way going forward but Neymars boys will need to be much, much better to stay in this tournament. After all, he is coming up against another absolute star number ten in yellow... Colombia 2-0 Uruguay Uruguay made no friends in the wake of the latest Luis Suarez biting incident. Oscar Washington Tabarez is a fine gentleman who has done wonders for that country and that federation but his 12 minute rant at a press conference on Friday was sad to see. It was seen as a way of firing up his team but, in truth, they were lifeless in attack once again. It was always going to be difficult for the team to come from behind, much like against Costa Rica (and not against England and Italy) and once one moment of brilliance turned the game, Uruguay were very close to joining Suarez at home. James Rodriguez is now the undisputed player of the tournament so far. A man who wasnt even born the last, and only, time Colombia played a knock out round at the World Cup (1990). His goal changed the game and changed the path for his country as they marched down a road to the World Cup quarter finals for the first time ever. It was a goal you will see over and over again. A goal made by spatial awareness, supreme football intelligence and incredible technique. 27:18 James moves into space between the lines... 27:24 The play develops and still he finds space in that area, constantly moving... 27:27 Still operating between the lines, showing for the ball... 27:31 Here is the brilliance. Ball finally comes his way and here is "the look". A glance behind to see if any defenders are coming tight behind him. Knowing they are not he plays out what is about to happen in his mind before the ball reaches him... Setting himself up for the best goal of the World Cup so far... Man of the day Nominees... Neymar - his pace was a constant threat for Chile and his penalty ended up sending them home. Claudio Bravo - the Chilean goalkeeper was excellent throughout the match and made a big save in the shootout. Julio Cesar - made two superb stops to turn the tide in the shootout. James Rodriguez - a wonderful strike followed by a tap in he helped create meant he, fittingly, carried Colombia into the last eight. Juan Cuadrado - Buried in the shadow of James, the winger has been superb in this tournament and was no different against Uruguay. The winner... Julio Cesar - Seen as the villain of the 2010 World Cup exit, the Brazilian goalkeeper was trusted by his manager to be the number one at the World Cup even when he was on the bench at QPR. He returned that trust and guided Brazil over an enormous hurdle. What comes next? Netherlands vs Mexico (12pm/9am) and Greece vs Costa Rica (4pm/1pm). Burning question for Sunday Do the Netherlands have the midfield trio to be able to match up and keep the ball off Mexicos effective midfield three? Stat of Day 17 Eight of the last nine teams to win a World Cup penalty shootout have taken the first penalty. ' ' '
The legend of Jose Abreu continues to grow, but the enormous early achievements for the rookie have yet to translate into an overall level of success for his Chicago White Sox. Air Force 1 Alte Just Do It . Abreu his and teammates shoot for back-to-back wins for just the second time since June 11 on Saturday as they battle the Toronto Blue Jays in the third of a four-game set. Trying to slow down Abreu for the Jays is rookie hurler Marcus Stroman, a product of Duke. The right-hander, making his first-ever appearance against Chicago, managed to break a minor two-game slide on Monday as he allowed just a single run on three hits, striking out seven, over eight innings against the New York Yankees at home. Stroman has appeared in four day games this season already, but the results have been somewhat hard to swallow, even though he has a record of 1-1 in such games. He is also carrying a lofty 5.65 ERA in those 14 1/3 innings. Chicago, which is alone in last place in the AL Central, has the second- highest team ERA in the league at 4.40 and is the only club yet to register a shutout on the campaign. Conversely, Toronto is second in the AL with 10 shutouts, although the Jays are 11th in overall ERA with a 4.09 mark. Chicagos first baseman posted two more home runs on Friday as the Sox slipped by Toronto in a 5-4 decision. The victory snapped a brief two-game slide for a Chicago club that is 10 games below .500 (16-26) on the road. Abreu, though, now has four multi-homer games through his first 67 contests, becoming the first player since Atlantas Bob Horner in 1978 to achieve such a feat. Abreu is also tied with Torontos Edwin Encarnacion and Nelson Cruz of Baltimore for the Major League lead in home runs with 25. "Im glad hes on my team," said White Sox starter John Danks, who picked up his seventh win of the campaign. "Im glad I dont have to face him." Danks made it through six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, two of those being home runs. A host of relievers handed the game to Jake Petricka who picked up his second save of the season by recording just a pair of outs in the ninth. Former Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey was saddled with the loss as he was hammered for four home runs, five runs overall on just five hits. The knuckleballer did strike out nine and walk only one through six innings, but it just wasnt enough. "I felt very good with it, tonight was a very bizarre outing," Dickey said. "I dont know how else to explain it, to give up five hits and four of them being home runs. To walk one guy and strikeout nine and leave the game after six innings giving up five runs, thats a bizarre outing." Encarnacion, who is second in the league in RBI with 65, delivered on his 25th home run, a solo effort, while Colby Rasmus and Dioner Navarro also went deep for a Toronto team which is still holding down first place in the AL East, 1 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore entering play today. After missing almost the entire month of March, Chris Sale is now aiming to come up with his seventh win in eight decisions as he heads to the mound for the White Sox this afternoon. The left-hander pitched on Monday against Baltimore on the road but failed to earn a decision as Chicago was handed a 6-4 loss. Sale made it through just six innings for the second game in a row, permitting a mere two runs as he scattered a season-high 11 hits and struck out three. Now in his fifth season in the majors, Sale has pitched against Toronto four times previously but is still awaiting his first favorable outcome (0-2), although he has been credited with a save in one of those contests. Sf Air Force 1 Mid Nere . - Titans quarterback Jake Locker will miss the rest of the season with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, leaving Tennessee trying to rally with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Air Force 1 Alte Premium .com) - Mike Conley scored 20 points with five assists to help the Memphis Grizzlies remain unbeaten with a 91-89 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Jayna Hefford scored the winning goal Friday as Canada survived a scare with a 4-3 win over Sweden at the Four Nations womens hockey tournament. The Swedes looked like they were on their way to an upset when they scored goals 20 seconds apart to take a 3-1 lead early in the second period. But Canada responded and was spared blushes as Natalie Spooner scored two straight goals, setting up Heffords winner. "We really dont feel like we played our game very well today and there was a bit of a struggle throughout," Hefford said. "But sometimes games are like that. You have to grind them out and chip away, and thats how we looked at it." Canada finished the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 3-0 record and advanced to Saturdays final against Finland (2-1), which stunned the United States 3-1. Meghan Agosta-Marciano also scored for Canada, while Shannon Szabados made eight saves on 11 shots. Sweden goaltender Valentina Wallner was outstanding, making 41 saves on 45 shots. Anna Borgqvist, Jenni Asserholt and Lina Backlin scored for Sweden, which finished the tournament 0-3. Canada brrought a younger squad to the Four Nations tournament, leaving several veterans, including talismanic leading scorer Hayley Wickenhiser, off the roster for a rest. Air Force 1 Alte Flax . Coach Dan Church said he welcomes the way the young squad battled through adversity. "Coming out and struggling in the first two periods today wasnt part of our game plan," Church said. "But the response form our group was good in the third period. "The young players have really worked hard over these last three games and that is what you want to see. Leaving some veterans at home is an opportunity for them to step up and play some more minutes and show some leadership." Noora Raty made 58 saves and Karolina Rantamaki and Susanna Tapani scored in a 9-second span in the second period to help Finland defeat the U.S. for the first time in the history of the tournament Megan Bozek had a power-play goal for the U.S. (1-2) in the second period to cut it to 2-1, and Tapani set up Jenni Hiirikoskis goal midway through the third period. Canada beat Finland 3-1 on Tuesday. The U.S. will face Sweden in the third-place game. ' ' '