MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Roger Federer showed against 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych that his first two wins against qualifiers at the Australian Open really were warmups.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded 17th after spending six months on the sidelines last season, only needed 90 minutes to beat Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the third round.
This was against a rival who played the Wimbledon final in 2010 and reached the quarterfinals or better in Australia the previous six years. And he’d beaten Federer in six of their previous 22 matches.
The winner of that has a potential quarterfinal against top-ranked Andy Murray, who showed no signs of trouble with his sore ankle as he advanced to the Round of 16 for the ninth straight year with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 31 Sam Querrey.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones cleared his final hurdle for Sunday’s NFC championship game against Green Bay by practicing for the first time this week.
Coach Dan Quinn said Jones had no limitations in his first practice since aggravating his sprained left toe last week.
Jones did not appear to favor the foot in the portion of the practice open to reporters. The All-Pro receiver missed two games with a toe injury this season and sat of part of the second half of last week’s playoff win over Seattle.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - The Green Bay Packers may not know the status of injured receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison until just before the NFC championship game on Sunday.
Coach Mike McCarthy said that all three receivers would be “given every chance to play in the game.”
The Packers didn’t have on-field work on Friday, when all three players were listed as questionable on the injury report. Nelson was limited in practice this week as he recovers from broken ribs. He wasn’t at Lambeau Field on Friday because of an unrelated illness, McCarthy said. Adams has an ankle injury, and Allison has a hamstring injury.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr announced his retirement after learning he has a congenital spinal condition.
The 24-year-old Orr led the Ravens this season with 132 tackles. He joined Baltimore in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of North Texas and stepped into a starting role this year, playing the middle linebacker position once held by Ray Lewis and Daryl Smith.
Orr hurt his neck on Christmas Day in a game against Pittsburgh and missed the season finale against Cincinnati. An examination revealed he had a herniated disc, but further tests showed a deeper problem.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Bills star receiver Sammy Watkins is going to spend his second consecutive offseason recovering from surgery for a broken left foot.
The operation took place last week and after team doctors conferred with specialist Robert Anderson, the Bills announced.
Though the Bills termed the procedure as having gone well, they expect Watkins to be sidelined until the start of training camp in the summer.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s interim tag has been shed by coach Mike Zimmer, a step toward stability for the team’s offense following a tumultuous season.
The widely expected move was finalized by the Vikings, who also fired quarterbacks coach Scott Turner and hired running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu and tight ends coach Clancy Barone. Kevin Stefanski switched from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach to complete the shuffle.
NEW YORK (AP) - For the second straight year, more than 100 players are giving up college eligibility to enter the NFL draft.
The league released a list of 95 underclassmen who have been granted early entry to draft, along with the names of eight other players, including Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who are draft-eligible by completing their college degrees.
Last year 96 underclassmen declared for the draft and 11 others became eligible by finishing their degrees. Of those 96 underclassmen, 66 were drafted (69 percent). In 2015, 71 percent of 74 underclassmen were drafted. The record for underclassmen declaring for the draft is 98 in 2014.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Power Five conferences have voted to stop coaches from taking teams off-campus during any vacation period outside a sport’s season for practice, a rule proposed after Jim Harbaugh took his Michigan Wolverines to Florida during spring break last year.
The rule passed by a 58-22 margin at the Power Five conferences’ third annual autonomy session at the NCAA convention. The Big Ten voted 11-3 for the change.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel opposed the proposal before the vote and noted later that the 15 student-athlete representatives from Power 5 schools voted 11-4 against the rule. Manuel says Michigan had been waiting before deciding whether to hold an off-campus practice a second straight year.
For the second year in a row, the Orioles negotiated a deal to keep the major league home run champion in Baltimore.
Mark Trumbo’s $37.5 million, three-year contract was finalized a day after the sides reached agreement subject to a successful physical.
Last offseason, the Orioles signed free agent Chris Davis to a $161 million, seven-year contract after he led the big leagues with 47 home runs in 2015. Trumbo also hit a major league-leading 47 homers last season, his first with Baltimore.
NEW YORK (AP) - The NBA fined Sidney Lowe $5,000 and the Wizards organization $15,000 after the assistant coach was standing on the court during the New York Knicks’ final possession of a game.
The league says that Lowe was “potentially impacting game action” by standing on the court as the Knicks had the ball. Replays showed him close to Knicks guard Courtney Lee , who said he didn’t attempt a shot because he heard Lowe nearby yelling and believed it was a player who might block his shot.
Lee ended up passing to Brandon Jennings, but John Wall stole the ball from him to preserve the Wizards’ 113-110 victory on Thursday.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Spurs center Pau Gasol has undergone surgery to repair a fractured left ring finger.
The Spurs said they have not determined a timeline for Gasol’s return.
The 16-year veteran fractured his left fourth metacarpal Thursday night while in the layup line before San Antonio’s home victory over Denver. Attempting a running hook while coming in from the left side of the basket, Gasol jammed his left hand into Kyle Anderson’s left shoulder. Gasol immediately grabbed his hand and exited the court shortly thereafter to undergo X-rays, which revealed the break. It was the first game Gasol missed due to injury this season. He sat out two games for rest.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Rick Hendrick, owner of the most successful organization in NASCAR, grew up on a Virginia tobacco farm knowing that wasn’t the life he wanted.
He took chance after chance chasing a NASCAR career, came close to folding his team more than once, but always found a way to persevere. It earned him a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Also inducted was Mark Martin, car owners Richard Childress and Raymond Parks, and former NASCAR champion Benny Parsons. Martin is considered the greatest driver to never win a championship.
Martin was a runner-up five times for the Cup title, and won 40 races - 17th on the all-time list. In NASCAR’s second-tier series, Martin won 49 times, which was a record for 14 years.
MONACO (AP) - A spectator was killed after being hit by a car during the first stage of the season-opening Monte Carlo rally, race organizers said.
Organizers said the spectator was struck by a car driven by New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon during the first of two night stages held on Thursday night. No further details were given by organizers.
Stage 1 of the race was cancelled, although stage 2 was held later Thursday night. The race concludes Sunday.
LONDON (AP) - Steven Gerrard is returning to Liverpool to coach in the Premier League team’s youth academy.
After an 18-month spell with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the former Liverpool captain retired from soccer in November but now he is back at the club where he spent 17 years as a professional - having graduated from the academy.
The 36-year-old Gerrard made 710 appearances for Liverpool and is one of the greatest players in the club’s history.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Hyped as the future of men’s skating, Nathan Chen put the sport on notice that his time is now.
Chen dazzled and dominated as he stamped himself as a future Olympic medalist contender, connecting on a pair of quads and slaying the competition with a short program record score of 106.39 at the U.S. figure skating championships.
The 17-year-old Chen scored nearly 20 points higher than his closest competitor, Ross Miner, and would need a complete collapse Sunday not to walk out of Kansas City with a gold medal.
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