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Federer Defeats Safin in Wimbledon Tuneup

The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

June 13, 2005|From Times Wire Reports

Roger Federer beat a racket-slamming Marat Safin, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-4, on Sunday to win the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, for the third year in a row. The top-ranked Swiss standout won his 20th consecutive ATP final and 29th consecutive match on grass courts.

In defeating the Australian Open champion, Federer recorded the 29th title of his career. He will be going for his third consecutive crown at Wimbledon, which starts June 20.

"I'm hoping for something similar this year," Federer said. "I feel great. My 29th title and my 29th win on grass, that fits perfectly."

Federer and Safin traded early breaks in the first set, the only time the Russian would break. Safin, trailing 5-4, lost the set with two forehands that sailed long.

Federer jumped in exhilaration after winning the two-hour match. Safin repeatedly slammed his racket and screamed at the referee as he wasted several chances to break serve.

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Andy Roddick won his third consecutive title at Queen's in London, defeating 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4), to join Lleyton Hewitt and John McEnroe as the only players to win this Wimbledon tuneup three times in a row.

Roddick reached the Wimbledon final last season and the semifinal two years ago, losing both times to Federer.

On an overcast, breezy day, Roddick recorded his 15th consecutive victory at Queen's. Karlovic, a Croatian who relies on a powerful serve, had not dropped a set at Queen's.

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Maria Sharapova struggled on a cold day to defeat Jelena Jankovic, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, to win the DFS Classic in Birmingham, England, taking the Wimbledon warmup for the second year in a row.

Sharapova, ranked No. 2, broke Jankovic in her first two service games. In the second set, Jankovic showed that she is improving on the unfamiliar surface by timing the ball better.

WNBA

Vickie Johnson scored 21 points and made sure Deanna Nolan stayed busy defending her, while Becky Hammon made three three-point baskets to help the New York Liberty to a 72-69 victory over the visiting Detroit Shock.

Hammon and Shameka Christon each made two free throws down the stretch to help the Liberty (3-4) hang on.

Nolan scored 16 points but missed a tying three-pointer late in the game.

Cheryl Ford had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit (5-2), tying a team record with her sixth consecutive game of 10 rebounds or more.

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Janell Burse's layup with 0.1 seconds left gave the Seattle Storm a 62-60 win over the Charlotte Sting at Charlotte, N.C.

Iziane Castro Marques passed to Tanisha Wright, who was too far underneath the basket. Wright then slapped the ball to Burse, who banked it in just before the buzzer sounded.

The Sting tried a long tip play, but Tangela Smith failed to hit the rim.

Charlotte lost its fourth consecutive game.

Burse scored nine of her 14 points in the final four minutes; Lauren Jackson added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Storm (6-3).

Sheri Sam scored 14 points against her former team, and Smith added 12 for the Sting (1-7), who shot 31%.

Seattle played its third game in a row without All-Star guard Sue Bird, who broke two bones in her face last week against Connecticut.

Bird will not need surgery to repair the broken orbital bone but will have a procedure today to realign her nose, the team said.

She also will be fitted for a mask, and could play Wednesday against Minnesota.

Sting rookie Janel McCarville, the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, had two points and six rebounds in five minutes. She was activated from the injured list Sunday after sitting out five games because of a lower back sprain.

Cycling

Lance Armstrong finished fourth overall in the Dauphine Libere, a Tour de France tuneup in Sallanches, France, won by Spain's Inigo Landaluze for his first professional victory.

Armstrong, preparing for a bid at a seventh consecutive Tour de France title next month, was third in the final stage of a race he was not looking to win. Discovery Channel teammate George Hincapie won the seventh stage, leading a 1-2-3 finish for the squad.

Armstrong was trying to get some mileage on the bike and some rhythm in his legs for the Tour.

He had three third-place stage finishes and a fourth up his least favorite mountain.

The results suggest he is not out of shape, but not at his best, either.

"B-plus for the whole week? Maybe that's a little generous," the Texan said. "I wasn't explosive and wasn't able to make the selection, only to follow. But I know from here I can step up another level."

Colombia's Santiago Botero was second overall, followed by U.S. rider Levi Leipheimer.

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Defending champion Jan Ullrich won the time trial at the Tour de Suisse, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Bradley McGee to claim the yellow jersey as overall leader in Weinfelden, Switzerland.

Ullrich, who rides for T-Mobile, completed the 21.75-mile stage in 44 minutes 6 seconds, riding at an average of 30 miles an hour.

Quick Step's Michael Rogers, the reigning time trial world champion, finished third, 18 seconds off the pace.

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