Murray beats Wawrinka to reach last four of Japan Open


SPORTS DIGEST: TennisTitle holder Andy Murray beat Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2 3-6 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Japan Open yesterday in a match which brought both men to boiling point.

Second seed Tomas Berdych crashed out in the day’s late quarter-final, beaten 7-5 6-4 by local favourite Kei Nishikori under floodlights in the tournament’s biggest upset so far. Olympic champion Murray, playing his first event since winning his maiden grand slam title at last month’s US Open, survived a scare from the Swiss in brilliant Tokyo sunshine.

Murray faces sixth seed Milos Raonic today after the big-serving Canadian squeaked by third seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-7 6-2 7-6 in an epic struggle.

“It will be a totally different match,” top seed Murray said. “He’s obviously got a massive serve. I played him a few weeks ago at the US Open. He’s always a tricky player because of his game style.”

Murray, who also reached this year’s Wimbledon final, thrashed Raonic 6-4 6-4 6-2 in the fourth round of the US Open but the Canadian has been in red-hot form in Tokyo.

Puerto Rican Cruz reveals he is gay

BoxingPuerto Rican featherweight Orlando Cruz has become the first active boxer to publicly reveal he is gay.

Cruz (31), competed in the 2000 Olympic Games and is on the verge of a world title fight with the WBO.

“I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my career, I want to be true to myself,” said Cruz, who has won 18 of his 22 contests.

“I want to try to be the best role model I can for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career.

“I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”

The revelation comes two weeks before Cruz takes on Jorge Pazos for the WBO Latino featherweight crown in Florida, a bout that could propel him towards a world title fight.

Cruz has had two victories since being stopped by Cornelius Lock – his first professional defeat – and knocked out by former world champion Daniel Ponce de Leon in successive bouts.

First two weeks of season cancelled

Ice Hockey The National Hockey League (NHL) has cancelled the first two weeks of its regular season because of an ongoing labour dispute with its players’ union.

The US and Canadian ice hockey league cut 82 games from October 11th to 24th. It is unclear if they will be made up.

The two sides are still far apart on a key issue in the contract talks – how much players should receive of the $3bn revenue the games bring in. A labour dispute seven years ago saw the entire 2004-2005 season cancelled. No future negotiations are currently scheduled. Without a deal, clashes between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers, as well as old rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, will be cancelled. A recently expired contract gave players 57 per cent of hockey-related revenue. The NHL would like to have that percentage lower than 50 per cent – possibly as low as 47 per cent. Many NHL players have decided to stay in North America and play in the American Hockey League while others have decided to find clubs in Europe until any deal is reached.

West Indies overpower Australia to reach final

CricketChris Gayle overpowered Australia in West Indies’ mesmerising display of sustained hitting as they surged into tomorrow’s final against Sri Lanka (live on Sky Sports 2, 1.30pm).

Gayle (75 not out) and his muscular team-mates dispatched the best Australia could muster to all parts, and beyond, at the Premadasa Stadium to pile up 205 for four on a fine pitch in last night’s semi-final.

It proved all too much for the Aussies, whose reply never got started and realised just 131 all out – despite George Bailey’s blistering maiden Twenty20 international 50 from just 23 balls. West Indies’ innings was a six-fest. Gayle batted through, faced only 41 of the 120 balls – yet hit six of them for six, and five for four.

His stand with Kieron Pollard was especially brutal, as the pair climbed into Xavier Doherty’s final over to carry the Windies’ six tally to 14.

Johnson Charles went early, caught behind driving at Mitchell Starc, but Gayle and Marlon Samuels ensured a favourable powerplay of 46 for one.

Security increased in Shanghai after threat to Federer

TennisShanghai Masters organisers have increased security for the tournament starting today after an online threat to decapitate world number one Roger Federer, the Shanghai Youth Daily newspaper reported yesterday.

“On October 6th I plan to assassinate Federer in order to exterminate tennis,” read a post by “Blue Cat Polytheistic Leader 07” on a Federer fan website on September 25th, the newspaper’s website said.

The paper said the post was accompanied by a “very scary” computer modified image showing a decapitated Federer.

Shanghai police are investigating.

Local journalists said Shanghai municipal authorities had told local media not to report the issue.

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