Paris Sentimental favorite Roger Federer did not quite follow the script Friday at the French Open. He decided to go for high drama.
Striving to complete a career Grand Slam, Federer came from behind twice in the semifinals to beat big-serving Juan Martin del Potro, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
“It feels great coming through tough matches like this,” Federer said. “It’s more emotional. It’s more satisfaction.”
Playing in his fourth consecutive Roland Garros final, Federer will try for his 14th major title to match Pete Sampras’ record. His opponent Sunday will be No. 23-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden, who extended his improbable Roland Garros run by beating No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez in another seesaw semifinal, 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.
With nemesis Rafael Nadal eliminated in the fourth round, Federer faces a less daunting path to that elusive championship. He’s 9-0 against Soderling.
In the all-Russian women’s final today, top-ranked Dinara Safina will try for her first Grand Slam title against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Ex-All Star Smith dies
Hartford, Conn. — Randy Smith, a blindingly fast All-Star with the Buffalo Braves in the 1970s who once held the NBA record for consecutive games, died while working out on a treadmill. He was 60. He had a massive heart attack Thursday while exercising at the Connecticut casino where he worked, son-in-law Lekan Bashua told The Associated Press on Friday. Smith, a 6-foot-3 guard, was drafted by the Braves in the seventh round in 1971 and averaged more than 13 points in his rookie season..
La Russa, Twitter settle
St. Louis — St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Twitter have reached a settlement in his lawsuit against the social networking site. La Russa said Friday that Twitter had agreed to pay legal fees and make a donation to his Animal Rescue Foundation. La Russa filed suit last month in the Superior Court of California.
Furyk, Byrd top Memorial
Dublin, Ohio — One last birdie for Jim Furyk put him one more stroke under par, which he found more gratifying than being in a share of the lead with Jonathan Byrd on Friday at the Memorial. Tiger Woods had his worst score in nearly two years — a 2-over 74 — and still was only six shots behind. Furyk and Byrd were at 7-under 137. Mike Weir (69) and Mark Wilson (70) were another shot back at 6 under.
Pak, Pettersen tied
Springfield, Ill. — Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak maintained a share of the State Farm Classic lead while Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson shot into contention with a second-round 63. Pak shot a 4-under 68 to match Suzann Pettersen (66) at 10-under 134.
Langer leads Triton Financial
Lakeway, Texas — Bernhard Langer birdied the par-3 18th hole for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke after the first round of the Triton Financial Classic.
Ex-Arkansas DT arrested
Little Rock, Ark. — Former Arkansas defensive tackle Keith Jackson Jr. was arrested on Friday on suspicion of felony drug charges after being found in an apartment with marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy. Prosecutors said that 2 pounds of marijuana, 1 gram of cocaine and about 50 tablets of Ecstasy were found.
Memphis faces questions
Atlanta — Robert Dozier is the second men’s basketball player who starred on the Memphis team that made it to the 2008 championship game to have questions arise about his entrance exams. University officials already were preparing for an NCAA hearing to answer charges that a former player, believed to Derrick Rose, cheated on his SAT exam.
Dozier’s inconsistent SAT scores prevented him from being admitted to the University of Georgia. His initial SAT score was invalidated by the company that scores the exam, and his follow-up score was dramatically lower, according to Georgia records obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
nded with the 2008-09 season.
FDU fires longtime coach
Hackensack, N.J. — Tom Green has been fired as the basketball coach at Fairleigh Dickinson after leading the Knights to 407 wins and four NCAA Tournament appearances in a 26-year tenure. He guided the Knights to 17 winning seasons, but they won just 15 games over the past two seasons and had three straight losing seasons.
Miami’s Collins returning
Coral Gables, Fla. — Dwayne Collins has withdrawn his name from the upcoming NBA Draft and says he will return to the University of Miami for his senior year. Collins had workouts with the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, but had not hired an agent.