TENNIS

Djokovic beats del Potro in ATP World Tour Finals

Defending champion Novak Djokovic joined top-ranked Rafael Nadal at the London tournament, overcoming Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday.

Djokovic, undefeated in last year’s finals, improved to 2-0 in Group B with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over the hard-hitting Argentine.

Also, Roger Federer made light work of Richard Gasquet for his first round-robin win, beating the Frenchman 6-4, 6-3 to boost his chances of making the semifinals for an 11th time.

BOXING

FRAZIER LEGACY: Joe Frazier’s statue has found new life. The monument was set to be erected by spring 2014 near Philadelphia’s three sports stadiums, but sculptor Lawrence J. Nowlan died in August.

Philadelphia artist Stephen Lane has picked the project up, and will base the work on Frazier’s knockdown of Muhammad Ali.

“That’s the moment I thought was quintessential Joe,” Lane said.

Frazier died Nov. 7, 2011, from liver cancer at age 67.

HOCKEY

AHL: The Phoenix Coyotes assigned forward Andy Miele to the Portland Pirates, their AHL affiliate.

In four games with the Coyotes, Miele, the 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner, had two assists and five penalty minutes.

In six games with the Pirates before his call-up to the NHL, Miele had five goals and three assists.

SOCCER

IRAN: FIFA president Sepp Blatter is urging Iran to end its ban on female soccer spectators in stadiums.

Iran is one of the few countries that block women from attending soccer matches, but has permitted female fans at some other sports venues in the past.

Qatar, which only allowed its first female Olympic athletes last year, has promised that women fans are welcome when it hosts the 2022 World Cup.

BASEBALL

MLB: The Texas Rangers and left-hander Martin Perez agreed to a $12.5 million, four-year contract.

The agreement came after Perez went 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA as a rookie.

The 22-year-old became the first Texas rookie to win six consecutive starts and went nearly two months between losses.

Andrew McCutchen might be the best player on the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he’s not their chief recruiter.

The All-Star center fielder said he won’t make any calls to right-hander A.J. Burnett, right fielder Marlon Byrd or any of Pittsburgh’s other free agents in an attempt to talk them into staying.

The Pirates ended their streak of 20 straight losing seasons, the longest in the history of the four major pro sports, by going 94-68 in 2013.

– From staff and news services