Nadal, Federer advance to play for Italian Open title

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will renew their rivalry in the Italian Open final Sunday in Rome — exactly a week before the French Open starts.

In Saturday’s semifinals, Federer held off a stiff challenge from Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-6 (5), 6-4, and six-time Rome champion Nadal defeated sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4 — a day after Berdych rallied to beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic.

Serena Williams, meanwhile, is one victory away from her fourth consecutive title this year.

The top-ranked American overcame an early service break to roll past Romanian qualifier Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0.

In Sunday’s final, Williams faces third-seed Victoria Azarenka. It’s Azarenka’s first final since beating Williams for the title in February at Doha.


PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Goalkeeper Adam Perron made two saves to lead the GPS Portland Phoenix to a 0-0 tie with the Seacoast United Phantoms at Deering High’s Memorial Field.

Portland held an 11-5 edge in shots and a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks. Portland is 2-0-1 overall, 1-0-1 in the PDL. 

The Phoenix next play Tuesday night at Rochester, N.Y., in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup against the Rochester Rhinos. Should the Phoenix win at Rochester, they would take on the New England Revolution on May 28 at Harvard Stadium.

MLS: Diego Fagundez scored and the visiting New England Revolution also got an own goal in a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.

New England (3-4-4), unbeaten in four of its last five games, took a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute on Fagundez’s goal.

FRENCH LEAGUE: With fans chanting his name, David Beckham began his final home game before retirement as the newly appointed captain of Paris Saint-Germain.

The 38-year-old Englishman was given a rousing reception at Parc des Princes before the French League match with Brest. Paris Saint-Germain won, 3-1.


GIRO D’ITALIA: Mauro Santambrogio of Italy won the 14th stage in rain, wind and snow at Bardonecchia, Italy, while countryman Vincenzo Nibali extended his overall lead.

The course was changed shortly before the start and the climb up Sestriere was removed because of avalanche threats.

TOUR OF CALIFORNIA: Leopold Konig of the Czech Republic won the seventh stage in a mountaintop finish. American Tejay van Garderen finished third and kept the overall lead for the third straight day.


NFL: The San Diego Chargers agreed to a two-year deal with aging star pass rusher Dwight Freeney.

The Chicago Bears signed first-round draft pick Kyle Long, a 6-foot-6, 313-pound guard from Oregon, to a four-year contract.


SOFTBALL: Suzanna Borg pitched into the sixth inning and also had two hits and scored three runs to lead fourth-seeded Berwick Academy (10-4) to an 8-4 win over third-seeded Newton Country Day in a consolation game of the Eastern Independent League tournament held at Newton, Mass.

Berwick lost 8-3 to Pingree in its opening game.

Molly LaPointe finished the day with five hits for the Bulldogs.

– From staff and news services

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