Federer wins 30th straight to reach Bangkok Open final

Roger Federer advanced to the Thailand Open final after defeating Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, 6-3, 6-4, in Bangkok.

Top-seeded Federer will defend his championship today against Andrew Murray of Britain, who beat Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan in the other semifinal.

Federer lost the opening game but rebounded to beat Nieminen in 57 minutes for his 30th consecutive win. He has not lost since falling to Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinals.

Play went on serve until in the sixth game of the first set, when Federer produced a drop shot to set up a triple break point. Nieminen buried a forehand into the net to give Federer a 4-2 lead.

Nieminen had a chance to break at 1-2 in the second set, but Federer turned to his attacking ground strokes and held for 2-2 with an ace. After exchanging long rallies, Federer broke away in the sixth game to lead 4-2 and never looked back.

"It was a fantastic match," Federer said. "I didn't come here well prepared because I just came from Davis Cup. But so far it's been great results for me."

In the other semifinal, the seventh-seeded Srichaphan lost before his home fans, beaten by Murray, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2, leaving the tournament without Asia's top player.

Murray had eliminated fifth-seeded Robin Soderling in the second round and third-seeded Robby Ginepri in the quarterfinals.

After exchanging early breaks, Srichaphan and Murray held serve to force a tiebreaker in the first set. Murray appeared in trouble after he hurt his wrist while chasing a ball in the second set, but Srichaphan made too many errors to capitalize.


No. 1 seed Puerta loses in Vietnam

Top-seeded Mariano Puerta of Argentina, weary and sore, was ousted from the Vietnam Open in Ho Chi Minh City with a 6-1, 6-0 loss in the semifinals to Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden. Bjorkman will play for the title today against third-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who held off second-seeded Thomas Johansson of Sweden, 7-5, 6-4. Puerta lost in 67 minutes in a match in which his opponent served well and covered the court.

ATP Palermo International -- Italy's Filippo Volandri won two matches within a few hours and will play Russia's Igor Andreev for the title in Palermo, Sicily. Volandri, seeded sixth and Italy's top player, beat second-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain, 6-4, 6-2, in a quarterfinal held over from Friday because of rain. He then defeated Germany's Tomas Behrend, 6-4, 6-2, in the semifinals.

WTA Korean Open -- Top-seeded Jelena Jankovic overcame a loss in the second set to defeat third-seeded Tatiana Golovin of France, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, to advance to the final in Seoul, South Korea.

Auto racing

Hendrick team to pay overtime

Hendrick Motorsports will pay more than $350,000 in back overtime wages to employees after an investigation found the racing company violated federal labor laws. The company, which designs, builds and races cars in NASCAR, acknowledged it failed to pay 214 salaried production workers $351,783 in overtime between July 2003 and July 2005. The U.S. Labor Department said it determined Hendrick violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. "We certainly wanted to make sure our employees received any compensation to which they were entitled, so we were glad to make the appropriate payments," Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex told the Associated Press in an e-mail.

ARCA -- Kraig Kinser, the 20-year-old son of 19-time World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser, overcame an early mistake and won the Food World 300 in only his second start in the American Race Car Association stock car series in Talladega, Ala.


Tanzania's Joseph wins half-marathon

Fabiano Joseph of Tanzania surged in the final strides to slip past Mubarak Shami of Qatar and win the men's world half-marathon championship in Edmonton, Alberta. Shami was raising his arms in victory as Joseph passed him at the finish line to win in 1 hour, 1 minute, 8 seconds. In the women's race, Romanian Constantina Tomescu finished a minute ahead of her closest competitor in 1:09.17.


Polish Olympian injured in crash

Olympic champion swimmer Otylia Jedrzejczak of Poland was hospitalized in serious condition after a car crash in which her younger brother died. Jedrzejczak, who won a gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly and two silver medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was driving with her brother outside Warsaw when her car skidded off the road and hit a tree.

Et cetera

United prevails, earns playoff spot

D.C. United scored four times in the second half - including Ben Olsen's first two goals of the season - to post a 4-1 win over the MetroStars in East Rutherford, N.J. The victory clinched a Major League Soccer Eastern Conference playoff berth for D.C. United (15-9-5), the defending league champion, and seriously hurt the MetroStars' hopes of gaining a postseason berth. The loss also ended an 11-game unbeaten streak at home for the MetroStars (10-9-10).

More soccer -- Manchester United and Tottenham rallied to victories in the English Premier League. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored two goals to lead United over Fulham, 3-2, and Robbie Keane came off the bench to score the winning goal in Tottenham's 3-2 win at second-place Charlton.

Sailing -- America's Cup winner Alinghi took a one-point lead in the Louis Vuitton warm-up regatta during a third day of races marked by gusts and rough seas that left some boats damaged. Alinghi won against Sweden's Victory Challenge and Italy's Luna Rossa.

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