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National sports Briefs: Roddick beats buddy, Federer next

Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Andy Roddick was ruthless, treating his close friend like little more than warmup fodder for his semifinal showdown with Roger Federer.

The 2003 U.S. Open champion flattened Mardy Fish without blinking Tuesday, making only four unforced errors in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal win at the Australian Open.

“I played pretty flawless, I thought,” Roddick said. “I feel good going into the semis.”

Next up is how to beat Federer, something he has not managed since Montreal in 2003.

That was the year he ended at No. 1 and collected his only major title.

Federer also won his first major at Wimbledon that year, and is now bidding for his 10th Grand Slam title.

The defending champion encountered tricky wind conditions on Rod Laver Arena and a difficult opponent, looking nervous at times during a 6-3, 7-6 (2), 7-5 win over No. 7 Tommy Robredo with his parents in the crowd.

Serena Williams knows what it’s like to dominate tennis. This time, though, she’s coming in at the other end.

On Tuesday, it was only her competitive streak that got her out of trouble against 16th-seeded Shahar Peer and into a semifinal against

17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova, who beat fellow Czech Lucie Safarova in straight sets.

Williams fended off 10 break points and came within two points of going out before advancing 3-6, 6-2, 8-6.


ALAMEDA, Calif. — After four miserable seasons, Al Davis knew the Oakland Raiders needed a fresh start.

He couldn’t have found a new coach much more fresh than Lane Kiffin.

The Raiders officially hired the 31-year-old Kiffin on Tuesday, putting the former Southern California offensive coordinator in charge of restoring glory to a three-time Super Bowl champion that fell to the NFL’s worst record last year.

Kiffin, who took the job Monday, became the youngest head coach in club history and the NFL’s youngest in several decades.


PHOENIX — Russ Grimm was hired as the Arizona Cardinals’ assistant head coach and offensive line coach Tuesday, two weeks after he interviewed for the head coaching position.

Grimm’s hiring comes two days after erroneous reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers had chosen him to replace retired coach Bill Cowher. Grimm wanted the Steelers job, but said he was happy to reunite with Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, a former Steelers staffmate.


CHARLOTTE — The Carolina Panthers hired Cleveland Browns assistant Jeff Davidson as their offensive coordinator Tuesday afternoon.

Davidson, who was the Browns’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach, will take over for Dan Henning, who was fired last week.

Carolina also announced that Dave Magazu, who has served as tight ends coach since 2003, will take over as offensive line coach for the Mike Maser, who was also fired last week in a coaching shake up after Carolina finished a disappointing 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs.


SKOKIE, Ill. — Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson will play in the Super Bowl — with court approval and a warning from a judge to stay out of trouble.

Cook County Judge John Moran granted a defense request Tuesday to allow Johnson to leave the state as he awaits trial on gun possession charges. The Bears will play the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl in Miami on Feb. 4.

* SAN DIEGO — Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers won’t play in the Pro Bowl because of a foot injury.

Chargers spokesman Bill Johnston said Tuesday that Rivers, a first-year starter in his third year out of North Carolina State, sprained his right foot against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 31 and aggravated it in the Chargers’ 24-21 playoff loss to New England.


MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves fired coach Dwane Casey on Tuesday, one day after the Wolves lost their fourth game in a row.

Casey lasted less than 11/2 seasons in Minnesota in his first head coaching job.


NEW YORK — Baseball is set to announce Yankee Stadium as site of the 2008 All-Star game.

Commissioner Bud Selig will hold a news conference at New York’s City Hall with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Jan. 31. Selig has said since last summer that Yankee Stadium was a leading candidate for the game.


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