National Sports Briefs
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 6, 2008
Tropical Storm Hanna struck an overhead slam at the U.S. Open, postponing one men’s semifinal and forcing the women’s final off its usual Saturday date for the first time in 34 years.
With whipping wind and rain moving up the Atlantic Seaboard, the title match between Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic was shifted from Saturday night to Sunday night.
“I’ll be ready for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” Williams said. “Doesn’t matter.”
The men’s final was rescheduled from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon. It’s the first Monday final for the men at the Open since 1987, when Ivan Lendl defeated Mats Wilander.
Hanna cut short the Rafael Nadal-Andy Murray semifinal. That match resumes Sunday afternoon, with Murray up 6-2, 7-6 (5), 2-3.
Roger Federer, going for a fifth straight Open crown, beat the rain ó and Novak Djokovic ó with a four-set victory in his semifinal.
– The NASCAR race at Richmond International Raceway, which will set the field of 12 drivers for the 2008 series championship, already had been switched from Saturday night to Sunday. The Nationwide Series race went from Friday night to Sunday night.
ST. LOUIS ó Jim Furyk only wanted to give himself a chance in the BMW Championship, and it took 36 holes to do it on a marathon Saturday at Bellerive that put him atop the leaderboard for the first time all year.
Whether he stays there when everyone finishes the third round is still to be determined.
Furyk finished with five straight birdies to set the course record at Bellerive with an 8-under 62 in the second round, then followed with a 66 that put him at 12-under 198 and gave him the clubhouse lead.
MADISON, Ill. ó Ron Hornaday raced to his fourth NASCAR Craftsman Truck victory of the season and record 37th overall, holding off Dennis Setzer by 0.646 seconds Saturday in the Camping World 200.
Hornaday, the defending series champion driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc., led 113 of the 160 laps on the 1.25-mile Gateway International oval.
Johnny Benson, the series leader and also a four-time winner this year, was third, followed by Todd Bodine, Jack Sprague, Erik Darnell, Mike Skinner, Rick Crawford, Colin Braun and Ted Musgrave.
Benson has a 94-point lead over Hornaday, also the 1996 and 1998 series champion, in the season standings.
JOLIET, ILL. ó Dario Franchitti can hardly wait to get back in an IndyCar.
The 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion was at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, less than a week after the announcement that he will return to open-wheel racing in 2009 as part of Chip Ganassi Racing.
SAN FRANCISCO ó A 9-foot bronzed statue of Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda was unveiled during a ceremony before the Giants game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.
– TORONTO ó Evan Longoria was activated off the 15-day disabled list Saturday after the Tampa Bay slugger said he felt “almost 100 percent” following 30 swings with a regular bat.