National Sports Briefs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Associated Press
PARIS ó At last, Rafael Nadal sounded satisfied.
Then again, what could he possibly have complained about Wednesday? The five-time French Open champion reached the semifinals and improved his career record at Roland Garros to 43-1 with a clean-as-can-be 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory over the only man heís ever lost to there, two-time runner-up Robin Soderling.
ěToday, I played better. Much better, in my opinion,î Nadal said. ěIt was nothing secret, nothing magic. … I found a lot of solutions.î
On Friday, the top-seeded Nadal will take on No. 4 Andy Murray, who became only the third British man in the last 70 years to reach the French Open semifinals by beating unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-2. Murrayís been playing with a torn tendon in his right ankle since twisting it in the third round.
The other menís semifinal is No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who is 41-0 in 2011 and has won 43 consecutive matches overall, against No. 3 Roger Federer, owner of a record 16 Grand Slam titles.
Itís the 12th time in the history of the Open era, which began in 1968, that the top four seeded men reached the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament ó and first since the 2006 French Open.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ó Virginia’s top-seeded baseball team is sticking with a proven formula heading into the NCAA tournament, and it’s really nothing fancy.
“Our team motto all year has been, ‘Win this pitch, win this at-bat, win this inning,'” catcher John Hicks said Tuesday. “We try to stay as far away from the big picture as possible.”
The Cavaliers (49-9) went 4-0 this weekend to win the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament for the third time. They open against Navy (33-23-1) on Friday afternoon in the double-elimination format. East Carolina (39-19) and St. John’s (35-20) meet in the other game.
DEDHAM, Mass. ó Jim Calhoun told graduates of the high school where he coached and taught that “the best years are ahead of you.” Still, he wouldn’t say how he would spend his own future.
After speaking at commencement ceremonies at Dedham High School on Wednesday, the coach of NCAA champion Huskies said he hadn’t decided whether to return to the job he has held since 1986.
“I’m not even thinking about that,” Calhoun said in an interview. “I’m just thinking about coming home.”
Home, at least on Wednesday, was the town where he lived for 11 years and the school where he had his first real coaching success, going 20-1 in 1970-71 and 21-1 the following season when his team went to the state Division I semifinals.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó Memphis and Louisville will renew their longtime rivalry in the 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout.
The game, which was announced by Basketball Hall of Fame officials in Springfield, Mass., on Wednesday, will be at 4 p.m. Dec. 17 at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center and will be broadcast nationally by CBS.
DETROIT ó The Detroit Lions’ defensive line has a nickname.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz picked “Silver Crush” as his favorite on his Twitter account Wednesday because it acknowledges the history of the franchise’s front four known as the “Silver Rush,” in the early 1980s.
Schwartz asked his followers on Twitter last week to suggest names for the unit, which includes Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nick Fairley.
ATLANTA ó First, the Flames. Now, the Thrashers.
The struggling NHL franchise was sold to a group that will move it to Winnipeg next season, making Atlanta the first city in the league’s modern era to lose two teams.
The Flames left for Calgary in 1980. The Thrashers are following them to Canada three decades later.
True North Sports and Entertainment announced the deal during a news conference at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, the 15,015-seat arena where the team will play.
The news sparked a raucous celebration in Manitoba’s largest city, which is rejoining the league after losing the Jets to Phoenix in 1996.
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic ó Usain Bolt remained unbeaten in two races this season, winning the 100 meters in 9.91 seconds at the Golden Spike meet.