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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
Sports

Wednesday's Sports In Brief

Published:   |   Updated: September 4, 2014 at 07:44 AM

NEW YORK (AP) Through a pair of back-and-forth sets, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray put on a display befitting a matchup of past U.S. Open champions.

They tracked down would-be winners and somehow got them back, prolonging points that involved 10 or 20 strokes or more, extended by Djokovic's slides and splits or Murray's gifted anticipation. After one 30-shot masterpiece on his way to victory, Djokovic raised his right fist, bellowed, "Come on!" and windmilled his arms to rile up the crowd.

Eventually, the physically demanding action proved too much for a fading Murray, and Djokovic pulled away to win 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4 and reach the tournament's semifinals for the eighth consecutive year.

It took a while for him to push out front in a 3-hour, 32-minute match that ended after 1 a.m. Thursday.

Djokovic will next face Kei Nishikori, the first man from Japan to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since Ichiya Kumagae in 1918. Nishikori outlasted third-seeded Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 6-7 (5), 6-4.

In the women's quarterfinals, top-seeded Serena Williams dropped the first three games before quickly turning things around to defeat 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-3, 6-2.

Williams, who counts five U.S. Open titles among her 17 Grand Slam trophies, will play 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the semifinals.

NFL

IRVING, Texas (AP) Michael Sam's second chance will be with the Dallas Cowboys.

Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday that the NFL's first openly gay player will be added to the Cowboys' practice roster.

The Cowboys, who are seeking help with their pass rush because of injuries and the offseason release of franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware, added Sam four days after he was released by St. Louis when teams had to cut their rosters to 53 players.

Sam isn't likely to be on the active roster for Sunday's season opener against San Francisco.

Any team can sign Sam off the Cowboys' practice squad, but would have to put him on the 53-man roster for a minimum of four weeks.

NEW YORK (AP) The family of Junior Seau has opted out of a proposed NFL legal settlement with former players over concussion-related injuries.

The family will continue its wrongful death lawsuit against the league. Seau, a star linebacker for 20 seasons who made 11 Pro Bowls, committed suicide in 2012.

More than 4,500 former players have filed a class action suit against the league, some accusing it of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia. A federal judge preliminarily approved the league's settlement proposal in July, which could exceed $675 million in total damages and involve as many as 20,000 retired players.

Former players and their families have the option to skip the settlement and pursue their own lawsuits. That's what Seau's family has done one month before the deadline to opt out.

Several other former players filed objections to the proposed settlement on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. They said the monetary awards were insufficient, there were too many reductions related to age and length of playing time, and assortment of other complaints.

The players are Nate Newton, who won three Super Bowls with Dallas; Larry Brown, who also won three Super Bowls with Dallas and was the MVP of the 1996 game; Kenneth Davis, who played in four Super Bowls for Buffalo; Michael McGruder, who played in one Super Bowl with San Francisco; Cliff Odom, who played 13 NFL seasons; George Teague, who played nine NFL seasons; and Ramon Armstrong, who played in the AFL in the 1960s.

The settlement is designed to last at least 65 years and cover retired players who develop Lou Gehrig's disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions sustained during their careers.

The league declined comment on the Seau family's decision.

BASEBALL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Toronto pitcher R.A. Dickey was struck on the head by a line drive off the bat of Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria during batting practice Wednesday before a game against the Rays.

Dickey returned to the Blue Jays clubhouse and wasn't injured, club spokesman Mal Romanin said.

The 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner was loosening up in left field and facing away from the plate when hit on the side of the head, according to several witnesses.

The 39-year-old knuckleballer is 11-12 with a 3.94 ERA.

WNBA

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Allie Quigley scored 24 points, and the Chicago Sky advanced to the WNBA Finals with a 75-62 win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday night, ending the career of Hall of Fame coach Lin Dunn.

Quigley had 10 of her points in a key second quarter stretch that gave Chicago the lead for good. Sylvia Fowles added 17 points in the decisive Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Sky will face the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Finals, which begin Sunday.

Dunn had announced before the season that she would retire when the year was over. She will be succeeded by assistant coach Stephanie White.

Shavonte Zellous scored 16 points to lead the Fever. All-Star forward Tamika Catchings finished with just nine.

NHL

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The Florida Panthers and No. 1 overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad have agreed on a three-year entry-level contract.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon announced the deal Wednesday, eight days before Ekblad will begin competing at Florida's annual camp for prospects. Ekblad was the Ontario Hockey League's top defenseman last season, with 23 goals and 53 points.

Ekblad also attended Hockey Canada's world junior summer development camp last month, his stay there ending early because of a concussion. Ekblad was held out of the rest of that camp for precautionary reasons.

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