Sports News in Brief
Nadal in last 4
SAO PAULO - Rafael Nadal advanced to the semi-finals of the Brazil Open on Friday with a hard-fought three-set claycourt win over Argentine Carlos Berlocq. The 26-year-old Spaniard, ranked No.5 in the world, won 3-6 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes against the 30-year-old Argentine ranked 78th in the world. Nadal will face off in Saturday's (today Fiji time) semi-final against another Argentine, Martin Alund, who earlier defeated Filippo Volandri of Italy 7-5 7-6.
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands - Frenchman Julien Benneteau sent defending champion Roger Federer crashing out of the Rotterdam World Tennis tournament on Friday with a stunning 6-3 7-5 quarter-final upset. Federer, who lifted the trophy in his last two appearances in 2005 and 2012, last suffered defeat in the event against Tim Henman in 2004. Benneteau, the world No.39, will play a Saturday a semi-final against fifth-seeded compatriot Gilles Simon who was 3-0 ahead in the final set against Martin Klizan when the Slovak player quit with an injury.
Da Silva leads
EAST LONDON, South Africa - Brazilian Adilson da Silva rediscovered his putting touch to take a three-stroke lead on Friday after two rounds of the Africa Open. He completed a 10-under-par first round of 62 early for a four-stroke lead over South African Jaco van Zyl, with the late finish caused by a three-hour delay when 30km/h winds started to move balls on greens.
DUBLIN - Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy has joined teammate Simon Zebo in being ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations with a foot injury. Leinster midfielder D'Arcy suffered the problem following a 12-6 defeat by England in Dublin on Sunday that scuppered Irish hopes of a Grand Slam. And an Ireland statement on Friday confirmed that 33-year-old D'Arcy, capped 73 times by his country, would miss the rest of the tournament.
WELLINGTON - A hat-trick of tries to Highlanders winger Hosea Gear wasn't enough to stop the Blues winning their final Super Rugby pre-season match 31-29 in Queenstown. The Highlanders scored five tries to four but the superior goalkicking of All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu, playing his first game for the Blues this season, proved the difference in a free-flowing encounter on Friday. Trailing 28-19 at halftime, the Highlanders went 29-28 ahead before first five-eighth Baden Kerr knocked over a game-winning penalty in the closing minutes.
MILAN - A late strike from Mario Balotelli was enough to secure a 2-1 victory for Milan over Parma and a jump up to fourth place in Italy's Serie A on Friday. Milan took a 39th-minute lead when Argentine defender Gabriel Paletta scored an own goal. Massimiliano Allegri's side virtually secured all three points when Balotelli scored from a freekick in the 78th minute for his fourth goal in three matches since joining AC Milan. Parma came fighting back in the dying minutes and were rewarded.