That’s What He Said…

“First and foremost, not only do I want to fight Manny Pacquiao, I want to whip his punk ass.”

–Floyd Mayweather Jr. to REUTERS after talks regarding his fight against Manny Pacquiao fell apart.

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Federer Survives, Nadal Cruises in Doha

Latvian Ernests Gulbis is as streaky as they come and unfortunately for the top ranked Roger Federer, Gulbis was on his game when they played each other earlier today. Gulbis had 13 aces and was able to take a set off of Federer, who eventually won the match 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Federer cruised through the first set in just over 30 minutes, but Gulbis’ good play in the second set, combined with a slew of unforced errors from Federer allowed the Latvian to win the set. It was Federer, however, that was able to find his form again in the third and advance to the semifinals, where he will face the third seeded Nikolay Davydenko, who defeated Ivo Karlovic in the quarters 7-6(4), 7-6(7).

Unlike Federer, second ranked Rafael Nadal easily won his quarterfinal match, as his opponent Steve Darcis retired with Nadal leading 6-1, 2-0. Darcis was reportedly suffering from a back injury. In the semifinals, Nadal will face Serbian Viktor Troicki, who defeated Lukasz Kubot in his quarterfinal match 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1). Nadal has yet to drop a set and is looking to be in fine form as the Australian Open approaches.

In other news, Justine Henin defeated Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final of the Brisbane International. She will potentially play her countrywoman Kim Clijsters, who is currently up a break (2-1) in the first set of her semifinal match against Andrea Petkovic.

Here are the highlights of those matches:

Federer v. Gulbis

Nadal v. Darcis

Henin v. Ivanovic

Petter Northug Has Tour de Ski Victory Within Reach

In the sixth stage of the prestigious eight stage event, the 24 year old Norwegian Petter Northug started with a 0.4 second lead and was able to finish the day with a 20.1 second lead over Sweden’s Marcus Hellner. Sweden’s Daniel Rickardsson surprisingly won the stage, which was a 10km classic, in 23:14.5 minutes. Olympic silver medalist Lukas Bauer finished second in the stage, 1.7 seconds behind Rickardsson, and Northug finished in third position, 4.5 seconds behind the Swede.

Northug was once again aided by a strong sprint to the finish, as he was able to gain 4 seconds on the lead in the final 2km of the race.

There remaining stages in the race are a 20km classic mass start race and a 10km freestyle pursuit.

McCoy Injured, ‘Bama Routs Texas 37-21

Photo by RMTip21.

In the first quarter of the game, Texas saw it’s star quarterback Colt McCoy injured and forced to leave the game and for the Longhorns, it only went downhill from there.

McCoy suffered a sprained shoulder and was, therefore, replaced by Garrett Gilbert who was only able to complete 1 of 10 passes for negative four yards and had two interceptions in the first half. In the second half, Texas didn’t give up despite being hampered by McCoy’s absence, as Gilbert completed a 3-yard pass to Dan Buckner for a touchdown with 6:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. The subsequent two-point conversion brought Texas within three points of the Crimson Tide. Two turnovers by Gilbert in the final 3 minutes of the game, however, allowed Alabama to take a commanding lead, which was a lead that they would not relinquish.

Following the victory Alabama coach Nick Saban thanked the university, the state of Alabama, and all of the players on his team. “They all bought into the things that we needed to do…the message tonight was do what we do and be who we are and I thought we did a good job of that,” said Saban when asked about his team. Alabama running back Mark Ingram became the second Heisman winner to win the BCS title in the same season. He was named the Offensive Player of the Game. Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus was named the Defensive Player of the Game.

1/7-Take A Peek

Photo by flash.pro

All times in EST:

4:00am: ATP/WTA Brisbane Quarterfinals (1) Kim Clijsters v. Lucie Safarova

(following Clijsters match is James Blake v. (3) Gael Monfils)

7:00am: ATP Chennai Second Round Robby Ginepri v. Lukas Lacko

(following Ginepri match is (3) Stanislas Wawrinka v. Michael Russell)

7:30am: ATP Doha Quarterfinals (5) Viktor Troicki v. Lukasz Kubot

(following Troicki match is (Q) Steve Darcis v. (2) Rafael Nadal, (1) Roger Federer v. Ernests Gulbis, and (3) Nikolay Davydenko v. (7) Ivo Karlovic)

7:00pm: NHL Chicago Blackhawks (1st in Central) @ Boston Bruins (2nd in Northeast)

8:00pm: CITI BCS National Championship Game (1) Alabama Crimson Tide v. (2) Texas Longhorns

10:00pm: NHL Phoenix Coyotes (2nd in Pacific) @ Vancouver Canucks (1st in Northwest)

Nadal, Federer Cruise in Doha; Henin and Monfils Win in Brisbane

There are several simultaneous tournaments taking place this week, so I will try my best to keep you all up to speed.

First off, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal seem like they may be heading for a battle in the final, as they both easily won today and look to be in good form. Federer defeated Evgeny Korolev 6-2, 6-4 and thus secured himself a quarterfinal berth. Federer broke Korolev three times in the first set and was able to easily take the victory in 63 minutes. He will next face Ernests Gulbis, whom he has never previously played. Similarly to Federer, Nadal had an easy 6-2, 6-2 win over Potito Starace. Nadal has yet to reach the semifinals in Doha, but will do so for the first time if he can defeat his next opponent, Steve Darcis. Third seeded Nikolay Davydenko, fifth seeded Viktor Troicki, and seventh seeded Ivo Karlovic also advanced to the quarters.

In Brisbane, Justine Henin almost saw her comeback come to an abrupt halt as she trailed qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva 0-2. Henin, however, was able to up her game and win the match 6-4, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal match against Melinda Czink. With both her and Kim Clijsters playing well, an all-Belgian final between the two rivals seems increasingly possible. Third seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils had to fight for his 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-1 victory against Florent Serra. According to the Brisbane International tournament website, Monfils has been playing with a shoulder injury, but he was able to win his second round match regardless of the pain. Top seeded Andy Roddick, second seeded Radek Stepanek, and both the men’s and women’s fourth seeds (Tomas Berdych and Daniela Hantuchova) booked their places in the quarterfinals.

In Chennai, second seeded Marin Cilic defeated Marcel Granollers in a tight match 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4. Fourth seeded Janko Tipsarevic also won his second round match over  Somdev Dewarman 6-2, 6-1.

Here are the highlights from today’s matches:

Doha:

Brisbane:

Gilbert Arenas Indefinitely Suspended from NBA

As a result of his reported altercation with teammate Javaris Crittenton that involved firearms, Washington Wizards’ star Gilbert Arenas has been suspended indefinitely from the NBA without pay. NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement:

“The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us. I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation involving the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department, and the consideration of this matter by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia. For the same reason, I directed the Wizards to refrain from taking any action. Wizards personnel continue to be interviewed by law enforcement authorities, some are scheduled for appearance before the grand jury and the investigation is proceeding with the intensity that one would expect for such a serious incident.

“Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game. Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”

–NBA Commissioner David Stern

Arenas, who told ESPN that he has since called Stern to apologize for his actions, responded by saying the following:

“I feel very badly that my actions have caused the NBA to suspend me, but I understand why the league took this action. I put the NBA in a negative light and let down my teammates and our fans. I am very sorry for doing that.

“While I never intended any harm or disrespect to the NBA or anyone else, my gun possession at the Verizon Center and my attempts at humor showed terrible judgment. I take full responsibility for my conduct.

“Earlier today, I called Commissioner Stern to apologize, and I hope we will be able to talk soon. I look forward to the day I can return to basketball. In the meantime, I will focus on dealing responsibly with this serious situation and I will continue to cooperate fully with the investigations by law enforcement and NBA authorities.”