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Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Djokovic dominates after Azarenka controversy
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic installed himself as red-hot favorite for a third straight Australian Open title with a semi-final demolition of David Ferrer on Thursday after Victoria Azarenka had controversially set up a final against Li Na. Serbian world number one Djokovic was brutally dominant as he pulverized the Spanish fourth seed 6-2 6-2 6-1 in 89 minutes in Rod Laver Arena to race into Sunday's final against Roger Federer or Andy Murray.
Murray quest faces Federer obstacle in Melbourne
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Andy Murray's bid to become the first man in the open era to back up his maiden grand slam triumph with the title at the next major comes up against the considerable obstacle of Roger Federer in Friday's Australian Open semi-final. While the U.S. Open champion has a 10-9 lead over Federer in their career meetings, he has never beaten the world number two in one of the four biggest tournaments in tennis.
Gaborik hat-trick spurs Rangers to first win
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Tour de France champion Wiggins to open season in Mallorca
LONDON (Reuters) - Tour de France and Olympic time trial champion Bradley Wiggins will begin his 2013 season at the Mallorca Challenge, Team Sky said on Thursday. Briton Wiggins will ride in the Spanish island from February 3-6 and will also be competing at the Giro d'Italia in May before he defends his Tour de France title in June and July.
Former Olympic 110 meters hurdles champion Robles to retire
HAVANA (Reuters) - Dayron Robles, the 2008 Olympic Games 110 meters hurdles champion and former world record holder, will retire from athletics owing to a lack of attention from Cuban sports officials, his coach said on Thursday. Robles, 26, pulled out of the 2012 Olympic final with an injury and has struggled to recapture his form of a few years ago when he won the Olympic title in Beijing after setting a world record of 12.87 seconds in June 2008.
Flawless Djokovic destroys Ferrer
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Playing near perfect tennis, Novak Djokovic sent an emphatic warning to Roger Federer and Andy Murray by destroying fourth seed David Ferrer 6-2 6-2 6-1 in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday. Murray and Federer meet on Friday and although they will be concentrating on each other they must surely have been impressed by the clinical demolition of Ferrer by the two-times defending champion at Melbourne Park.
One year on, UK Olympic Stadium to host Diamond League
LONDON (Reuters) - The world's top athletes will return to compete in London's Olympic Stadium in July on the first anniversary of the opening of the 2012 Games. The decision to stage London's Diamond League meeting at the stadium on Saturday July 27 is part of efforts to ensure that the Olympic site in east London - funded by some nine billion pounds ($14.3 billion) of taxpayers' money - has a viable future.
Brawn hopes to stay long-term at Mercedes
BRACKLEY, England (Reuters) - Ross Brawn looked forward to a long-term future as Mercedes Formula One team principal on Thursday but indicated it would depend on his motivation and how recent managerial changes panned out. "I know all the plans for the future of the team and I hope I'm going to be a part of them for a very long time. We are entering a really exciting period," he told reporters as Britain's 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, joining from McLaren, toured the factory.
Garcia tames wind to share lead in Qatar
DOHA (Reuters) - Sergio Garcia tamed windy conditions to shoot a second-round 66 and join a fourway tie for the lead at the Qatar Masters on Thursday. The Spaniard made six birdies and no bogeys but was most pleased by the way in which he coped with the breeze that blew up after the first round had been played in perfectly calm conditions.
Jazz escape Wizards comeback bid in narrow win
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