For the first time in more than five years, Roger Federer will return to the top of the tennis rankings after defeating Robin Haase, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, in the quarterfinals of the ABN AMRO World Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands on Friday. When the new ATP rankings come out Monday, the 36-year-old will overtake Rafael Nadal and become the oldest player — male or female — to be ranked No. 1 in the world. He surpasses Andre Agassi, who held the record at age 33. Also a record will be the time elapsed since Federer was last No. 1, and the 14 years since he first reached the top spot. He will extend his record of 302 weeks at No 1 since the rankings began in 1973. Pete Sampras is a distant second with 286 weeks at the top. Novak Djokovic is the closest currently active player, with 223 weeks at No. 1. Federer, the 2005 and 2012 ABN AMRO champion, will play lucky loser Andreas Seppi in Saturday’s semifinals. Seppi beat qualifier Daniil Medvedev, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3. Grigor Dimitrov beat Andrey Rublev, 6-3, 6-4, to reach the semifinals, where he will meet 2017 finalist David Goffin, who advanced when Tomas Berdych pulled out sick. Federer won the Australian Open in January for his 20th Grand Slam title and edged closer to the top of the rankings. He had not originally planned to play in Rotterdam but accepted a wild card when it became clear he might be able to take back the top spot.
Wozniacki holds off Kerber in Qatar
Caroline Wozniacki outlasted former No. 1 Angelique Kerber, 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-3, in the Qatar Open quarterfinals at Doha, to ensure she retains the WTA’s top ranking over Simona Halep. Wozniacki will meet Petra Kvitova after Julia Goerges retired with a hip injury while trailing, 4-6, 1-2. No. 2-ranked Halep reached the semifinals with a 6-0, 6-4 win over American qualifier Catherine Bellis, but withdrew from Saturday’s semis with a right foot injury. She also withdrew from next week’s Dubai Open and said she did not expect to be back in action for more than two weeks. She was scheduled to play Garbine Muguruza, who beat Caroline Garcia, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 . . . Second seed Sam Querrey advanced to the New York Open semis in Uniondale, beating Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4). The American will face fourth seed Adrian Mannarino, a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 winner over Adrian Menendez-Maceiras.
County sues Marlins’ old and new owners
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team. The suit contends a 2009 agreement calls for the county and city of Miami to receive a share of profits from any sale of the team. The deal was related to an agreement to finance the team's ballpark that opened in 2012 and was built mostly with taxpayer money. Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 and sold the team to Jeter’s group last October. He claimed a loss on the deal, which the county describes as ‘‘fuzzy math.’’ The 64-page suit alleges the Marlins have refused to make a 5 percent equity payment upon selling the team as they had promised. The suit says the franchise failed to provide a detailed calculation from independent accountants as contractually obligated, leaving the county unable to determine whether the Marlins improperly inflated deductions and expenses to claim they owed the county and city nothing. The suit seeks a jury trial but not a specific amount of money . . . A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that All-Star pitcher Jason Vargas and the Mets have agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract, adding depth to a New York rotation riddled by injuries the last two years. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical and had not been announced. Another person familiar with the contract said it includes an $8 million club option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout. Vargas went 18-11 with a 4.16 earned run average for Kansas City last season . . . Righthander Bud Norris and the St. Louis Cardinals finalized a one-year, $3 million deal. The 32-year-old led the Los Angeles Angels with 19 saves in 23 chances last season, going 2-6 with a 4.23 ERA . . . Pitchers Dan Straily of Miami and Brandon Maurer of Kansas City lost their salary arbitration cases. Straily was awarded $3,375,000 instead of his $3.55 million request. The righthander was 10-9 with a 4.26 ERA in his first season with the Marlins. Maurer will earn $2.95 million instead of his $3.5 million request. The righthander was 3-6 with a 6.52 ERA in 68 relief appearances for San Diego and Kansas City . . . Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman met with Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins, a day after the righthander’s salary arbitration loss triggered him to vent on Twitter. Stroman apologized for turning to Twitter with his frustration about things the team said about him in his arbitration hearing. He received a raise from $3.4 million to $6.5 million instead of his $6.9 million request . . . Edinson Volquez and the Texas Rangers agreed to a two-year minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, returning to his original team with a chance to be a candidate for the rotation in 2019. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training. The 34-year-old will not pitch this season while recovering from ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow last August . . . Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo fought back tears as he spoke at a Florida vigil for the 17 victims killed in a shooting at his former high school, saying we're going to be "a bit broken for a while." Rizzo left spring training Thursday for his hometown of Parkland. He is a 2007 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Picking lifts Northeastern in OT
Fresh off winning its first Beanpot in 30 years, Northeastern (18-8-5, 12-6-3 Hockey East) recovered from a two-goal Vermont (9-16-6, 6-10-5) rally to skate off with a 4-3 men’s hockey victory in Burlington, Vt. John Picking potted the winner at 1:57 of the extra period . . . Maxim Letunov’s unassisted strike at 2:51 of overtime gave UConn (15-16-2, 11-11-1 Hockey East) a 5-4 win over Boston University (15-13-3, 10-8-3) in Hartford. Alexander Payusov tied it 14:23 of the third period as the Huskies rallied from two goals down . . . Adam Fox notched a hat trick and added an assist and Harvard (12-10-4, 10-6-3 ECAC) skated to a 5-0 rout of St. Lawrence (7-22-2, 3-15-1) at Bright-Landry Center . . . Freshman Daryl Watts notched her 40th goal of the season and added two assists as No. 4 Boston College (27-3-3, 18-2-3) earned a 5-0 women’s hockey victory at No. 10 Maine (17-11-5, 11-8-4). The goal was her 30th in Hockey East play, tying the conference’s single-season goal record. The 3 points moved Watts within 1 of the Hockey East single-season record of 55 going into Saturday’s regular-season finale in Maine. Toni Ann Miano netted her 17th goal and had two assists, matching Genevieve Missirlian’s 1997-98 total for most goals by an Eagle defenseman in one season. Senior Katie Burt turned aside 30 shots for the win . . . Becca Gilmore potted her 13th and 14th goals to lead Harvard (13-13-2, 10-9-2) to a 2-1 win at No. 8 St. Lawrence (17-10-4, 13-6-2) . . . Veronika Pettey, Taytum Clairmont, Kasidy Anderson, and McKenna Brand scored to give Northeastern (15-15-3, 11-10-2 Hockey East) a 4-0 shutout over Vermont (10-18-5, 7-13-4) at Matthews Arena. Aerin Frankel had 34 saves . . . Seth Towns had 7 of his 24 points in the final 3½ minutes, Christian Juzang added a career-high 21, and Harvard (13-11, 8-1 Ivy League) survived with a 65-58 men’s basketball win over Brown (11-11, 4-5) at Lavietes Pavilion. Chris Lewis' right hook gave the Crimson the lead for good at 53-51 with four minutes to play. Brandon Anderson had 17 points to lead the Bears . . . Katie Benzan’s 20 points led six Harvard players in double figures as the Crimson (14-8, 6-3 Ivy) took a 86-74 women’s basketball win at Brown (14-8, 2-7) . . . Jess Genco had 17 points and Stella Clark added 15 to help Northeastern (13-12, 8-6 Colonial) to a 79-61 win over Towson (9-16, 4-10) at Cabot Center . . . Michigan State gave football coach Mark Dantonio a one-year contract extension through the 2023 season. He’s had a six-year rollover deal, so the extension is routine. But it comes as the school’s football and basketball programs face questions following last month’s ESPN report detailing various abuse allegations . . . Arkansas State sued Miami for $650,000 in damages for failing to reschedule their football game in Jonesboro, Ark., that was canceled in September because of concerns about Hurricane Irma.
Flames sign Backlund for six years
Flames center Mikael Backlund decided against testing free agency this summer, instead signing a six-year, $32.1 million deal to stay in Calgary. The 28-year-old had a breakout performance last season with 22 goals and 31 assists. This year he has 10 goals and 34 points. The 24th overall pick in the 2007 draft by Calgary, Backlund was in the final year of a three-year pact paying him $3.575 million annually . . . Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo will make his first start in more than two months Saturday when Florida visits the Calgary Flames. The 38-year-old has missed 27 games with a lower-body sustained against the New York Islanders on Dec. 4 . . . New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said forward Pavel Buchnevich will return to the lineup Saturday against the Ottawa Senators after being sidelined with concussion symptoms from a hit by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner on Feb. 1
Panthers reinstate GM Hurney after investigation
The Carolina Panthers reinstated interim general manager Marty Hurney after an NFL investigation into charges of harassment by his ex-wife found no wrongdoing. He is one of four candidates to interview for the team's vacant GM post. His interim contract expires June 30. The Panthers put Hurney on paid administrative leave Feb. 4 when the NFL began an investigation into whether Hurney violated its personal conduct policy after Jeannie Hurney unsuccessfully requested a temporary restraining order alleging her ex-husband harassed her. The NFL said its investigation included a review of available law enforcement and court records, sworn testimony in prior proceedings, and interviews of multiple people, including Hurney. The league said it requested to talk to Hurney’s ex-wife, but that she declined . . . New Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich named Matt Eberflus defensive coordinator and Nick Sirianni offensive coordinator. Eberflus was Dallas’ linebackers coach and passing game coordinator. Sirianni spent five seasons with the Chargers in charge of receivers, quarterbacks, and offensive quality control. Bubba Ventrone will serve as special teams coordinator after three years as New England’s assistant special teams coach . . . The Jacksonville Jaguars stadium will be renamed for next season, with TIAA Bank Field replacing EverBank Field as the official name . . . It looks like Derrick Rose won’t be going to Minnesota after Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor appeared to refute recent reports that the club might bring in the veteran point guard for a reunion with coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Rose in Chicago. Rose was waived by the Utah Jazz last week after coming over from the Cleveland Cavaliers . . . Leo Cahill, the colorful former coach and general manager of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, died Friday. He was 89. "Leo The Lip" was Toronto's coach from 1967-72 and 1977-78 and general manager from 1986-88. Cahill played collegiately at Illinois, appearing in the 1947 Rose Bowl.