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In Briefin Briefs

November 26, 2009

TENNIS: Rafael Nadal fell out of contention for a spot in the semifinals at the ATP World Tour Finals with a second straight defeat, losing to Nikolay Davydenko. Nadal looked sluggish throughout and was thoroughly outplayed by the Russian. Earlier, Robin Soderling became the first player to reach the semis by beating Novak Djokovic, ending his 11-match winning streak. ... Nadal officially was chosen to play for Spain in the Dec. 4-6 Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic. ... "It means a lot to have returned to No. 1 and to finish the year again at No. 1," Roger Federer said in accepting a trophy on court at the ATP World Tour Finals. He clinched his fifth straight No. 1 ranking, one short of Pete Sampras' record, with Tuesday's win.

AUTO RACING: Chad Knaus believes he and Jimmie Johnson can continue to win for years to come. But the crew chief first needs a new contract. Knaus, who has guided Johnson to four straight titles and 47 victories since 2002, denied an ESPN report that he's agreed to a deal through 2015 with Hendrick Motorsports. "I don't have a new contract," he said. ... Jeremy Mayfield's former attorneys have filed a civil suit against the suspended NASCAR driver seeking nearly $400,000 in unpaid fees. ... The Indy Racing League will open its 2010 season on the streets of Sao Paulo on March 14, the first time the series has raced in Brazil.

SOCCER: Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Real Madrid from an ankle injury that has kept him out since Oct. 10. He entered as a 70th-minute substitute as Real Madrid beat visiting Zurich 1-0. .... Besitkas upset Manchester United 1-0 to end the Red Devils' home Champions League unbeaten streak at 23 matches. ... ESPN Deportes will broadcast next year's World Cup in the U.S. with Portuguese commentary.

BASEBALL: Shortstop John McDonald is remaining with the Blue Jays, agreeing to a $3 million, two-year deal. ... The Royals traded infielder Tug Hulett to the Red Sox for a player to be named.

GOLF: Alison Nicholas will return as Europe's captain for the 2011 Solheim Cup in Ireland. ... Chris Wood , who finished third in the British Open, was named European PGA rookie of the year.

ALSO: Figure skater Andrei Lutai will miss the Winter Olympics after receiving a one-year ban from the Russian federation for allegedly stealing a car in the U.S. and driving it while drunk. ... Alberto Contador's Astana team was registered to race in 2010 International Cycling Union's ProTour events. ... U.S. luger Tony Benshoof, 34, says his back is better and he'll race in Sunday's World Cup race in Austria bidding for his thrid Olympics.

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