Players’ strike forces cancelation of more Super League games

Another round of Super League basketball games was called off Saturday night, as a result of an ongoing dispute between Israeli players and the league’s administration over the number of foreign players allowed to play in the local league. The first game to be called off was Hapoel Jerusalem’s planned game against Eilat, after Jerusalem’s Israeli players failed to turn up for their flight to the southern resort. That was quickly followed by the cancellation of the four other games that we due to be played last night. Talks between the sides aimed at reaching a compromise will continue after the holiday. ‏(Haaretz Sports Staff‏)

Andy Murray to face Ferrer in Miami final

Britain’s Andy Murray fought back for a 6-7 6-1 6-2 win over France’s Richard Gasquet to reach the final of the Sony Open where he will face Spaniard David Ferrer today. Murray recovered after making a mess of the first set where he was serving for it at 5-4 but double-faulted on break point and ended up losing out in the tie-break. Gasquet had been playing some inspired tennis but he was outplayed in the second set and the Scotsman never looked in danger in the third. A victory over Ferrer in the final would move Murray above Roger Federer into second place in the world rankings. Ferrer ended German Tommy Haas’s dream of reaching the Sony Open final with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 victory in Friday’s semi-final. ‏(Reuters‏)

Serena wins Sony Open for sixth time

Serena Williams rallied to win the Sony Open for the sixth time Saturday, defeating Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. In the process, the world No. 1 extended two Sharapova droughts. Sharapova lost for the fifth time in the Sony Open final, and, more important, she falls to 2-12 against Williams. Both of those wins came in 2004. Sharapova has lost the Key Biscayne final to five different players − Kim Clijsters in 2005, Svetlana Kuznetsova in ‘06, Victoria Azarenka in ‘11, Agnieszka Radwanska last year and now Williams. Williams holds the tournament record for victories by a woman. She’s 61-7; Steffi Graf went 59-6. After dropping the first set, Williams found her groove in the second set and then proceeded to win 10 consecutive games. ‏(AP‏)

Asafa Powell sore in comeback race

Former 100-meter world record holder Asafa Powell’s left hamstring injury which forced him to pull up during the 100-meter race at the London Olympics is still giving him problems more than seven months later. Powell experienced soreness during the warm-up Saturday for the 120-meter Stawell Gift handicap race. The 30-year-old Powell considered withdrawing from the race rather than risk further injury, but ran and finished third in his heat. But he was unable to run at full pace, finishing in 12.24 seconds after starting the heat from scratch. Powell said he did not feel he would be fit enough to run again at Stawell even if he qualified for Monday’s semifinals. The injury places in doubt his appearance in the 100 meters at next Saturday’s IAAF Melbourne Track Classic. ‏(AP‏)

Nocioni lifts Caja, Pana advances

Former Chicago Bulls forward Andres Nocioni produced a vintage performance to keep Caja Laboral Vitoria in the hunt for a berth in the Euroleague playoffs after a rollercoaster 86-82 win at Khimki Moscow on Friday. The competition’s six-time winners Panathinaikos Athens reached the last eight with a match to spare in the second group stage after an 82-60 rout of Germany’s Bamberg and holders Olympiakos Piraeus, their bitter cross-town rivals, stayed on course with a 78-73 success at Fenerbahce, while last season’s runners-up CSKA Moscow beat Real Madrid 81-72 in a battle of the top contenders. ‏(Reuters‏)