Briefs | England beats France in Rugby World Cup semifinal
Rugby Defending champion to face today's South Africa-Argentina winner: Defending champion England advanced to the Rugby World Cup final...
Defending champion to face today's South Africa-Argentina winner: Defending champion England advanced to the Rugby World Cup final, beating France 14-9 Saturday in Saint-Denis, France.
In the other semifinal, South Africa will face Argentina today for a berth in Saturday's final.
England's Jonny Wilkinson drove his penalty shot from 30 yards through the middle in the 75th minute and hit a dropped goal from 40 yards three minutes later to increase the margin to five points.
"From the first few weeks, the guys have dug deep," Wilkinson said. "They have done a lot of stuff on the run. The guys have learnt about each other very quickly under huge pressure. Raw guts and determination have saved us."
Williams to play Dementieva: American Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva advanced to today's final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Williams beat top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-6 (7-2), 6-1. Dementieva routed fellow Russian Dinara Safina 6-1, 6-0.
"It definitely was not easy," Williams said. "It was a tough first set ... I was playing a really good player and I was enjoying it. It was really cool."
In the men's semifinals, defending champion Nikolay Davydenko of Russia beat Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 and Paul-Henri Mathieu of France downed Michael Berrer of Germany 7-5, 6-3.
Pennetta knocks off V. Williams: Venus Williams, Serena's sister, fell to Flavia Pennetta in the semifinals of the Bangkok Open in Thailand. Williams lost three set points in the Italian's 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) victory.
Two weeks earlier, Pennetta lost to Williams 6-2, 6-2 in the Korean Open semifinals.
In the final, Pennetta will play Taiwan's Chan Yung-jan, a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 winner over China's Yan Zi in the other semifinal.
Blake's winning streak ends: American James Blake lost in the Stockholm Open semifinal round, a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) setback to Sweden's Thomas Johansson that ended the two-time defending champion's 13-match winning streak in the tournament.
Johansson will face 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in today's final. Karlovic beat Tommy Haas of Germany 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal.
Johansson saved five match points in his last two service games before winning the tiebreaker.
"It's never fun to lose with match points," Blake said.
Bit of Whimsy triumphs: Bit of Whimsy posted her first Grade I win, beating 2-1 favorite Dreaming of Anna by 2 ¼ lengths in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
Bit of Whimsy, trained by Barclay Tagg and ridden by Javier Castellano, ran 1-1/8 miles on turf in 1 minute, 48-3/5 seconds. The Kentucky-bred filly was seventh in the field of nine with 3 furlongs to go and paid $15.80 to win.
Wayne Catalano-trained Dreaming of Anna, last year's champion 2-year-old filly in North America, had won her previous three races and was in front by 2-½ lengths with a furlong to run.
Monashee wins at Hastings: Monashee ($2.10 to win) captured her 11th consecutive Western Canadian stakes race when she took the $132,597 Ballerina Breeders' Cup Stakes at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.
The 5-year-old gray mare, trained by Tracy McCarthy and ridden by Dave Wilson, led all the way and beat runner-up Lady Raj by 1-¼ lengths. Monashee ran 1-1/8 miles in 1:50-3/5.
McCormack takes Ironman: Australia's Chris McCormack rallied with a strong marathon run to win the 140.6-mile Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii. His time was 8 hours, 15 minutes, 34 seconds.
Chrissie Wellington of Britain won the women's event in 9:10:00.
McCormack and Wellington each earned $110,000.
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