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Top-Seeded Mauresmo Advances to Semifinals

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The No. 1 ranking may be beyond Amelie Mauresmo’s reach at the Nasdaq-100 Open. She’ll settle for winning the tournament.

The top-seeded Frenchwoman advanced to the semifinals by beating 17-year-old Ana Ivanovic, 6-1, 6-4, Wednesday at Key Biscayne, Fla.

Mauresmo, who spent five weeks at No. 1 last year, will regain the top ranking if she wins the tournament and beats a top-five player in the final. That means she needs No. 3 Maria Sharapova to beat No. 9 Venus Williams in the other semifinal today.

Lindsay Davenport, who skipped the hardcourt tournament to protect her troublesome knees, has been No. 1 since October.

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“Of course I would love to get it back,” Mauresmo said. “But having had it once, it’s pretty different. My goals are somewhere else. Doing well in these big events is today more important to me.”

Mauresmo’s opponent today will be unseeded Kim Clijsters, who won her 12th match in a row by beating No. 5-ranked Elena Dementieva, 6-2, 6-1, in only 56 minutes.

Unseeded David Ferrer became the first men’s semifinalist by sweeping No. 26 Dominik Hrbaty, 6-2, 6-3. In today’s quarterfinals, No. 1 Roger Federer will play No. 6 Tim Henman, and No. 31 Taylor Dent will face six-time champion Andre Agassi, seeded ninth.

Mauresmo won the first five games and nine of the first 10 against Ivanovic, slowed by hamstring and ankle injuries and looking nervous in her first Tier I quarterfinal. She committed 34 unforced errors, double-faulted five times and won only three of 17 points on her second serve.

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Pro Football

Denver finalized its trade with Cleveland, sending running back Reuben Droughns to the Browns for Ebenezer Ekuban and Michael Myers, two defensive linemen the Broncos hope will bolster their pass rush.

Ekuban, 28, played the first five years of his career with Dallas before joining Cleveland last year. He led the Browns with eight sacks last season.

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Myers, 29, also played his first five full seasons (1998 to 2002) with Dallas before joining Cleveland as a free agent in 2003.

Denver has also added former Brown defensive linemen Gerard Warren and Courtney Brown.

Droughns, who led the Broncos with 1,240 yards rushing last season, was given permission to pursue a trade because he wasn’t expected to start this year.

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed veteran Marcellus Wiley to a one-year contract, adding another free agent end to their defensive front.

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The 6-foot-4, 278-pound Wiley joins Jacksonville after one disappointing season in Dallas. He will probably start opposite fellow free agent end Reggie Hayward.

The Jaguars’ line is already anchored by Pro Bowl tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson.

Defensive end Jay Williams, who broke in with the Rams when they were in Los Angeles 11 years ago, is returning to the team.

The Rams announced they’ve signed the 33-year-old Williams to a three-year, $2.65-million contract. The deal includes a $300,000 signing bonus.

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The 6-foot-3, 270-pound Williams spent six seasons with the Rams, then two with Carolina and three with Miami. In 137 career games, including 31 starts, he has 255 tackles, 23 1/2 sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Ray Brown, at 42 the oldest offensive lineman in modern NFL history, re-signed with the Washington Redskins and will return for a 20th season.

He underwent knee and ankle surgery after the season and is expected to be a backup at guard and tackle this year.

Brown was a late signing a year ago, joining the team after right tackle Jon Jansen was injured in an exhibition game, and went on to play in all 16 regular-season games with 14 starts.

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Brown is the oldest NFL lineman since World War II, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and possibly the oldest since the 1920s.

Birth dates are not listed in the record books for many players in the first half of the 20th century.

Jesse Chatman, the backup to Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson, re-signed with the San Diego Chargers. Chatman, who agreed to a one-year deal, was a restricted free agent.

Last year, Chatman had career highs of 392 yards in 65 carries and scored three touchdowns.

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Miscellany

The four-race suspension Kevin Harvick’s crew chief got for rigging his gas tank was upheld by an appeals committee.

Todd Berrier admitted making the tank appear full when it actually wasn’t during a qualifying run earlier this month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR implemented a rule this season requiring all cars to qualify with full tanks. A lighter tank would make the car faster.

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In addition to the suspension, Berrier was fined $25,000. Harvick was docked 25 points, as was car owner Richard Childress.

The governing body of motor racing agreed to subject its competitions, including Formula One, to international anti-doping regulations.

The FIA adopted World Anti-Doping Agency rules at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris, bringing motor racing into line with most other major sports.

Jose Luis Castillo will face Diego Corrales in a lightweight title unification bout in Las Vegas on May 7.

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Castillo is the World Boxing Council champion, and Corrales holds the World Boxing Organization 135-pound title.

Castillo (52-6-1, 46 KOs), from Mexico, will make his third title defense in his second time around as the WBC champ. Corrales (39-2, 32 KOs), from Sacramento, will fight for the first time since winning the title with a 12-round decision over defending champion Acelino Freitas last Aug. 7.


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