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Wariner runs fastest 400 of the year

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jeremy Wariner set the year’s world-best time in the 400 meters Friday at the Gaz de France Golden League meet in Saint-Denis, France.

He finished in 43.86 seconds, outclassing his main rival and fellow American LaShawn Merritt, who was second in 44.35.

“I just wanted to come out here and make a statement,” said Wariner, the world and Olympic champion.

“I did that today. I just got to keep running like I did today and hopefully in the Olympics I’ll come out on top.”

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Both Americans were neck and neck in the final turn, but Wariner accelerated past Merritt in the homestretch.

“I executed the race like I wanted to,” Wariner said. “Everything is flowing. My finish is strong. It is a great time.”

Dayron Robles of Cuba also made a strong statement three weeks before the Olympics, winning the 110-meter hurdles in 12.88, just one hundredth of a second short of his world record.

Robles led from the first hurdle to the finish line. Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell was second in 13.19, followed by American Antwon Hicks in 13.27.

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In the men’s 400 hurdles, world champion Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson were in the lead until the last hurdle where Clement broke away to hit the tape in 48.33.

Jackson slipped to fourth place, beaten by Danny McFarlane of Jamaica, second in 48.71, and American Angelo Taylor, third in 48.91.

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In the end, it was a split second and not a court’s decision that kept double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius from competing in the Beijing Olympics.

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Pistorius was left off South Africa’s 1,600-meter relay team, ending his hopes of participating in the Summer Games.

He couldn’t make the 400-meter qualifying time of 45.55 seconds, despite running a personal-best 46.25 on Wednesday on his prosthetic blades at a meet in Lucerne, Switzerland.

TENNIS

Serena Williams gets to Stanford semifinals

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Top-seeded Serena Williams advanced to the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford by easily defeating fifth-seeded Patty Schnyder, 6-3, 6-1.

Schnyder had won three of five meetings against Williams, but this time Schnyder lost in 54 minutes.

The match began more than an hour later than scheduled because Ai Sugiyama needed 2 hours 44 minutes to win her quarterfinal over Dominika Cibulkova, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 5-3, retired.

Cibulkova stopped playing because of cramping in her left leg with Sugiyama serving at 40-0 for the match.

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Top-seeded James Blake beat Yen-Hsun Lu, 6-2, 6-0, in the quarterfinals of the Indianapolis Championships. Blake advanced to play No. 3 seed Dmitry Tursunov. Tursunov, the defending tournament champion, got past unseeded Paul Capdeville 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, in the quarterfinals.

Fourth-seeded Sam Querrey will play second-seeded Gilles Simon in the other semifinal. Querrey advanced with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Bobby Reynolds. Simon defeated fifth-seeded Tommy Haas, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

PRO FOOTBALL

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Packers president backs GM, coach

Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy restated his support for General Manager Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy in the standoff with quarterback Brett Favre.

Murphy attended a meeting of the team’s executive committee. He was not available for comment afterward, but team spokesman Aaron Popkey said Murphy has “full confidence” in how Thompson and McCarthy are handling this matter.

Favre is having second thoughts after retiring in March.

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HOCKEY

Penguins give Therrien three-year extension

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ march to the Stanley Cup finals has paid off for Coach Michel Therrien.

General Manager Ray Shero says the team has agreed to terms on a new three-year contract for Therrien.

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Therrien had one year left on his contract. The new deal includes a raise for this season, and goes through the 2010-11 season.

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The Buffalo Sabres signed goaltender Ryan Miller to a five-year contract extension worth $31.25 through the 2013-2014 season.

BASKETBALL

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Kent and Oregon agree on new contract

Coach Ernie Kent and Oregon have agreed to terms on a new contract that will run through the 2012-13 season.

The agreement, which took effect July 1, raises Kent’s annual minimum guaranteed salary from $1 million to $1,060,000. It will take the place of Kent’s previous contract, which ran through 2010.

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As expected, point guard Deron Williams signed a contract extension with Utah that will keep him with the Jazz through at least the 2011-12 season.

ACTION SPORTS

White easily wins BMX Dirt event

Cameron White of Australia established his dominance on the dirt course and won the BMX Dirt event at the AST Dew Tour’s stop in Cleveland.

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White landed his signature trick, a backflip barspin tailwhip, to clinch the victory with a 93.92 score. Ryan Guettler finished second at 92.50 and Ryan Nyquist of Greenville, N.C., was third at 91.59.

The 90-minute final was full of technical tricks, with a 1080 from Guettler and a double backflip from Luke Parslow, who finished sixth.


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