Djokovic, Ferrer advance to final
• Top-ranked Novak Djokovic routed David Ferrer 6-0, 6-3 on Friday to reach the final of the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Djokovic will face Spain’s Nicolas Almagro in the final. A last-minute replacement, Almagro rallied from a set down to beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the second semifinal.
• Just when Rafael Nadal had recovered from a knee injury, a stomach virus has delayed his return to tennis by a couple of months. Nadal announced Friday he will miss next month’s Australian Open and probably won’t play again until the end of February. The Spaniard said he needs time to recover from the virus that already prevented him from coming back this week at Abu Dhabi.
Creative Ault retires as coach of Nevada
• Nevada coach Chris Ault is retiring after 28 seasons leading the Wolf Pack and changing the way teams play offense. Ault is the winningest coach in school history with a record of 233-109-1. He raised the program from Division II to I-AA and eventually helped it become a winner in I-A. The 66-year-old Ault won 10 conference championships and took the Wolf Pack to postseason play 16 times, including 10 bowl games in 12 FBS seasons. Maybe his most famous contribution came late in his career, when he invented the Pistol offense in 2005, a scheme now employed by hundreds of teams at every level of football. The Pistol formation has the quarterback in a short shot-gun formation with a running back lined up directly behind him.
• Texas suspended two players Friday and sent them home on the eve of the Alamo Bowl, hours after police said they were investigating a report of a sexual assault at a San Antonio hotel. Coach Mack Brown did not identify the players, but he referred to a KENS-TV report that police were investigating two unidentified Texas players in the alleged assault.
Russia beats U.S. in world juniors
• Andrei Makarov made 41 saves to help Russia beat the United States 2-1 at the world junior ice hockey championships in Ufa, Russia. Jacob Trouba scored a tying, power-play goal on a slap shot from the blue line midway through the second period, but Vladimir Tkachyov scored from close range four minutes into the third.
• Anna Fenninger of Austria had two near-perfect runs to win a World Cup giant slalom in Semmering, Austria, while second-place Tina Maze of Slovenia extended her lead in the overall standings.
• Heather Richardson won the women’s 500 meters with the fastest time in the world this year Friday at the U.S. Long Track Championships in Kearns, Utah, while Mitch Whitmore took the men’s sprint title on the second day of competition. Richardson set a national record of 37.51 seconds in her first race, then lowered it to 37.34 in her second 500, giving her a combined time of 74.850 and the title at the Utah Olympic Oval.
• Retired Puerto Rican boxing great Wilfred Benitez has been hospitalized in the U.S. territory after family members worried he might have suffered a stroke. Yvonne Benitez tells the Associated Press that her brother will remain under observation for 72 hours in a San Juan hospital. She said Friday that the family is awaiting medical tests results but that the 54-year-old Benitez is doing well and reading newspapers and magazines. Benitez has struggled with traumatic brain injuries later in life.
• Climbing legend Bill Forrest, who also made notable innovations in mountaineering equipment, died while snowshoeing near Colorado’s Monarch Pass. The Denver Post reports the 73-year-old Salida resident was with his wife, Rosa, when he collapsed Dec. 21.
— From wire reports