Sports briefs: Nadal advances at Montre Carlo; Djokovic loses | Sports

Nadal advances at Monte Carlo; Djokovic loses

Rafael Nadal remains on course to retain his Monte Carlo Masters title and won’t have Novak Djokovic standing in his way.

The top-ranked Nadal beat big-hitting Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to reach the quarterfinals, clinching victory with a clinical smash at the net. The 10-time champion next faces fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem, who earlier won 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3 against Djokovic.

Third seed Alexander Zverev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 but missed out on facing his older brother Mischa Zverev in the last eight. He lost 6-2, 7-5 to Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Second seed Marin Cilic advanced without hitting a ball after Milos Raonic pulled out through injury.

Murray handles wind, leads at Texas Open

Grayson Murray fixed a flaw in his swing and hit the ball well enough that blustery conditions didn’t matter at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. He made seven birdies in his round of 5-under 67 for a one-shot lead.

Of the five players at 68, only Chesson Hadley played in the morning side of the draw Thursday. He said it was among his best rounds of the year.

The wind died in the afternoon and scoring improved on the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore, Billy Horschel and Matt Atkins each posted a 68.

Maggert, Parnevik lead Legends of Golf

Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik shot an 8-under 63 in better-ball play to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Playing together for the first time in the team event, Maggert and Parnevik eagled the par-5 eighth and had six birdies in cool, breezy conditions on Big Cedar Lodge’s Buffalo Ridge course.

The next three rounds will be played on par-3 courses. Maggert and Parnevik will play the 18-hole Top of the Rock on Friday and Sunday, and the 13-hole Mountain Top on Saturday.

Mark Calcavecchia and Woody Austin were a stroke back. They also eagled No. 8. Austin won the 2016 title with Michael Allen.

Park fires 68 for one-shot lead in L.A.

Inbee Park shot a 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead in the opening round of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in the LPGA Tour’s return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

Showers ended shortly before Park’s threesome, including second-ranked Lexi Thompson, teed off at windy Wilshire Country Club just south of Hollywood.

Using a new putter, Park birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine before a bogey on the par-4 17th. She quickly recovered and rolled in birdie putts on the second and fifth holes to finish off her round.

Phillip Collier knocked in a 30-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole to lift he and partner Daryl Chappell to a victory over the team of Chris Neal and Sam Cumbo at the Richmond Golf Association Four-Ball Championship at Magnolia Green Golf Club.

Strong winds accompanied competitors throughout the round, affecting shot selection and scores. Both Neal-Cumbo and Chappell-Collier shot 4-under-par 68 to force the playoff.

On the deciding hole, Collier faced a right-to-left breaking putt that dove right into the center to decide the outcome.

Giants part ways with veteran Marshall

The New York Giants have released veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

General manager Dave Gettleman confirmed the move on Thursday during his predraft news conference. He said the 34-year-old Marshall failed his physical.

After signing a two-year, $12 million contract as a free agent a little more than a year ago, Marshall played in five games last season. He was hurt against the Los Angeles Chargers in early October and had season-ending surgery to stabilize his ankle.

Defensive end Freeney calling it a career

Defensive end Dwight Freeney will retire as a member of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday.

Freeney was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro selection and played in three Super Bowls. He won his only title with the Colts following the 2006 season.

The speed rusher was best known for his trademark spin, a move defensive coaches chided and offensive linemen feared.

Freeney was Indy’s first-round draft pick in 2002 and stayed through 2012. He is second in Colts’ history with 107½ sacks, trailing only Robert Mathis.

♦ North Dakota State’s Chris Klieman has signed a two-year contract extension with the perennial Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse. Klieman is entering his fifth season leading the Bison, who have won six of the past seven FCS titles.

♦ Iconic football programs Alabama and Notre Dame will meet in a pair of season openers, starting in a decade. The schools announced Thursday that they’ll open the 2028 season in South Bend, Ind., and 2029 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

♦ Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer signed a contract that runs through 2021 and increases his annual pay to at least $900,000. He will receive $300,000 in annual base compensation plus $600,000 in supplemental pay for personal appearances and media services in the agreement announced Thursday by Chancellor Beverly Davenport.

Erin Menges, a 2014 graduate of St. Catherine’s, was named to the 2018 U.S. field hockey women’s national development squad. The team will travel to Santiago, Chile, to compete in a four-game test series against teams from Chile from May 15-24. Menges completed her collegiate career at William & Mary in the fall. During her career, she earned back-to-back CAA defender of the year honors in 2016 and 2017.

— From staff and wire reports

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