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Murray advances to Australian Open men's final

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Murray advances to Australian Open men's final

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Andy Murray has finally beaten Roger Federer at a Grand Slam.

The U.S. Open champion stayed in the hunt for a second consecutive major title with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 win over the 17-time Grand Slam champion at the Australian Open on Friday.

Murray will play defending champion and top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who was rarely troubled while beating David Ferrer in straight sets in just under 90 minutes on Thursday night - about 2 1/2 hours less than Friday's semifinal.

Advantage to Djokovic, then, for the Sunday night final.

While U.S. Open champion Murray came into the match with a 10-9 career advantage, Murray had never beaten Federer in the three times they had met in majors - at finals at the 2008 U.S. Open, 2010 Australian Open and last year at Wimbledon.

``It's always tough against him when he plays his best tennis,'' Murray said, explaining why he was unable to close out the victory while serving for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set. ``I was obviously very nervous. He plays his best tennis when his back is against the wall.''

Federer outplayed Murray at stages of the match, but the 25-year-old Scot appeared to have the legs and stamina to give him the advantage over the 31-year-old Federer in the fifth set, including a service break to clinch the tense match.

With a capacity crowd of 15,000 at Rod Laver Arena watching, including the Australian legend Laver himself, Federer opened the match serving and was in trouble early, losing a 28-rally point to set up break point for Murray. But Federer held the game with a stunning cross-court forehand that just looped over the net from the baseline.

Murray, who had not lost a set through five rounds at Melbourne Park this year, had the first service break - on his fourth break point - to lead 2-1. It came in unusually cool summer conditions in Melbourne - breezy and temperatures of only 60 degrees during most of the match.

There were no service breaks or even break-point chances in the second set, resulting in the tiebreaker that Federer dominated early to take a 4-1 lead. But Murray fought back to level at 5-5 before Federer secured a set point with a cross-court return of Murray's smash attempt. The Swiss star clinched the tiebreaker and the 58-minute second set when Murray hit a forehand long on the next point.

The crowd was initially evenly split between Federer and Murray supporters - and at times, they were competing to be heard. At one point in the second set, a group of Murray fans wearing white shirts with blue letters spelling his nickname ``Muzza'' stood to chant Murray's name, while a group of Federer supporters with Swiss flags on their cheeks and shirts chanted Federer's name.

Murray broke Federer's service in the sixth game of the third set, clinched when Federer's attempted backhand in the left corner went long, then consolidated the break with a strong service game that included his 14th ace of the match to go up 5-2.

Federer, hampered by a 56 percent first-serve percentage through the first seven games of the set, managed to hold his service in the next. But Murray took a 2-1 set lead in the next game, clinching the game and the set with an ace.

With the crowd chanting ``Let's go Roger, let's go,'' Federer grabbed back the momentum by breaking Murray for the first time in the match, then held his next service game before Murray won the next three games.

There was some controversy in that leveling game when Murray thought he had game point on a shot to the base line, but it was over-ruled by a linesman. He eventually held to level the set at 4-4, then 5-5 before the late exchange of service breaks that sent the set to another tiebreaker won by Federer, sending the match to a fifth set.

Earlier Friday, top-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy won the first title of 2013 at Melbourne Park, beating the unseeded Australian pair of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 for the women's doubles championship.

The 16-year-old Barty was attempting to become the youngest Grand Slam champion since Martina Hingis won the Australian Open singles title in 1997.

On Saturday, defending champion Victoria Azarenka plays sixth-seeded Li Na of China for the women's singles title. Li lost the Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters in 2011 two months before winning her first and only Grand Slam at the French Open.

``Last time was more exciting, (more) nervous because it was my first time to be in a final,'' Li said Friday. ``But I think this time (I'm) more calmed down, more cool.''

Azarenka leads 5-4 in career matches, including the last four times they've played.

``I'm really hungry to defend my title,'' said Azarenka, who needs to beat Li to retain her No. 1 ranking. ``I've put myself in the position to give it the best shot.''

Also on Saturday, American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan will play their fifth consecutive Australian Open doubles final and attempt to win their record 13th Grand Slam doubles championship. They'll play the Dutch pair of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

WASHINGTON -- Presented with identical opportunities to ring up a big inning, the Washington Nationals took full advantage and Baltimore Orioles squandered the chance.

That goes a long way toward explaining why the Nationals are a contender and the Orioles own the worst record in the big leagues.

Trea Turner went 4 for 4 with a homer , Anthony Rendon drove in three runs and Washington extended its recent domination of the Orioles with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.

The game was essentially decided in the fifth inning, which began with Baltimore leading 4-1.

In the top half, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and scored only one run -- when Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Washington loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half and batted around, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Adam Eaton contributed a two-run single, Rendon hit a sacrifice fly and Bryce Harper chased starter David Hess with an RBI double.

"They did a lot better job cashing in their bases loaded, nobody out situation than we did," Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded.

For the game, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were 5 for 10.

"This team is starting to become relentless," manager Dave Martinez said. "They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, had a couple of big innings there and scored some runs."

The Nationals trailed 6-5 before getting six hits in a four-run seventh. Rendon delivered a two-run double off Tanner Scott (0-1) that made it 7-6, and Turner capped his four-hit night with a double.

Both teams noted that more than a couple of Washington's hits were bloopers and seeing-eye grounders, but the Nationals certainly weren't about to apologize.

"I feel like all year we've been hitting balls right at people," Turner said, "so it's nice to get a bunch of those in one game and come out with a win."

Washington has won six straight over its neighboring interleague rival, including four games this season by a combined 20-8.

Pitching in his second big league game, Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.

Justin Miller (5-0) pitched two innings of relief, newcomer Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth and Sean Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Joey Rickard while earning his 19th save.

Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini each hit two-run homers for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19.

This one can be blamed on an all-too-telling fifth inning.

"It's just one of those things where if they got hits they seemed to have found holes," Showalter said. "They hit some balls hard, too."

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