National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch fined $50,000 by NFL

The NFL has fined Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $50,000 for violating the league's media policy.

Lynch stepped in front of a camera Friday and spoke for less than 90 seconds. It was his first time taking questions from the media all season, having politely declined every previous time.

Lynch's longest answer was 24 words when asked about the Seahawks' focus this week not knowing who their opponent will be.

The Seahawks will host the New Orleans Saints in the divisional playoffs Saturday.

Lynch finished the regular season with 1,257 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Manchester United chrash out of FA Cup with home loss to Swansea

Manchester United's woes continue after a shocking home loss to Swansea City in the third round of the FA Cup. The win was Swansea's first ever at Old Trafford.

Wayne Routledge opened the scoring for Swansea on a deft chip in the 12th minute, but Javier Hernandez responded four minutes later for United.

The match looked headed for a replay in South Wales until Wilfried Bony got on the end of Routledge's cross and headed it into the net in the 90th minute to continue united coach David Moyes' woes.

Football great Eusebio dies at 71 of heart failure

LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Eusebio's stellar football career for club and country included several sensational performances which are still remembered half a century later.

In an epic European Cup final against Real Madrid in 1962, when a first-half hat trick by Ferenc Puskas looked enough to secure the trophy for the Spanish club, Eusebio scored the last two goals as Benfica fought back to win 5-3 and clinch its second straight continental title.

But none of Eusebio's goals were more famous than those he scored against North Korea in the quarterfinals of the 1966 World Cup. With Portugal trailing 3-0, Eusebio inspired his team's turnaround with four goals and an eventual 5-3 victory.

Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, who died Sunday aged 71, became affectionately known as the Black Panther for his athletic prowess and clinical finishing that made him one of the world's top scorers during his heyday in the 1960s for Benfica and the Portuguese national team.

Eusebio died at his Lisbon home of heart failure at 3.30 a.m. local time (0330 GMT) Sunday, his biographer Jose Malheiro said. "His health was very poor," Malheiro told reporters. Eusebio was admitted to hospital several times over the past year for the treatment of heart and respiratory problems. Benfica confirmed his death.

Born into poverty in Africa, Eusebio became an international sporting icon and was voted one of the 10 best players of all time. For the Portuguese, he was a national hero.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal captain who plays for Real Madrid, commented on his Facebook page, "Always eternal Eusebio, rest in peace." Former Portugal captain Luis Figo, the 2001 FIFA world player of the year, tweeted, "The king!! Great loss for us all! The greatest!!"

"On this sad day of (Eusebio's) death ... I prefer to look upon him as immortal," Chelsea's Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho told public broadcaster Radiotelevisao Portuguesa.

The Portuguese government decreed three days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast. The Portuguese Football Federation ordered a minute's silence ahead of Sunday's Portuguese Cup games.

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva made a nationally televised address to the nation to praise the "affability and humility" of a man who never let stardom go to his head. "His talent brought joy for entire generations, even those who didn't live through the most glorious moments of his career," Cavaco Silva said.

Eusebio achieved global fame, and tributes poured in from around the football world. FIFA President Sepp Blatter tweeted, "Football has lost a legend. But Eusebio's place among the greats will never be taken away," while German great Franz Beckenbauer also took to Twitter to comment, "One of the greatest football players ever has passed away."

Perhaps Eusebio's biggest accomplishment was leading Portugal to a third-place finish at the 1966 World Cup, but his agility and speed made him one of Europe's most dangerous forwards for most of a career that lasted two decades.

He was awarded the Ballon d'Or in 1965 as Europe's player of the year and twice won the Golden Boot - in 1968 and 1973 - for being top scorer in Europe. According to football's world governing body FIFA, he scored 679 goals in a total of 678 official games.

At the 1966 World Cup, where Portugal went on to lose to host and eventual champion England in the semifinals, Eusebio became even more popular at home when he wept openly as he left the field following the defeat.

He finished as the tournament's top scorer with nine goals. In 1998, a panel of 100 experts gathered by FIFA named him in its International Football Hall of Fame as one of the sport's top 10 all-time greats.

"Look, there are only two black people on the list: me and Pele," Eusebio commented on the honor, referring to the Brazilian great who was a friend. "I regard that as a great responsibility because I am representing Africa and Portugal, my second homeland."

Eusebio was born in Maputo, the Mozambican capital, during the Second World War when the southeast African country was still a Portuguese colony. He came from a poor family but sparkled for his local team and was lured by Benfica to Portugal when he was 18.

Known for his unpretentious and easy manner as well as his courage and ball skills, his popularity in Portugal was such that in 1964, when Italian clubs offered to buy Eusebio for sums that were astronomical for the time, the country's then-dictator, Antonio Salazar, decreed that the player was a "national treasure" - meaning that he could not be sold abroad.

"A football genius and example of humility, an outstanding athlete and generous man, Eusebio was for all sports fans and for all Portuguese an example of professionalism, determination and devotion to the colors of the national jersey and of Benfica," Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said in a statement.

In a playing career unparalleled in Portugal, Eusebio was a cornerstone of the Benfica team that won back-to-back European titles in the early 1960s.

With Benfica, he won 11 Portuguese league titles and five Portuguese Cups, and remains the club's best-known player. A bronze statue of him, poised to kick a ball, stands outside Benfica's Stadium of Light where fans began laying flowers after his death was announced.

Eusebio's coffin was to be taken to Benfica's Stadium of Light where fans could pay their respects.

In the 1966 World Cup quarterfinal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, Portugal made a nightmare start and was three goals down after 23 minutes.

"We were taken completely by surprise," Eusebio told The Associated Press at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where the Portuguese had a second meeting with the North Koreans 44 years after the first.

"I remember very clearly what (teammate Antonio) Simoes said when we were 3-0 down. He kept saying, `As long as we don't go four goals down, we're still in with a chance,"' Eusebio said. "And he was right."

Eusebio led Portugal's remarkable comeback by repeatedly charging at the Korean defense, scoring four goals in just over 30 minutes.

After his first two goals, he picked the ball out of the net, ran back to the halfway line and placed it in the center spot for the restart. He completed his hat trick with a 56th-minute equalizer before scoring his fourth from the penalty spot as North Korea's defense fell apart amid the onslaught.

"That was the best game of my life in a Portugal jersey," Eusebio said. "It left its mark on me."

Eusebio scored 41 goals in 64 games for Portugal.

After five knee operations, he played his last game for Benfica in 1975. Eusebio then moved to North America where he spent the last years of his career playing for the Boston Minutemen, Toronto Metros, Las Vegas Quicksilver and Buffalo Stallions through 1980.

Eusebio stayed on at Benfica as an assistant coach after his retirement and traveled widely with the Portuguese national side as a paid "soccer ambassador."

Eusebio is survived by his wife, Flora, two daughters and several grandchildren.

A trial run for Sochi: Shiffrin wins in snow, rain

BORMIO, Italy (AP) - If this was a trial run for the Sochi Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin passed with flying colors.

The American teenager fought through soft snow, rain and deep ruts - exactly the type of conditions she could face in Sochi next month - to win her second World Cup slalom of the season Sunday.

"It's always a big confidence booster to have good skiing in different conditions," Shiffrin said. "I never wanted to be a racer who could only win on hard snow or just soft snow, or just a steep pitch or just a flat. I want to be really good in all-around conditions and getting a win today has given me a lot of confidence that I can ski out of ruts in the second run."

Located near the Black Sea, the Alpine resort of Rosa Khutor that will host the skiing races at the Olympics is known for varying weather conditions.

"Sochi can be challenging with the weather and everything," U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml said. "So she (Shiffrin) showed today that she's very well prepared."

The 18-year-old Shiffrin led by 0.03 seconds after the opening run and ending up winning by 0.13 ahead of Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden for the sixth victory of her career.

With all six of her wins in slalom Shiffrin took over sole possession of second on the all-time slalom list among American women, trailing only Tamara McKinney's nine victories.

Nastasia Noens of France moved up from 13th after the first run to finish third, 0.62 behind.

Shiffrin was only 0.01 ahead of Pietilae-Holmner at the final checkpoint but she excelled on the steep finishing gates to add to her lead.

Snow was falling on the top part of the course and rain at the bottom in the opening run, with spectators holding up umbrellas. During the second run, it was snowing at both the top and bottom.

Shiffrin's virtually perfect form and balance over her skis helped her overcome the varying conditions.

"She's an unbelievable skier," Riml said. "Good, solid body position definitely pays off in tough conditions like today."

Shiffrin was 12th and second in her previous two slaloms and was clearly motivated for this race.

"I was really psyched to win again," she said. "It's been a fight all season and I feel like, if I'm not perfectly ready, then the win goes to somebody else. So I was really trying to prepare myself and be ready to go today no matter what the conditions or the visibility."

The race was moved from Zagreb due to a lack of snow in Croatia, where Shiffrin also won last year. Having never raced in Bormio, she prepared by watching a YouTube video of Janica Kostelic's gold-medal run from the 2005 world championships, even though the women competed just up the road in Santa Caterina back then.

"I was like, `Yeah, I think I can do that,"' Shiffrin said of the retired Croatian standout. "It was pretty incredible to see her ski, because she really was the start of the new style of skiing and really pushing into the turns. She started it. I feel like if she was racing now she would still be winning."

Overall World Cup leader Maria Hoefl-Riesch stood fifth after the opening run but lost control shortly into her second trip down and skied off course.

Austrian specialist Marlies Schild recovered from a poor opening run - she was 15th - to finish sixth, with her younger sister Bernadette Schild placing fourth and Marie-Michele Gagnon of Canada fifth.

Marlies Schild won the past two races to set the record for most World Cup slalom victories with 35 and trailed Shiffrin by just two points in the discipline standings entering the race.

Shiffrin now leads by 62 points, with four more slaloms left to defend her season-long title from last year, when she also won the gold medal in the slalom at the world championships in Schladming, Austria.

It was Shiffrin's third consecutive podium result after placing third and second in a giant slalom and slalom last weekend in Lienz, Austria. Her other win this season came in Levi, Finland, in November.

"I'm very excited with how my season is going right now and I think I can do better, too," Shiffrin said.

Pietilae-Holmner's only two victories came in the 2010-11 season, while Noens' only previous podium result came in a slalom in Flachau, Austria, three years ago.

Resi Stiegler, the only other American starter, was 40th in the first run and failed to qualify for the second leg.

Four-time overall winner Lindsey Vonn skipped the race as she continues to rest her injured knee.

A men's slalom is scheduled for Monday night on the Stelvio.

The Sochi Games start Feb. 7.

West Ham humbled by Forest in FA Cup

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - West Ham's gamble of playing a team full of youngsters and reserve players backfired spectacularly when the Premier League struggler was thrashed 5-0 by second-tier Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

With his squad hit by injury and the first leg of a League Cup semifinal against Manchester City to come on Wednesday, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce fielded an unrecognizable starting XI that was humbled at The City Ground.

Djamel Abdoun's goal gave Forest a 1-0 lead at halftime before Jamie Paterson scored a hat trick and Andy Reid completed the humiliation with the fifth in injury time.

West Ham's lineup further highlights the FA Cup's increasing lack of appeal in the eyes of many top clubs but Allardyce made no apologies, even though the humiliating result will pile the pressure on him after his team's poor start to the season. West Ham is next to last in the Premier League after 20 games.

"We had a huge amount of problems in terms of the available members of the squad so I've got to keep them intact, that's a major priority," Allardyce said.

"Many, many managers have changed the team in all divisions, but my changes had to be severe. I didn't want it to be but it had to be."

Charlie Strong tells Louisville he's off to Texas

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Charlie Strong has told Cardinals athletic director Tom Jurich that he is leaving for Texas.

Strong, 37-15 in four seasons at Louisville, including 3-1 in bowl games, will replace Mack Brown.

The 53-year-old Strong met this week with new Texas athletic director Steve Patterson about the coaching vacancy, but he wanted to wait until speaking directly with Jurich to accept Texas' offer. Jurich was on vacation in Colorado and weather problems made traveling back to Louisville difficult.

Jurich returned to Louisville on Saturday night and met with Strong. Jurich gave Strong his first chance to be a head coach after a long successful career as a defensive coordinator at Florida and South Carolina.

SI.com reported Strong will receive a five-year contract that will pay him $5 million annually.

Texas officials declined comment Saturday night, but were expected to make a formal announcement on Strong taking over the Longhorns on Sunday.

Strong's decision ends a day that began with him telling assistant coaches in a brief meeting that he hadn't decided whether to accept Texas' offer. Asked about the coach's timetable for a decision, Louisville football spokesman Rocco Gasparro said, "It's a difficult decision for him."

Strong leaves as one of Louisville's most successful coaches, one who took the program from three consecutive non-winning seasons to four straight bowl games including Louisville's second BCS victory last January with a 33-23 upset of Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Cardinals added another bowl win last week, beating Miami 36-9 in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

He would be Texas' first black head football coach and inherits a program aching to reclaim its place among the nation's elite.

Brown's Longhorns won the 2005 season national championship and returned to the title game after the 2009 season. But the Longhorns fell to 5-7 in 2010 and have lost at least four games each of the last three seasons.

The Longhorns ended the 2013 season with a 30-7 loss to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.

That dropoff, including an 18-17 mark in the Big 12 over the last four seasons, frustrated Texas fans, who demand much more from the wealthiest athletic program in the country that sits in the middle of the most fertile high school recruiting grounds in the country.

Strong's hiring provides the Longhorns a strong recruiter that has built his program with talent from south Florida, including star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Texas also has its Longhorn Network partnership with the ESPN, a 24-hour channel dedicated to Texas athletics, a deal that pays the school at least $300 million over 20 years.

Brown had cited the fractured fan base in his resignation news conference and said it was time for someone else to unite Texas supporters. Brown lasted 16 years in the pressure cooker of Texas, but his final four years included university regents and powerbrokers exploring when and how to replace him, including a meeting with Alabama coach Nick Saban's agent in early 2013.

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AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo in Newport Beach, Calif., and AP Sports Writer Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

Luck rallies Indy to 45-44 playoff win over Chiefs

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Chuck Pagano couldn't believe his eyes. Andrew Luck couldn't believe his ears. Colts fans couldn't believe the scoreboard, and the Kansas City Chiefs couldn't believe their incredibly bad luck.

It seemed unfathomable.

On a day Luck appeared to be pressing and, at times, as bad as he ever has while putting Indianapolis in a 28-point deficit, the Colts quarterback somehow turned things around. He threw three of his four touchdowns in the second half, scored on a fumble return and connected with a wide-open T.Y. Hilton on a 64-yard TD pass to give the Colts an improbable 45-44 wild-card victory Saturday.

"One for the ages," said Pagano, Indianapolis' coach. "I think somebody said that it was the second-largest comeback or whatever in the history of whatever. I guess 21 wasn't large enough at half, so we thought we've give them another seven, you know, just to make it interesting."

Actually, rallying from 28 down made the latest of Luck's amazing comebacks one to remember.

Indianapolis (12-5) became only the second playoff team to rally from that big a deficit, according to STATS. Buffalo rallied from 32 points to beat Houston 41-38 in January 1993, though that one required overtime.

The teams' 1,049 combined total yards set an NFL postseason record, and their 89 combined points is third on the all-time list.

The Colts, winners of four straight, travel to either Denver or New England next weekend for the divisional round.

Luck was an incredible mix of good and bad, finishing 29 of 45 for 443 yards, the second-highest yardage total in franchise history for a playoff game. He also matched his career high with three interceptions. Hilton broke franchise playoff records with 13 catches and 224 yards, and also caught two TDs.

But it was the way Indy won that made it stunning.

Luck played angry and frantic, turning a steady stream of halftime boos into a chorus of cheers.

"I don't know if it ever crossed my mind on how it would be remembered," Luck said after winning his first playoff game four seasons quicker than it took his predecessor, Peyton Manning. "When I took a knee, and you feel the buzz and the energy of the crowd and see your teammates' faces, that makes it special."

For Kansas City, it was another brief, miserable postseason appearance.

The Chiefs (11-6) finished their remarkable turnaround season with three straight losses and an eighth straight postseason defeat - none more shocking than this one. The eight consecutive losses broke a tie with the Detroit Lions for the longest playoff skid.

And they were beaten up, too.

Starting running back Jamaal Charles left with a concussion on the opening possession. Knile Davis, Charles' backup, left in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a left knee injury. Receiver Donnie Avery and cornerback Brandon Flowers were knocked out with second-half concussions, and linebacker Justin Houston was out with a knee injury when Hilton caught the winning pass.

That put even more pressure on Alex Smith, who was 30 of 46 for 378 yards with four TDs and no interceptions but lost a fumble that led to a touchdown for Indy. Just about everyone other than the Colts figured Smith sealed the win with a 10-yard TD pass to Davis less than two minutes into the third quarter.

Instead, he tried to rally the Chiefs after Hilton's score and wound up throwing to Dwayne Bowe - who caught the ball but was out of bounds - on fourth-and-11 with 1:55 to play from the Indy 43.

"Anytime you're leading like that and then have them battle back and then take it, and you end up losing by a point, it's tough, a tough pill to swallow," Smith said.

Things appeared bleak with Indy trailing 31-10 at halftime, and they got worse when Luck's first pass of the second half was picked off and returned to the Indy 18. Three plays later, Smith made it 38-10.

But Luck had plenty of time to make the jaw-dropping rally.

With Indy going no-huddle, Luck started throwing at will. He eventually caught the Chiefs defense off-guard when Donald Brown scored on a 10-yard run to start the rally. Then Luck capitalized on the fumble by hooking with Brown on a 3-yard TD pass to make it 38-24.

After Luck's third interception turned into a 42-yard field goal, he answered with a 12-yard TD pass to cut the deficit to 41-31 after three quarters.

"He's as advertised. He went out there and definitely avoided some pressure and made big plays down the field," Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith said, referring to Luck.

Even when Eric Berry jarred the ball loose from Brown near the goal line, Luck had the answer. He scooped up the bouncing ball and squirted through the middle to make it 41-38. And after a Kansas City field, goal, Luck found Hilton to win it.

"It seemed surreal, being down like we were down and then you have that fourth-down stop and they had used their last timeout there at the 2-minute warning," Pagano said. "Thinking about how good tomorrow's going to be, snow or no snow, I don't really care."

Notes: The Chiefs rushed for 150 yards on 32 carries, even with Charles out most of the game. ... Colts K Adam Vinatieri became the first player in NFL history to score 200 points in the playoffs. He now has 205. ... Indy won its first playoff game without Manning since Jan. 7, 1996, when Jim Harbaugh was the QB. ... The Chiefs fell to 0-4 vs. Colts in playoff matchups.

Lindsey Vonn’s status ‘up in the air;' another injury could derail Olympics

Lindsey Vonn has not trained on snow in two weeks, most likely will not race next weekend and might not be able to race in the Olympics if she has another injury setback, a U.S. Ski Team coach told The Associated Press on Saturday.

“She’s recovering and preparing and everything is [up] in the air,” said U.S. women’s ski team coach Alex Hoedlmoser, according to the AP. ”Right now it’s a total open book.”

“We don’t know. It totally depends on how she recovers, how the knee feels, if she gets the strength back, the stability in the knee.”

Hoedlmoser, who last spoke to Vonn on Thursday, said the skier has not trained on snow since Dec. 21, when she skied out of a downhill race in Val d’Isere, France, when she said her right knee “completely gave out.” It swelled up afterward.

Hoedlmoser said Vonn might not race again before the Olympics on Dec. 29.

Her best events are speed races — downhill and super-G. The final World Cup speed races before the Olympics — after next weekend’s events in Altenmarkt, Austria — are in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, from Jan. 18-19 and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Jan. 25-26.

“We would like to see her get a couple more races in, but the injury she has, she’s always taking some risks doing that,” Hoedlmoser told the AP. “And [if she has] another setback then she might not be able to do the Olympics.”

Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion, blew out her right knee at the World Championships last February. She returned to skiing on snow in late August, partially retore her right ACL in November and returned to competition in early December.

The Olympic downhill is Feb. 12. The Olympic super-G is Feb. 15. Vonn won gold and bronze, respectively, in those races at the Vancouver Olympics.

Vonn has not commented on her status since Dec. 21.

“I didn’t hurt myself more than I’m already hurt,” Vonn said after skiing out in Val d’Isere, according to the AP. “It was a small compression, and it was fully loaded on the right ski and my knee just completely gave out. I tried to pressure the ski again and it gave out again. I had no chance of making that gate, unfortunately.”

At the time, Vonn thought her next race would be “sometime in January.”

“I’m at risk of doing more damage to my knee and my meniscus,” she said in Val d’Isere. “So I’m going to play it safe and race really minimal races. Probably one or two before the Olympics.”

Brees rallies Saints to 20-14 lead over Eagles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Drew Brees threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore, Mark Ingram ran in from the 4 and the New Orleans Saints took 20-14 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles after three quarters in an NFC wild-card playoff game Saturday night.

Two of the NFL's most prolific offenses struggled to get things going early. Brees threw a pair of interceptions, the second leading to Nick Foles' 10-yard TD pass to Riley Cooper.

But the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback bounced back with the go-ahead TD pass in the third quarter and key completions on another scoring drive.

NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had a 1-yard TD run on fourth-and-1.

Shayne Graham kicked pair of field goals for the Saints. Alex Henery missed from 48 yards for Philadelphia.

The Saints (11-5) are seeking the franchise's first playoff win in six tries on the road. The Eagles (10-6) went worst-to-first in the NFC East under rookie coach Chip Kelly.

The teams combined for an average of 816.7 yards and 53.5 points per game during the regular season. But defense dominated early.

Down 7-6 at halftime, the Saints forced a three-and-out on Philadelphia's first possession of the second half. Foles was called for intentional grounding and then got sacked. The Saints took over at their 47 after a punt and Brees quickly moved them down field. He rolled out and hit Moore for a 24-yard TD for a 13-7 lead.

On the ensuing possession, the Eagles missed a big opportunity. Cooper was wide open going over the middle, but dropped a pass on third-and-4 that would've gone for a long gain.

The Saints took advantage. Brees completed a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills on third-and-12 and Ingram scored a few plays later for a 20-7 lead.

But Philadelphia answered. Foles connected with DeSean Jackson for a 40-yard catch to the Saints for his first catch. McCoy scored a few plays later.

After Bradley Fletcher intercepted Brees in the first quarter, the Eagles were at the Saints 15 after McCoy ran 8 yards on fourth-and-1. But a pass to Brent Celek lost 8 yards and Foles took a sack for an 11-yard loss. Henery then missed wide left.

The Saints then drove to the Eagles 13 before nearly losing the ball again. Jimmy Graham fumbled, but the call was reversed after a video review showed he was down before the ball came out. Graham then made a 36-yarder for a 3-0 lead.

Brees, who led the Saints to a Super Bowl title in 2009, had thrown just four interceptions in his first nine playoff games before tossing two picks in the first half. The Saints were at the Eagles 41 before Brees threw one right to linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who returned it 23 yards to the New Orleans 44.

Foles connected with Cooper for 22 yards on first down. On third down, he found Cooper running across the back of the end zone for a TD.

Graham kicked a 47-yarder at the end of the second quarter to cut it to 7-6.

Brees and Foles became just the second pair of quarterbacks from the same high school to play each other in a playoff game. Brees led Westlake High School to the Texas state championship in 1996. Foles broke several of Brees' passing records and guided the Austin-based school to the title game in 2006, but lost.

A day after a storm dumped 8 inches of snow on Philadelphia, there was hardly any trace of it at Lincoln Financial Field. Team officials estimated workers removed between two and three million pounds of snow from the stadium and surrounding parking lots. Temperature at kickoff was 25 degrees, but the cold weather didn't prevent Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis from coming out shirtless for pregame warm-ups.

New Orleans played without Pierre Thomas, the team's leading rusher and second-leading receiver. Thomas injured his chest last week.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Miami expecting Golden to remain coach

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Miami expects Al Golden to stay with the Hurricanes, athletic director Blake James said Saturday in response to speculation that the football coach may be poised to leave for Penn State.

James says he has been in regular communication with Golden in recent days and believes he will remain at Miami. Golden played for Joe Paterno at Penn State and has emerged as a top candidate to replace Bill O'Brien with the Nittany Lions.

O'Brien resigned to take over as coach of the NFL's Houston Texans.

Golden has not responded to messages for several days about the Penn State search. He's 22-15 in three seasons at Miami, spending much of that time dealing with the now-closed NCAA investigation revolving around the actions of a former booster.

Sights and sounds from BCS title game media day

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) When you cram an entire college football team and dozens of television cameras into a cramped hotel ballroom, don't be surprised if a dance-off breaks out.

That impromptu Auburn dance semicircle on Saturday morning was just one entertaining aspect of a lively media day before the BCS championship game. The Tigers and Florida State both took turns discussing every aspect of the big game and the season leading up to it, with innumerable detours along the way.

"It's a great experience to be out here and to do everything they set us up to do," Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall said. "But I've just come out here for one thing only, and that's to get a win."

Marshall wasn't given one of the four podiums assigned to each team's best players at media day, instead sitting at a table with reporters crammed up against each other to hear his insights. Auburn running back Chandler Shakespeare took media day to another level, grabbing a water bottle and running around the room interviewing his own teammates to the amusement of the real reporters.

While most players seemed pleased with the media day attention, there's an undeniable anxiety to get to Monday's game at the Rose Bowl after several days of preparation and amusements - everything from a trip to Disneyland and a comedy club to massive prime-rib dinners. Both teams arrived on New Year's Eve, and they've spent the last few days practicing for the big finale.

"It's actually my first time coming to California, so I'm definitely excited to play out here in this great weather," Florida State receiver Rashad Greene said. "And what better people to play with?"

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CON QUESO: Auburn center Reese Dismukes' favorite part of the BCS championship game experience hasn't been the pomp or the circumstance. It's the quiet Mexican dinner he had with several other offensive linemen.

"The Mexican food is way better out here," Dismukes said. "I guess it should be. I didn't get any cheese dip, though. I like that in Alabama. Us fat guys like cheese dip."

Like most players on both teams, the third-team All-American center is trying to enjoy the experience without losing focus on the Tigers' goal.

"It's important to remember why you're here," Dismukes said, "but also to enjoy being here. It's a balance."

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HEY FOUR-EYES: Florida State receiver Kenny Shaw wore Google Glass around the room Saturday, sending photos and video of media day to the school's Google Plus site.

"I wish they was mine," Shaw said. "I'm just sharing. This is a great technology that more teams should utilize."

Shaw followed the lead of Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren at a Rose Bowl media availability last week. Although the Cardinal live just a few miles from the Googleplex, Shaw is no stranger to cutting-edge technology, and he excels on Twitter and Instagram, making him a natural choice for Google's goggles.

"It's kind of creepy, but I can be recording somebody and they don't even know it," Shaw said with a smile.

Shaw confidently declares he has "the most swag on the team. I get the job done on Saturdays, too. It's rare that you find that."

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DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Auburn's Jeff Whitaker might be out for the year, but he put on a show at media day.

The defensive tackle sang "Amazing Grace" - literally stopping after those two words - joked about wanting to meet Halle Berry, and pulled no punches on being perhaps the Tigers' strongest player.

"There's no complaining," Whitaker said. "My deal is, man, life's too short. I've got to keep smiling. I feel like I've got a beautiful face. I think I need to smile."

He has 18 career starts, but is still waiting to see real action in a national title game. Whitaker played one snap in the January 2011 victory over Oregon in Glendale, Ariz. He admits sitting this one out hurts.

"It's very tough," Whitaker said. "But at the end of the day I love my teammates. That's the most important thing."

He's still having fun on the trip. He busted on teammates trying to tell jokes during their comedy club outing: "We know comedy is not in them."

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AP Sports Writers John Zenor and Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.

Nets' Lopez has surgery on broken right foot

NEW YORK (AP) Nets center Brook Lopez had surgery Saturday on his broken right foot, with the team saying a second procedure was done in hopes of preventing further injury.

Besides repairing the fractured fifth metatarsal, surgeons also repositioned another bone.

"With this procedure, we both fixed the broken bone in Brook's right foot and repositioned another bone, so that his sole of his foot will bear weight more evenly than before," Dr. Riley Williams III, the Nets' medical director, said in a statement. "The repositioning portion of the surgery lessens the stress on the fractured bone, and decreases the likelihood of re-injury in the future."

Lopez also broke the foot just before the 2011-12 season, when he was limited to just five games. He then had another procedure last offseason to fix a bent screw in the foot.

Lopez was injured Dec. 20 against Philadelphia. The All-Star center, who was averaging a team-high 20.7 points, will miss the remainder of the season and the Nets expect him back for offseason workouts.

N Dakota St 3rd FCS title in row, 35-7 over Towson

FRISCO, Texas (AP) Brock Jensen and North Dakota State got their perfect ending, capping a 15-0 season with a 35-7 victory over Towson on Saturday as the Bison claimed their straight FCS championship in coach Craig Bohl's final game at the school.

Jensen threw a touchdown pass and was one of four North Dakota State players who ran for scores.

The Bison joined Appalachian State as the only FCS teams to win three consecutive championships. They are the first undefeated champs at that level since Marshall in 1996, the year before the Thundering Herd moved to Division I.

Bohl last month accepted the job as Wyoming's coach, but stayed with the Bison for their playoff run. He finished 104-32 in 11 seasons at North Dakota State, which has won 24 consecutive games to match the FCS record.

Vandy regroups, tops Houston 41-24 in Compass Bowl

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Patton Robinette threw two 50-yard touchdown passes to Jordan Matthews, and Vanderbilt recovered after blowing a 24-point lead to beat Houston 41-24 on Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Robinette, starting after senior Austyn Carta-Samuels had season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, also had an 8-yard scoring run as Vanderbilt built a 24-0 lead in the first half.

After Houston (8-4) pulled even by scoring 24 points in the third quarter, Vanderbilt reclaimed the lead on Brian Kimbrow's 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Vanderbilt (9-4) closed the season with five straight wins, adding to third-year coach James Franklin's status as a possible candidate for coaching vacancies, including at Penn State and with the NFL Browns and Redskins. The Commodores played in three straight bowl games under Franklin - a first for the program - and completed their first back-to-back nine-win seasons.

Vandy players doused Franklin with a water bucket in the final seconds.

Houston gained only 22 yards and had one first down in the first half but rallied with 24 points in the third quarter to pull even. Kenneth Farrow had a 6-yard scoring run and Deontay Greenberry and John O'Korn threw scoring passes to Markeith Ambles.

The Commodores regrouped with two big gains on direct snaps to running backs early in the fourth quarter. Jerron Seymour ran for 38 yards to the Houston 34. Kimbrow's touchdown run gave the lead back to Vanderbilt.

Jahmel McIntosh's interception less than a minute later gave the ball back to Vanderbilt, setting up Carey Spear's 35-yard field goal.

Seymour added a 2-yard scoring run with less than 2 minutes remaining.

Matthews, a senior who set Southeastern Conference records for career catches and yards receiving, had five catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

Matthews took advantage of a lead block by receiver Jonathan Krause to make his first touchdown catch on Vanderbilt's second possession.

A forced fumble by linebacker Chase Garnham set up the Commodores' second touchdown. After Houston's O'Korn threw a pass to Greg Ward Jr., a big hit by Garnham forced the fumbled recovered by Andrew Williamson at the Houston 16. Robinette, making his third career start, scored on an 8-yard keeper on fourth down.

No Houston defender was near Matthews on his second 50-yard scoring catch in the second quarter.

A lost fumble by Robinette set up Farrow's 6-yard touchdown run to start Houston's third-quarter comeback.

Houston built on the momentum. Daniel Spencer's 62-yard run set up O'Korn's 6-yard touchdown pass to Ambles. O'Korn's 58-yard pass to Ambles set up a 30-yard field goal by Kyle Bullard. The Cougars completed their big third-quarter comeback on O'Korn's 67-yard touchdown pass to Greenberry to tie the game.

Arsenal beats Tottenham 2-0 in FA Cup derby

LONDON - Arsenal overpowered north London rival Tottenham 2-0 to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, a significant scalp in the quest to end a nine-year trophy drought.

Santi Cazorla swept in Arsenal's opener in the 31st minute as Tottenham was run ragged at the home of it fiercest rival.

Arsenal's derby supremacy wasn't reflected in the scoreline, with Tomas Rosicky taking until the 62nd to score the second, charging forward from the halfway line after Tottenham gave the ball away before lifting it into the net.

?"We played very collectively and tactically very well," Rosicky said. "We always have the quality to score goals."

Arsenal ended the game with 10 men after Theo Walcott was carried off on a stretcher with a knee injury in the final 10 minutes when all three substitutes had been used.

Walcott used his misfortune as a chance to taunt Tottenham fans, signaling 2-0 with his fingers as he was carried around the pitch, which Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said came in response to being hit by coins.

"It does not even look aggressive, it was smiley," Wenger said of the gesture.

The victory maintained Arsenal's bright start to 2014, a year when Wenger will hope to produce the team's first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.

The Gunners are also top of the Premier League they haven't won since 2004 and in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Tottenham, though, has only one realistic chance of ending the season with silverware in the second-tier Europa League.

In the three weeks since managerial novice Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas, Spurs have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions.

But Sherwood has overseen a Premier League revival, collecting 10 out of a possible 12 points as Tottenham has climbed to within two points of the top four into sixth place.

Looking to maintain that momentum, Sherwood made only one change from the side that won at Manchester United on Wednesday, with 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb making his first Tottenham start.

Wenger, though, had the luxury of making five switches from the side that beat Cardiff 2-0 on New Year's Day and Arsenal still was in the ascendancy throughout.

"We had good discipline and were tight at the back," Wenger said. "With quick, sharp passing we looked dangerous."

The pressure was unrelenting with Walcott at his most menacing, forcing Hugo Lloris into a low diving save, seeing a curling shot deflect off Vlad Chiriches, and another blocked by the goalkeeper's legs.

Though Sherwood insisted his team was not over-run by Arsenal, Tottenham was sliced apart for the opener in the 31st

Serge Gnabry cut in from the right and released the ball to Cazorla, who drove it in low past Lloris.

A second goal seemed inevitable, but it didn't come in the first half with Walcott volleying over with the closest chance before the break.

Tottenham's best chance to level was squandered 10 minutes into the second half, as former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who was jeered throughout, struggled to make a clean connection with Aaron Lennon's cross.

Soon, though, Tottenham was too easily breached again.

Danny Rose, dithering on the halfway line, gave away the ball, Rosicky seized the ball, raced to the penalty area and chipped Lloris.

As Tottenham's back-line continued to crumble, Walcott was unfortunate not to score, curling a low shot wide before being forced off when he was having a great impact leading the attack.

"He had a fighting attitude," Wenger said.

Titans fire Mike Munchak after 3 years as coach

The Tennessee Titans have fired Mike Munchak after three seasons as head coach and 31 years combined with this franchise as a player and coach.

The Titans confirmed the firing Saturday after holding meetings since they ended the season with a 7-9 record and a 16-10 win over Houston.

"The last week has been a difficult time trying to navigate through many issues to find the best resolution for this franchise moving forward," general manager Ruston Webster said in a statement. "Tough choices were presented to all sides and the end result was to part ways and move forward without Mike."

The Titans scheduled a news conference for later Saturday to discuss the firing. Webster now has to oversee this franchise's first coaching search since Munchak was hired in February 2011 and only the second since this team left Houston in 1997.

Munchak flew to Texas on Friday morning to meet with team president and CEO Tommy Smith and Webster. They returned late in the afternoon, and Munchak eluded reporters by driving his truck through a different airport exit.

The coach had a season left on his contract and was 22-26 overall. He had been with this franchise since 1982 when the then-Houston Oilers made him a first-round draft pick, and he joined the coaching staff as an assistant the year after he retired.

The Titans made Munchak their 16th head coach when late owner Bud Adams promoted him after firing Jeff Fisher. But Munchak's first offseason was wiped out by the NFL lockout, and his second was chewed up when Adams ordered his front office to chase Peyton Manning.

Adams spent more than $100 million this past offseason to restock the Titans' roster and made it clear he wanted a playoff berth. That spending spree landed 13 new free agents, along with seven draft picks making the roster. Smith, Adams' son-in-law, was picked as president and CEO a week after Adams died Oct. 21, and Smith said last month he thinks the Titans need to fill a few more holes.

Webster thanked Munchak for his professionalism.

"He is first-class and I wish him and his family nothing but the best," said Webster, who was promoted to general manager in January 2012.

The Titans lost six games by one possession and also won six games decided by a possession. They also dropped eight of 10 games in one stretch, including five straight at home, with fans showing their displeasure with a franchise that hasn't won a postseason game since January 2003 by staying away by the thousands.

Munchak had made it clear over the past couple of weeks that he thought having quarterback Jake Locker available for all 16 games likely would have been the difference in the two or three wins needed to earn this franchise's first playoff berth since 2008.

Possible changes to Munchak's coaching staff may have been a sticking point after he hired four new coaches and switched up a couple of others. Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and senior assistant coach for defense Gregg Williams both have expiring contracts, and special teams had been an issue on kick and punt returns until the team signed Leon Washington late.

Munchak also promoted an old friend already on his staff as linebackers coach for 2013, and a young group featuring Zach Brown, Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers struggled most of the season.

Left guard Andy Levitre, who signed as a free agent in March to play for Munchak, wrote on Twitter: "Unfortunate to hear the news about Coach Munchak. Couldn't be more thankful 4 him giving me this opportunity in Nashville. Wish him the best."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Aston Villa out of FA Cup in 3rd round shock

LONDON (AP) - Aston Villa was dumped out of the FA Cup by third-tier side Sheffield United in the biggest shock of the third round on Saturday, while 10-man Manchester City was held by Blackburn.

Villa's humbling came days after manager Paul Lambert branded the cup as a "distraction," but rather than making wholesale changes, it was still a strong side that lost 2-1.

Blackburn earned a replay against City after goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon fumbled Rudy Gestede's header before Scott Dann rushed in to sweep the ball into the net to cancel out Alvaro Negredo's opener.

City was left hanging on to the 1-1 draw after Dedryck Boyata was sent off in the 85th minute when a foul on D.J. Campbell earned him a second yellow card.

Southampton squeezed into the fourth round by beating Burley 4-3, while holder Wigan, which was relegated from the Premier League after winning the cup in May, was held to 3-3 by M.K. Dons.

In all-Premier League encounters, Cardiff beat Newcastle 2-1, Crystal Palace won 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion, and Arsenal hosted Tottenham in the late game.

Tedford hired as Buccaneers offensive coordinator

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Former California coach Jeff Tedford has been hired as offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New Bucs coach Lovie Smith made the announcement Saturday, saying Tedford has a "successful and proven track record as a teacher and developer of young talent."

Tedford led Cal from 2002-12. During his long coaching career, Tedford has worked with six quarterbacks eventually selected in the first round of the NFL draft, including Aaron Rodgers.

Other notable offensive players who played for him at Cal are running back Marshawn Lynch and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Smith was hired as Bucs coach Thursday, replacing Greg Schiano. The Bucs finished last in the league in passing and total offense while going 4-12 this season.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Sleeves or no sleeves? 49ers, Pack prep for cold

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Josh Boyd isn't into making a fashion statement, and he doesn't think he needs to go sleeveless to show off his toughness.

All the Packers defensive lineman wants is to stay warm in the subzero weather when Green Bay hosts the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC wild-card showdown that could be one of the coldest playoff games in NFL history.

So many intriguing story lines between these two NFC powers, and yet the arctic cold may trump them all.

"Yeah, I'm definitely going sleeves," said Boyd, a rookie from Mississippi. "I mean, I don't see it as a tough guy thing. I just see it as being comfortable."

The National Weather Service forecast called for a high temperature in Green Bay on Sunday of 2 degrees, with north-northwest winds making it feel more like minus-15 to minus-20.

The coldest NFL game on record is the 1967 championship game, known as the "Ice Bowl" won by the Packers 21-17 over the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on New Year's Eve. The temperature dipped to minus-13, and the wind chill that day was minus-48.

This might be little consolation to Boyd, for whom cold games in college meant playing in 30- or 40-degree weather.

"I'm from Mississippi, so this is a whole other animal," Boyd said. "I've never seen negatives until I got here."

Linemen are renowned for toughing out inclement weather without sleeves under jerseys. Don't want to give the opponent even the slightest idea that you're soft, the line of thinking goes.

Well, 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith is as tough as they come, and even he might wear sleeves for what he estimates would be just the second or third time in his 13-year career.

"You're not going to have an advantage having no sleeves. You're not going to scare the opponent," said Smith, who has 6 1/2 sacks.

Across the line of scrimmage, center Jonathan Goodwin said he had no problem wearing sleeves.

"I gave up on the `don't wear sleeves to look tough' a long time ago," he said.

In some ways, players might be warmer than the 80,000 fans expected to pack frigid Lambeau. Once they get to the sideline, players can take a break on heated benches. They'll likely wear long, heavy coats while not in the game.

"This is not the norm. Anytime you get outside the norm for whatever your occupation, it's obviously challenging mentally and physically," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "That's definitely going to be the case Sunday."

Footing on the field will be a key issue. Lambeau does have a heating system buried beneath the turf, encompassing 30 miles of pipes. There was supposed to be a brief "break" in the cold snap with temperatures rising into the upper 20s on Saturday, which McCarthy said would give groundskeepers a key day to work on the field.

"It could be just a normal game that's played at a little slower pace. Or it could be where there's a lot of slipping and sliding going on, then you have to adjust a little bit," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "You need to wait to see Sunday exactly see how the field affects the game."

Another key for players will be to stay hydrated, though McCarthy jokingly put his index finger to his lips as if to tell a reporter to not let out the secret when asked the question Friday.

"We've seen it in past games where guys do cramp, so yes, it's all part of our preparation," McCarthy said.

If not for the arctic front marching into Wisconsin, more of the attention before Sunday's game might be focused on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's mastery of Green Bay in the teams' last two meetings. Or quarterback Aaron Rodgers' triumphant return from a left collarbone injury to help the resurgent Packers get back into the playoffs.

Instead, San Francisco and Green Bay will have to deal with an unwelcome extra opponent: the bitter cold.

Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels seems to subscribe to the sleeves-are-soft philosophy. He doesn't like wearing them and plans to just play through the big chill and block out the conditions.

And don't get him started on hand warmers.

"I see offensive linemen with hand warmers, that tells me about them, man," Daniels said. "A defensive line coach in college said that, so I kind of kept that mentality."

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Santa Clara, Calif., contributed to this report.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Williams beats Azarenka, defends Brisbane title

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) This was one time Serena Williams didn't mind being pushed into the deep end, to use her own description.

The top-ranked Williams carried her winning momentum from 2013 into the new season, beating No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to defend her title at the Brisbane International and set the tone for the Australian Open.

She extended her winning streak to 22 matches with the emphatic win over the reigning Australian Open champion, making it back-to-back victories over two of her main rivals. She beat four-time major winner Maria Sharapova in straight sets in an intense semifinal, her 14th consecutive win in that frosty duel.

She improved to 14-3 against Azarenka, the last person to beat her last year. Before the semifinals, Williams said there was nothing like being "thrown into the deep end straight away."

Having come through those challenges, she thought it was the ideal season-opening tournament.

"It was a great test. It showed me where my level was," Williams said, looking ahead to the Australian Open. "I'm happy I was able to play both Maria and Victoria, because they brought their A games against me. I know now what I need to do for Melbourne - I look forward to it."

The year's first major starts Jan. 13 at Melbourne Park and Williams, who won 78 of her 82 matches and collected 11 titles last year, is positioning herself as the favorite to claim a sixth Australian title after winning a tournament featuring six of the top 10 women.

Williams has so many trophies now, she said she doesn't know where they all are - "some are MIA" - but that doesn't stop her from collecting more. This was her 58th, including 17 majors.

Immediately after the loss, Azarenka said she hopes to face Williams again in Melbourne - as the top two ranked players, they can only meet in the final.

"I can't say I'm satisfied today, but I want to take the positive, what I've done today, and build from here towards the next week," Azarenka said. "This is the first week where you really test yourself where your game is at, and from here you can take the positives and the things that you have to work on and really go after that."

Williams earned the first break in the seventh game and hit fired consecutive aces to finish off the first set in 37 minutes.

She went up a break immediately in the second set before Azarenka won four straight games to take a 4-2 lead. Williams, who was comparatively silent against a screeching opponent for the second straight night, let out a scream of relief and satisfaction after hitting an overhead winner to break back in the seventh game.

And she yelled and pumped her arm again after converting a break in the 11th game with a backhand down line.

Serving for the championship, Williams started with two aces - her 10th and 11th - and then hit a service winner to set up two championship points at 40-15. She fired an unreturnable serve to finish it off.

The Williams sisters were hoping to both win a WTA Tour event in the same week for the first time in 15 years, but Ana Ivanovic prevented that when she beat Venus Williams 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.

It was the end of a personal drought for second-seeded Ivanovic, who claimed her 12th career singles title and her first since Bali in 2011.

Venus Williams was the crowd's sentimental favorite after reaching the final of her first tournament since September. After a long struggle with injury and illness, her form in Auckland supported her claim that she is fitter and healthier than she has been in years.

The men's final in Brisbane on Sunday will feature two 32-year-old former No. 1s.

Top-seeded Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt earned three-set semifinal victories to advance, renewing a rivalry that stretches back to the last millennium.

Federer beat No. 8-seeded Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 immediately after Hewitt's 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win over second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan in sweltering heat topping 40 Celsius (104 F).

The pair have met 26 times dating back to 1999, with Federer leading 18-8 including 16 of the last 17.

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AP Sports Writer Steve McMorran contributed from Wellington, New Zealand.

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