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Williams sisters win their way into semis

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Top-ranked Serena Williams ended a long and successful day for the Williams family as she and sister Venus both won twice Friday to reach the Family Circle Cup semifinals and set up their first sibling showdown since 2009.

Serena won her 13th straight match by defeating sixth-seeded Lucie Safarova, 6-4, 6-1. Earlier, she topped two-time NCAA doubles champ Mallory Burdette in a third-round match moved due to Thursday's 7 ½-hour rain delay.

Venus also had double duty, rallying past Varvara Lepchenko in three sets before ousting 18-year-old Madison Keys later on Billie Jean King Court.

The Williams sisters next go for a spot in the finals Saturday. They haven't met in a tournament since the 2009 Tour Championships in Qatar. Serena holds a 13-10 lead, although they're 1-1 on clay.


Ex-Miss Sprint Cup returns as "Lady in Black"

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — The former Miss Sprint Cup removed after nude photos of her surfaced on the Internet is back at Darlington Raceway as "The Lady in Black."

Raceway officials said Paige Duke would serve at next month's Bojangles Southern 500 and at other track events throughout the year, representing Darlington and wearing a black fire suit.

Duke was Miss Sprint Cup in 2010-11. She was removed from her position after nude photos she said were taken when she was a freshman at Clemson University popped up on a website. She said at the time she was not surprised by the dismissal because Duke had a morals clause in her contract.


Griffis to serve as USC Upstate acting AD

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Philosophy professor Jim Griffis will be USC Upstate's acting athletic director after Mike Hall leaves later this month.

Griffis has been the school's faculty athletics representative since 2006. USC Upstate Chancellor Tom Moore announced the move Friday.

Griffis came to USC Upstate in 1986 and teaches logic, ancient philosophy and philosophy of law. Moore said Griffis has built strong relationships with coaches and athletes during his time as faculty rep. Griffis is a member of the NCAA's Awards, Benefits, Expenses and Financial Aid Cabinet.

Moore said Griffis will serve most likely until the end of the academic year. Moore is seeking an interim athletic direct until a permanent replacement is named.

Hall is leaving after 19 years to become commissioner of the Southern States Athletic Conference in the NAIA.


Jimmie Johnson wins pole at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson has won the pole position for Sunday's NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway with a track record.

Johnson made his fastest lap around the 0.526-mile oval at 98.400 mph Friday. He broke the track record of 98.083 mph held by Tony Stewart. It is the 30th pole position of Johnson's career, and his third in 23 starts at Martinsville.

Five other drivers also eclipsed Stewart's mark on a cooling, later afternoon surface, led by Marcos Ambrose at 98.364.

He was followed by Brian Vickers, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon.

Stewart, whose team has struggled through the first five races of the season, qualified 26th.


East beats West 87-81 in college all-star game

ATLANTA (AP) — James Ennis of Long Beach State scored 13 points, and Kansas State's Rodney McGruder hit four free throws in the closing seconds to give the East team an 87-81 victory over the West in the college all-star game at the Final Four.

The East team, coached by Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin, built a 15-point lead in the second half before squandering nearly all of it. But the West, coached by Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, couldn't finish the comeback, even though they started fouling down the stretch to extend the game.

McGruder finished with 11 points for the East team, while Will Clyburn of Iowa State scored 17 points and Mike Muscala of Bucknell finished with 15 points for the West.

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