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Sports Briefs

Published:Saturday | March 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Djokovic in semis

INDIAN WELLS, California (AP):

Novak Djokovic didn't have to hit a ball to get into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday when opponent Bernard Tomic withdrew because of a back injury.

Tomic's withdrawal was announced about five hours before he was to play the top-ranked Djokovic, a three-time champion at Indian Wells who won his first three matches in straight sets. He had beaten Tomic each of the three times they have played.

Fans on stadium court jeered at the news.

Djokovic's semi-final opponent today will be fourth-seeded Andy Murray, who defeated No. 12 seed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4 for his 497th career victory. His wins are the most by any Brit in the Open era, overtaking Tim Henman, who had 496 career wins.

Murray dropped serve just once against the left-handed Lopez while serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set. He improved to 10-0 against Lopez all-time.

Pele backs Blatter for 5th term

LONDON,UNited Kingdom (AP):

Pele is supporting Sepp Blatter's bid to continue running world football as the FIFA president prepares for his toughest-ever election battle.

Blatter is taking on three rivals in FIFA's May election, including Pele's friend, Luis Figo, the former Portugal, Barcelona, and Real Madrid player.

But Pele is insistent that the 79-year-old Blatter should serve a fifth, four-year term despite lingering questions over FIFA's handling of ethics scandals.

"I am going to be clear, I will support Sepp Blatter because Blatter has more experience, he stayed there a long time," Pele said in an interview with The Associated Press yesterday.

Diego Costa back with Spain

MADRID, Spain (AP):

Chelsea striker Diego Costa was recalled by Spain yesterday for matches against Ukraine and the Netherlands this month.

The Brazil-born striker missed games against Belarus and Germany in November because of a hamstring injury.

Costa will be joined by Chelsea teammate Cesc Fabregas, Manchester City playmaker David Silva, and Barcelona's Andres Iniesta.

Del Bosque called up two new players for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Ukraine in Seville on March 27: Sevilla winger Vitolo and Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.

Juventus striker Alvaro Morata, who made his debut for Spain in November, was also back.