Kvitova into Birmingham semis, will face Safarova

Czech Petra Kvitova moved into the Aegon Classic semi-finals with a 6-4 7-6(5) win over France's Kristina Mladenovic on Friday.

The seventh seed, twice Wimbledon champion, is playing in her second tournament after a lengthy layoff with a hand injury, suffered during a knife attack at her home in December.

"Both of us play really fast on this surface, the grass suits her game as well, so it was about a few points here in three, one or two key breaks in the match," Kvitova said.

British player Evans tested positive for cocaine

LONDON Briton Dan Evans failed a drugs test in April, testing positive for cocaine, he said in a statement on Friday.

The world number 50, who reached his first ATP final this year and has played for Britain in the Davis Cup, was due to hold a news conference in west London later on Friday.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said its Anti-Doping Programme will be releasing a statement shortly.

Federer cruises past defending champ Mayer into Halle semis

HALLE, Germany Top seed Roger Federer reached the Halle Open semi-finals on Friday, beating defending champion Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 and edging closer to a ninth title at the Wimbledon tune-up event.

The 18-time grand slam champion, whose last title at Halle was in 2015, skipped the entire claycourt season after winning the Australian Open and claiming titles at Indian Wells and Miami this year, to prepare for grass.

Pellegrino takes over as Southampton manager

LONDON Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino was named as manager of Premier League Southampton on Friday, the week after the club sacked Claude Puel.

The 45-year-old has agreed a three-year contract and will arrive at St Mary's next week to prepare for the new season.

Pellegrino, who won La Liga as a defender with Valencia, began his coaching career as an assistant at Liverpool before spells with Valencia, Estudiantes, Independiente and Alaves.

Muller scythes past Querrey at Queen's, Cilic next

By Martyn Herman

LONDON Luxembourg left-hander Gilles Muller continued scything his way through the grasscourt season when he beat former champion Sam Querrey at the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club on Friday.

The late-blooming 34-year-old chalked up a seventh successive victory on the green stuff as he beat the powerful American 6-4 7-6(5) to reach the semi-finals.

Froome says was never offered triamcinolone by Team Sky

LONDON Three-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome has said he was never offered or administered the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone by Team Sky and was not aware of other riders in the British outfit taking it.

His former team mate and fellow Briton Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour in 2012, was legally given triamcinolone shortly before the 2011 and 2012 Tours and the 2013 Giro d'Italia to treat pollen allergies that aggravated asthma.

F1-Red Bull take top two spots in Azerbaijan practice

BAKU Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished first and second in the first practice ahead of Sunday's Azerbaijan, in a scorching session that was halted with a red flag after Sergio Perez of Force India crashed into the barriers.

Verstappen, using Supersoft tyres, was the session's fastest with a time of 1:44.410, with teammate Ricciardo – who collided with Perez during practice in 2016 – four tenths behind.

Joseph urges Japan to create opportunities against Ireland

Japan will need to create more opportunities and show the hunger to win when they face Ireland in the second test on Saturday, coach Jamie Joseph said.

Joseph has made eight changes to the starting 15 ahead of Saturday's clash at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium as the Brave Blossoms seek to restore some pride after a disappointing 50-22 loss in the first test last week.

"We created enough opportunities but didn't have enough ticker and hunger to put the Irish under pressure," Joseph was quoted saying by Japan's Kyodo News on Friday.

Paris turns into Olympic park as part of push to host 2024 Games

PARIS A diver plunged into the Seine while the mayor of Paris took to the river in a kayak, as the French capital transformed itself on Friday into a giant Olympic park as part of its final push to win the rights to host the 2024 Games.

Paris and U.S. rival Los Angeles are the only two cities bidding to stage the 2024 Olympics, and the French capital is running a series of events over the weekend to promote its credentials.

Canoes and kayaks filled the Seine just outside Notre Dame cathedral, while the diver jumped into the river from one of the city's bridges.

Arsenal, Chelsea clash to raise funds for London tower fire victims

Proceeds from a clash between London soccer giants Arsenal and Chelsea will go to support people caught up in the Grenfell Tower fire, the Football Association said on Friday.

Officials said they were hoping to raise "in the region of 1.25 million pounds" when FA Cup winners Arsenal take on Premier League champions Chelsea for the 2017 Community Shield at the Wembley Stadium on Aug. 6.

At least 79 died after fire broke out in the 24-storey social housing block in Kensington, West London last week.