Roger Federer came up with a first in a career that has contained almost everything in tennis.
The two-time defending champion warmed up for his third consecutive Masters Cup final in Shanghai with a 6-0, 6-0 rout of Gaston Gaudio in yesterday's semifinals and will play for the title against David Nalbandian. This was Federer's first love-and-love victory and the first at the year-ending championships, which began in 1970.
"I think it's nice to have, but no more than that," he said.
The top-seeded Swiss star showed little emotion as he walked slowly to the net to shake hands with Gaudio, the 2004 French Open winner.
With his all-time best run of 24 consecutive victories in finals, Federer is a big favorite to beat Nalbandian, another Argentine, in the final. Nalbandian defeated fifth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko, 6-0, 7-5, in the other semifinal.
* GOLF: Annika Sorenstam survived gusty conditions to stay in the lead at the season-ending ADT Championship in West Palm Beach, Fla., but just barely.
Sorenstam played cautious on the final hole and settled for a bogey, giving her a 2-over 74 to end her streak of nine consecutive rounds at par or better at Trump International. The only good news was her one-shot lead over Marisa Baena and Liselotte Neumann as she tries to win for the 10th time this year. . . .
Just like last year, Tiger Woods is in front at the Dunlop Phoenix in Miyazaki, Japan -- with far less room for mistakes.
After trailing by a stroke in each of the first two rounds, Woods shot a 2-under-par 68 to take a one-stroke lead over Jim Furyk. Woods is at 10-under 200; Furyk shot a 70 for 201. David Duval, whose last victory came at this event in 2001, shot a 71 for 203.
* BASEBALL: Federal prosecutors want access to hundreds of players' urine samples seized in 2003 as part of the BALCO steroid scandal investigation. Authorities had a warrant for 10 samples, but ended up seizing hundreds of samples from three laboratories.
* SOCCER: Visiting Barcelona moved to the top of the Spanish league standings after putting on an irresistible display of attacking soccer to overwhelm archrival Real Madrid, 3-0.
Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring in the 15th minute after spinning clear of the defense, following a streaking run and pass from Lionel Messi. The 18-year-old Argentine forward was a constant handful for the Real defense until he was substituted.
Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho sealed the win with two sensational solo efforts in the 60th and 76th minutes. . . .
Chelsea bounced back from a slump and beat Newcastle 3-0 in the Premier League, moving nine points ahead of its rivals in the English title race.
Joe Cole and Hernan Crespo scored during a four-minute span for a comfortable lead early in the second half. Damien Duff added a third goal in the final minute for Chelsea, which was coming off a stretch of three losses in four games overall.
Second-place Wigan's six-game winning streak ended with a 3-2 loss at home to Arsenal, with Thierry Henry scoring two excellent goals to lift the Gunners to fourth place. Manchester United moved up to third with a 3-1 victory at Charlton behind Ruud van Nistelrooy's two goals.
* SWIMMING: Australian Libby Lenton broke the world short-course 200-meter freestyle record at a World Cup meet in Sydney. Lenton finished in 1 minute 53.29 seconds to break the previous mark held by American Lindsay Benko by 0.75 of a second.
* BOXING: Gary Russell Jr. of Capitol Heights lost his semifinal bout at the world amateur championships in Mianyang City, China. Russell, 17, of Suitland High School, earned a bronze medal after losing to Rustamhodza Rahimov of Germany, a bronze medalist in last year's Olympics, 28-17.
* RUNNING: Anne Lundblad, 39, from Asheville, N.C., ran 6 hours 29 minutes 42 seconds to shatter the women's record by more than 21 minutes at the 43rd JFK 50 Mile run in Boonsboro, Md.
Howard Nippert, 40, from Fork Union, Va., won the men's race in 5:51:28, the second fastest time ever at America's oldest ultramarathon. More than 930 runners finished, making JFK the largest ultra in U.S. history.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports