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Around & About / News and notes

Djokovic feels blue in Madrid

Novak Djokovic joined Rafael Nadal in declaring he won't play again on the new blue clay court at the Madrid Open after losing to Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6 (2), 6-3, Friday in an all-Serb quarterfinal.

Tipsarevic won for the second time in five matches against Djokovic, who last lost at this stage in November at the Paris Masters.

"I want to forget this week as soon as possible and move on to the real clay courts," the top-ranked Djokovic said. "Here you can't predict the ball bounce or movement. They can do whatever they want, but I won't be here next year if this clay stays."

On the women's side, Serena Williams eased past Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-3, to advance to the semifinals. Also making the semis was top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, who rallied past French Open winner Li Na, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.


Olympians both lose

Michael Phelps easily beat Ryan Lochte in their last race before the U.S. Olympic trials.

Don't read too much into the results.

Heck, Phelps didn't win either.

Ricky Berens beat them both to the wall in the 200-meter freestyle at the Charlotte Grand Prix on Friday night, touching in a relatively slow time of 1 minute, 47.32 seconds. Phelps finished second in 1:48.01, while Lochte was far back in sixth place at 1:49.70.

'We're all doing different training," Phelps said. "That's how (Lochte) has always done it. I'm sure that's what he's going to do this year. He's somebody who's a very tough racer and, at the right time, he'll be there when it counts."

Lochte, in fact, put himself at a disadvantage before the race even started by going with a brief instead of a jammer suit like the one worn by Phelps. Also, the Floridian is swimming a much more extensive program in Charlotte than his top rival, who has only one more event, the 200 butterfly, before he heads to the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit in Dallas.


Pitt wants out now

The University of Pittsburgh is going to court in hopes of expediting its exit from the Big East.

The school filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County on Friday claiming the Big East has waived its right to enforce a 27-month withdrawal notice and the Panthers should be allowed to move to the ACC without further penalty by the 2013-14 conference year.

Pitt and Syracuse announced last September they were jumping to the ACC. Pitt paid half of its $5 million exit fee at the time of the announcement and agreed to remain in the conference until July 1, 2014.

The stunning move set off a chain reaction that included West Virginia and TCU -- which had agreed to join the Big East in 2012 -- leaving for the Big 12 instead and the Big East extending membership offers to Boise State and San Diego State among others.

Pitt argues since the Big East allowed West Virginia and TCU to exit the conference immediately that Pitt is no longer required to abide by the 27-month waiting period.

The school and the Big East appeared to be making inroads for a resolution earlier this year, with then-commissioner John Marinatto hinting the conference was open to letting Pitt leave a year early.

From News Staff and wire service reports