News Summaries from The Sports Network - Saturday, April 18

Predators' Weber to miss next two playoff games

Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Predators defenseman Shea Weber will not travel to Chicago for the next two games of his team's Western Conference quarterfinal series due to a lower-body injury.

Weber, who had one assist in Friday's 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks, left in the second period after getting hit by Chicago's Brandon Saad behind the net.

The Nashville captain tallied 15 goals and 45 points and averaged 26:22 of ice time during the regular season.

Forward Mike Fisher missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Blackhawks tab Darling to start Game 3

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Rookie Scott Darling will start in net for the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal matchup with the Nashville Predators.

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville noted that the decision for a switch in between the pipes was performance-based after starter Corey Crawford allowed six goals on 35 shots in Game 2 on Friday.

Darling, who relieved Crawford in the series opener, turned aside all 42 shots fired his way in 67:44 for an eventual double-overtime victory. It was the longest relief appearance in a playoff game without allowing a goal in NHL history.

The 26-year-old netminder was 9-4-0 with a .936 save percentage, a 1.94 goals- against average and one shutout over 14 appearances during the regular season.

Flames head coach Hartley fined $50K

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley was fined $50,000 by the NHL for the post-whistle melee that occurred late in Game 2 of Friday's Western Conference quarterfinal game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The fine was issued for conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the league, according to NHL by-law 17.3 (a).

The two teams totaled well over 100 penalty minutes Friday, with five players earning game misconducts due to a scrum with 1:17 to play.

Hartley was fined $25,000 for a similar incident during the 2013-14 season.

The league also announced that the game misconduct handed to Calgary defenseman Deryk Engelland for instigating a fight during the game's final five minutes has been rescinded.

Royals send closer Holland to DL

Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals have placed All- Star closer Greg Holland on the 15-day disabled list due to a right pectoral strain.

Holland, the anchor of a Kansas City bullpen that carried the Royals to a surprise World Series appearance last season, did pitch in Friday's 6-4 win over Oakland. The standout right-hander needed just 10 pitches to throw a scoreless ninth inning and earn his fourth save in as many chances on the young season.

The 29-year-old had gotten his 2015 campaign off to a tremendous beginning, having yielded just one walk over four one-inning relief stints.

Either Wade Davis or Kelvin Herrera will assume closer duties during Holland's absence, while the Royals recalled right-hander Yohan Pino from Triple-A Omaha to fill the available roster spot.

Pino started 11 games as a 30-year-old rookie with Minnesota last season, going 2-5 with a 5.07 earned run average.

Peavy put on DL with back strain

San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jake Peavy's lingering back issues forced the struggling San Francisco Giants to place the veteran pitcher on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.

The move comes less than 24 hours after Peavy lasted just 3 2/3 innings in the Giants' eighth straight loss, a 9-0 setback to Arizona in which the right- hander was tagged for four runs on eight hits.

Peavy had his season debut pushed back to last Sunday due to discomfort in his back. He pitched just four innings in that outing and also received the loss after surrendering four runs against San Diego.

The Giants re-signed the 33-year-old former NL Cy Young Award winner to a two- year, $24 million contract in December. Peavy earned the deal by going 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA over 12 regular-season starts after being acquired by San Francisco from Boston in late July.

Catcher Andrew Susac was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento to take the available roster spot.

One of the team's top prospects, Susac hit .273 with three home runs and 19 RBI in a 35-game audition for the Giants late last season.

Djokovic beats Nadal to reach Monte Carlo final

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat third-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the Monte Carlo Masters final.

Djokovic had his serve broken in the opening game of his semifinal match at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club, but got the break back to level the first set at 2-all. After fighting off a break point in the seventh game, Djokovic broke to go up 5-3.

The world No. 1 Djokovic broke Nadal's serve two more times in the second set to reach his fourth final at this clay-court Masters 1000 tournament. He ended Nadal's reign in Monte Carlo with a victory over the Spaniard in the 2013 final.

Djokovic is bidding to win a third Masters title in a row this year following triumphs in Indian Wells and Miami.

Nadal won eight consecutive titles and 46 straight matches at the Country Club prior to his loss to Djokovic two years ago.

Saturday's match marked their 43rd career meeting and first since Nadal beat Djokovic in last year's French Open final.

In the other semifinal, sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych defeated 14th-seeded Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-4. Berdych has yet to drop a set this week.

Kvitova, Czechs take 2-0 lead in Fed Cup semifinal

Ostrava, Czech Republic (SportsNetwork.com) - Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova won the opening singles matches to give the reigning Fed Cup champion and host Czech Republic a 2-0 lead over France in their semifinal on Saturday.

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4 after Safarova fought off five match points to escape with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 victory over Caroline Garcia.

The Czechs topped the Germans in last year's final to capture their third title in the last four years.

Kvitova can secure a spot in another final for her country on Sunday in the first reverse singles match against Garcia.

The winner in Ostrava will face the Germany-Russia victor in the World Group final in November.

Serena wins, but Italy draws even in Fed Cup playoff

Brindisi, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - World No. 1 superstar Serena Williams beat Camila Giorgi 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the opening singles match Saturday before Italy came back to draw even with the United States in their Fed Cup playoff.

Former French Open finalist Sara Errani posted a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Lauren Davis to level the best-of-five series on red clay.

Williams improved to 12-0 in her career Fed Cup singles matches. She will face Errani in the first reverse singles match on Sunday, with Davis and Giorgi scheduled to meet in the second match.

A doubles match that could decide the winner is slated to feature an American tandem of Christina McHale and Alison Riske against the Italian duo of Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp.

The winner returns to the World Group next year, while the loser will drop down to World Group II.

Russians grab 2-0 lead in Fed Cup SF

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova gave the Russians a 2-0 lead over Germany in their Fed Cup semifinal on Saturday.

Kuznetsova defeated Julia Goerges 6-4, 6-4 in the first singles match and Pavlyuchenkova rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over Sabine Lisicki.

Kuznetsova became Russia's most successful Fed Cup player with her 27th win.

The hosts are one win away from the final against defending champion Czech Republic or France.

Germany lost in last year's final.

Top seed Svitolina upset in Bogota SFs

Bogota, Colombia (SportsNetwork.com) - Teliana Pereira upset top-seeded Elina Svitolina 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Claro Open.

The 130th-ranked Pereira reached the first WTA final of her career. She will look to become the first Brazilian to capture a singles title since Neige Dias won at Barcelona in 1988.

Fifth-seeded Yaroslava Shvedova outlasted former champion Mariana Duque-Marino 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal.

Shvedova will be bidding for her second career title. Her first came way back in 2007 at Bangalore.

Duque-Marino, who won this tournament in 2010, had to finish a quarterfinal match that was suspended due to darkness on Friday. She beat Julia Glushko 7-5, 6-3 to advance.

Merritt maintains lead at Heritage

Hilton Head Island, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Troy Merritt had just one blemish on his scorecard on Saturday as he carded a 2-under 69 to take a 3- shot lead into the final day of the Heritage.

Merritt, who entered the day with a 4-stroke lead thanks to a course-record 61 on Friday, finished 54 holes at 14-under-par 199. Merritt is seeking his first career victory on the PGA Tour.

"Saturday is a lot different than Sunday," Merritt said when asked how Saturday prepared him for the final round. "Tomorrow will be the first day that I have the solo lead on Sunday so it will be all new to me. But I'm looking forward to it."

Defending champion Matt Kuchar remains within striking distance following his 3-under 68 at Harbour Town Golf Links. He is tied for second with Brendon Todd (63) and Kevin Kisner (67) at 11-under 202.

Brice Garnett (65), Branden Grace (66) and Jim Furyk (68) are one shot further back and tied for fifth at minus-10.

Masters champion Jordan Spieth followed up his 62 on Friday with third-round 68, putting him in a tie for eighth with Bo Van Pelt (67) at 9-under.

Merritt picked up right where he left off on Friday as he rattled off back-to- back birdies on two and three from 17 and six feet, respectively. That quickly got the 29-year-old into red figures and allowed him to keep a stronghold on his lead.

After making four straight pars from No. 4, Merritt ran into trouble for the first time on the day at the par-4 eighth.

Merritt pulled his second shot into the water on the left. Following a drop, his chip came up well short of the green. Merritt then chipped onto the green and sank his putt for a double-bogey. Just like that his lead was down to one.

"I think I just tugged a 6-iron, something that hasn't happened in a while and watched it sail into the water and make a spectacular splash," said Merritt. "But I was able to roll that 5-, 6-footer in to keep the momentum going."

That did not throw Merritt off his game, however, as he stuck his next approach on nine to six feet and knocked that in for birdie to go back up by two.

On the back nine, Merritt wrapped eight pars around a 4-foot birdie on the par-3 14th, which gave him a 3-shot lead. That advantage held up at the end of the day.

Kuchar also got off to a good start with birdies of six and three feet on two and five. His approach at the par-3 seventh looked good, but it caught a branch and bounced to the left of the green. A bad chip and an eventual 2-putt led to a double-bogey for Kuchar, dropping him back to even for the day.

The 36-year-old drained a 13-foot birdie putt on eight and made it back-to- back gains with a 7-footer at nine. Kuchar then traded a bogey on 10 for a birdie on 11 and he finished up with six pars and a birdie at 15.

"I thought I was going out, playing some nice golf. I was trying to be aggressive and I played some really good golf," Kuchar said. "Just had that little bad break on the seventh hole. I hit a beautiful shot in, it caught a limb and ended up costing me a double-bogey, which was too bad. Other than that, I was pleased."

Todd, who teed off well before the leaders, made his way up the leaderboard early with five birdies on the front nine. It was more of the same on the back nine as Todd rolled in three more gains to complete his bogey-free day.

Due to Merritt's double-bogey on No. 8, Todd was within one shot at one point before the leader took control once again.

Kisner was also bogey-free with two birdies on both the front and back nine.

NOTES: Saturday was the first time Merritt ever played with a solo lead on the PGA Tour ... Merritt has never held the 54-hole lead on tour ... Merritt is looking to become the 11th different player to make this event their first career win ... Kuchar is looking to join Davis Love III (1992-93) and Boo Weekley (2007-08) as the only players to win this event back-to-back years ... Due to impending bad weather, Sunday's tee times were moved up and will run from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. ET. Players will go off of split tees and in threesomes.

Aphibarnrat moves 2 clear of Uihlein in China

Shenzhen, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Kiradech Aphibarnrat dropped three strokes in the final two holes on Saturday, but it was his scorching front nine that helped him take a 2-shot lead after three rounds at the inaugural Shenzhen International.

Aphibarnrat, who will go for his second European Tour title on Sunday, carded a 4-under 68 to end 54 holes at 12-under-par 204 at Genzon Golf Club.

Second-round leader Peter Uihlein posted an up-and-down, 1-under 71. He dipped into second place at minus-10. Pablo Larrazabal matched the low round of the day with his 7-under 65. The Spaniard flew into third place at 9-under 207.

Matt Ford and Emiliano Grillo both shot 2-under 70 in round three. They are tied for fourth at minus-8 with Scott Hend (68) and Tommy Fleetwood (69).

Former PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang (66) headlines a group of five players tied for eighth place at 7-under-par 209.

Two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson stumbled to his second straight 74, which dropped him into a tie for 58th at 2-over-par 218.

Aphibarnrat and Uihlein played together in the third round. The pair both opened with birdies at the first. Aphibarnrat followed with a birdie at the second, while Uihlein tripped to a bogey.

The 2-shot swing gave Aphibarnrat a 1-stroke lead, and he pushed his advantage to two with his third straight birdie at the third. He wrapped bogeys at the fifth and seventh around a birdie on No. 6.

Aphibarnrat caught fire starting with a birdie at the eighth. He followed with birdies on each of the next three holes. He carded his final birdie at the 13th to move to minus-15.

The 25-year-old Thai was four clear at that point and he ran off three pars in a row from the 14th. Trouble loomed, however, as Aphibarnrat stumbled to a double-bogey at the par-5 17th. He dropped another shot at the last to end two ahead of Uihlein.

"I've been striking the ball so well in the first three rounds. It's a good way to start. First, I made three straight birdies to jump up at the top. I was still hitting the ball great on the back. Then, I made a big mistake on last two holes, not the way to finish," Aphibarnrat stated.

"I lost the focus on the short putt on 17. That is the big turn, the big key for me after Peter made birdie, and we swung three shots on that. That's a big move. But I made a mistake and I lost some concentration."

Uihlein followed his bogey at the second with six consecutive pars. He birdied the par-5 ninth for the third straight day en route to making the turn at minus-10.

The 2010 U.S. Amateur winner tripped to a bogey at the 10th, but came right back with a birdie on No. 11. He birdied the 13th to stay within four, but bogeys at 14 and 15 dropped Uihlein six behind.

As Aphibarnrat made a mess of the 17th, Uihlein made birdie there for the third consecutive day. He parred the last to end two back.

"I just made too many sloppy bogeys. Four bogeys, a bit rough, five birdies and missed a couple pretty easy ones," admitted Uihlein.

NOTES: Aphibarnrat was the 54-hole leader at the Malaysian Open in 2010 and again in 2013, and he went 1-1 with those two leads ... Aphibarnrat has done all of his damage on the front nine this week as he has played the back nine in even-par with five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey ... Uihlein is also looking for his second European Tour title.

Hamilton on pole for Bahrain GP

Sakhir, Bahrain (SportsNetwork.com) - Defending Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth pole position in as many races this season after beating Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg in Saturday's qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton posted a lap time of 1 minute, 32.571 seconds during the final round of qualifying for his 42nd career F1 pole, including his first in the Bahrain GP. The Mercedes driver finished 0.411 seconds ahead of Vettel from Ferrari and 0.558 seconds in front of Rosberg, who is Hamilton's teammate.

In Saturday's final practice session, held just prior to qualifying, Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg placed 1-3, respectively.

"I feel very happy," Hamilton said after he captured his fourth pole in a row this season. "Obviously coming into the weekend that was the target to really kind of master this track and get the car into an area that I'm really comfortable with. That's generally how this weekend has gone."

Hamilton won last year's Bahrain GP after starting second. The first night race here in 2014 was a hard-fought battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, who started on the pole. Rosberg finished one second behind in the runner-up spot.

Rosberg also started on the pole in Bahrain two years ago. He will line up third on the grid in Sunday's 57-lap race here.

"Strategy-wise today, I got it wrong because I was thinking too much about the race," Rosberg said. "I under-estimated Sebastian's speed. I took it easy in (the second round of qualifying) on the race set of tires that we start the race with. I just lacked the rhythm as a result."

Hamilton won last month's season-opener in Australia and this past weekend's race in China. He currently holds a 13-point lead over Vettel, who won in Malaysia, and a 17-point advantage over Rosberg.

"I'm very happy with second today," Vettel said after qualifying. "It was a tough session. In the beginning, I really didn't find the rhythm that I seemed to have in practice. But towards the end of the session, it was getting better. I was happy with the car."

Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari qualified fourth, followed by Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was seventh and Nico Hulkenberg from Force India eighth. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean from Lotus completed the top-10.

McLaren driver Jenson Button failed to set a time in the opening round of qualifying when he came to a stop on the track while attempting his first lap. It was the third time this weekend that Button experienced failure with his Honda-powered McLaren. His car suffered electrical problems in both of Friday's practice sessions. He will start the race from the rear of the field.

"I don't know what happened (in qualifying), but it was similar to what happened on Friday," Button said. "Everything just shut down in the car and there was a loud bang."

Button's teammate, Fernando Alonso, advanced into round two and ended up qualifying 14th.

Mathews defeats Luis for WBA lightweight title

Merseyside, United Kingdom (SportsNetwork.com) - Derry Mathews won a 12-round unanimous decision over Tony Luis on Saturday for the vacant WBA interim lightweight title.

Mathews (38-9-2) took two cards of 114-112 and one of 115-112 over Luis (19-3), who was a late substitute for Ismael Barroso.

04/18 18:55:09 ET

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