Djokovic grinds down Federer

LONDON — Novak Djokovic ground down Roger Federer 6-4 6-7(2) 6-2 in his opening match at the ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday to preserve his slim hopes of ending the year on top of the rankings.

Serbian Djokovic, who beat Federer in last year’s final, must win at least two of his Group B matches to have any chance of toppling Rafael Nadal who opened his Group A challenge with an easy victory over David Ferrer earlier in the day.

World number seven Federer, bidding for a seventh title at the year-ender, fired a forehand wide to give Djokovic the opening set after 37 minutes of an eagerly-awaited contest in front of a sell-out crowd at the 02 Arena.

The 17-times grand-slam champion produced some vintage play in the second set but squandered a set point at 5-4 as the crowd willed the 32-year-old to go the distance.

They got their wish as Federer dominated the tiebreak against an opponent looking weary under the lights.

Arnott announces retirement after 18 NHL seasons

Longtime power forward Jason Arnott, who scored 938 points in his career, officially retired on Tuesday after 18 NHL seasons.

Arnott, 39, had 417 goals and 938 points in 1,244 games with the Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues. He last played in the NHL with the Blues in 2011-12.

Arnott will be best remembered for his Stanley Cup-winning goal for the New Jersey Devils in 2000.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped me throughout my NHL career, including my family, friends, teammates and fans,” Arnott said a press release.

Rockets’ Howard still hearing the boos in LA return

LOS ANGELES — Dwight Howard may have left Los Angeles to join the Houston Rockets, but the big man still cannot escape his turbulent Lakers chapter.

A jilted fan base still ruing his California departure and questioning his motives for leaving greeted him on Monday as the Rockets faced the Los Angeles Clippers in Staples Center, where the Lakers also play their home games.

The Clippers battered the Rockets 137-118 and Howard bore the brunt of the blows in his first visit to the arena since he walked away from the Lakers as a free agent in the off-season.

The passionate crowd booed Howard from pregame warmups until the final buzzer, leaving the big man to wonder whether he had just played in front of “undercover Lakers fans.”

He once again defended his decision to become a Rocket.

“Houston is a great place, this is a great team. I’m happy with where I’m at,” Howard told reporters following the defeat. “Everybody should move forward. This is my life. I can’t control what other people do with their lives.”

Cowboys DE Ware to return Sunday

Defensive end DeMarcus Ware is ready to return from a quadriceps injury, just in time for the Dallas Cowboys’ game Sunday night at New Orleans.

“I think he’s ready,” owner Jerry Jones said in his weekly radio appearance Tuesday.

Ware has missed the past three games as opposing quarterbacks pile up record numbers against the Cowboys’ lackluster defense. Quarterbacks are averaging 305.2 passing yards per game, completing 63.5 percent of their passes with 16 touchdowns.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees had a 104.5 passer rating with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight games this season. At Dallas in 2012, Brees had four touchdown passes and 396 yards on 37-of-53 passing.