Armstrong using forums in cancer fight

AUSTIN, Texas -- Already one of the most famous sports figures on the planet, Lance Armstrong now has his sites set on becoming a political tour de force.

The seven-time winner of the Tour de France, who inspired millions with his recovery from testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain, is using his celebrity and forceful personality to push policy makers to address cancer issues.

He's already thrown the "Livestrong Army" -- the legion of fans and cancer survivors who support his Lance Armstrong Foundation -- behind a $3 billion research initiative in Texas. He tackles presidential politics Aug. 27-28 with televised forums with Democrat and Republican candidates in Iowa.

"This is a damn war for me. It's nothing other than that," Armstrong told The Associated Press. "I had the disease and I hate it and I hate that we haven't made enough progress against it."

The goal of the televised forums is to get the candidates talking about battling a disease that kills more than 550,000 Americans every year. The forums will be co-hosted by MSNBC's Chris Matthews and broadcast live on the cable network.

• TENNIS -- In Mason, Ohio, Roger Federer survived a scare from Marcos Baghdatis to move into the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, which has been brutal to seeded players this week.

Federer beat Baghdatis 7-6 (5), 7-5, shortly after David Ferrer ousted defending champion Andy Roddick 7-6 (4), 6-4. Only four seeds remained, including James Blake, who had an evening match.

• In Toronto, top-seeded Justine Henin advanced to the quarterfinals at the Rogers Cup with a 7-5, 6-2 win Thursday against Shuai Peng of China.

The top-ranked Henin improved to 40-4 on the season.