Hewitt, Clijsters again winners in Paris
PARIS, May 29 (UPI) -- Lleyton Hewitt, the men's top seed, Thursday advanced to the third round of the French Open with a tougher-than-expected win over Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.
The scores were 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
Hewitt needed 3 1/2 hours to dispatch Davydenko after being on the court for more than three hours in a four-set victory.
"It was a tough match, but then, I expected a tough match going in," Hewitt said. "He's a grinder, and he's going to run a lot of balls down. He hits the ball very sweet from the back of the court, so I knew I was going to have to hit a lot of balls."
Davydenko, a claycourt specialist who is ranked 33rd in the world, won in Estoril earlier this year, and was a finalist recently in Sankt Polten. He turned out to be a handful for Hewitt, who never has won the French title, but has reached the fourth round each of the last four years.
Elsewhere, defending champion Albert Costa of Spain, the No. 9 seed, survived his second straight five-set match, reaching the third round with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.
United States fortunes continued to sag as James Blake and Todd Martin were ousted on the tounament's fourth day, leaving No. 2 Andre Agassi and Vince Spadea as the only Americans left in the men's draw.
Also in men's play, No. 3 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain faced a potentially difficult match against Nicolas Massu of Chile, but advanced when Massu retired in the second set with an ankle injury. At the time, Ferrero was leading, 6-2, 3-0.
No. 8 David Nalbandian of Argentina was upset by Nicolas Coutelot of France, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 2-6, 6-1.
Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, the No. 15 seed, barely broke a sweat in a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 romp over Hicham Arazi of Morocco. Kuerten, who won at Roland Garros in 1997, 2000, and 2001, improved to 6-0 lifetime against Arazi.
On the women's side, second-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium had another easy match, routing Marlene Weingartner of Germany, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round, and No. 3 Venus Williams reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Evie Dominikovic of Australia.
They were joined by No. 6 Lindsay Davenport and No. 7 Jennifer Capriati, the 2001 French Open champion, who is seeking a fourth Grand Slam tile. She overcame a partisan crowd to dispatch Marion Bartoli of France, 6-3, 6-0.
Tina Pisnik of Slovenia pulled off the day's biggest upset in the women's draw, ousting No. 10 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Spurs try again to close out Dallas
DALLAS, May 29 (UPI) -- The Dallas-San Antonio series goes to an unexpected Game Six Thursday night in the NBA's Western Conference Finals.
The Mavericks extended the series with an improbable 103-91 win at San Antonio Tuesday night without sharpshooter Dirk Nowitzki, who is hobbling with a sprained left knee.
He is likely out for Game Six as well, but his teammates proved Tuesday that they can win without him.
The Spurs could have clinched a spot opposite New Jersey in the NBA Finals, but squandered a 19-point second quarter lead and scored only 10 points in the fourth quarter. They now will have to beat the Mavericks in Dallas to avoid a Game Seven.
That is familiar territory for Dallas, who beat the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings in decisive Game Sevens in their previous series.
"Maybe that's the way this is destined to go as well," said Dallas point guard Steve Nash. "We have some experience in Game Sevens, and we'd love to go back to San Antonio and play in another one."
The Mavericks rallied the 19-point deficit without Nowitzki, their leading scorer and rebounder, who played the role of cheerleader on the bench. They outscored the Spurs, 29-10, in the fourth quarter.
On the other hand, blowing big leads has been commonplace for the Spurs, who squandered double-digit advantages in five of their six postseason losses. They let an 18-point lead slip away in Game One of this series before winning the next three.
"We get a lead and then we don't play smart," said Spurs center David Robinson. "We haven't played 48 solid minutes yet in this series and it cost us twice."
Dallas has won five postseason games when facing a double-digit deficit. The possible return of Nowitzki would provide a major boost. He has missed the last two games.
"I'll put up some shots before the game and see how it feels," Nowitzki said. "If it feels OK, I'll play. If it doesn't, I won't."
When Nowitzki suffered the injury in Game Three, the Mavericks announced he would be sidelined 10-to-14 days.
Only seven of 149 teams have rallied from 3-1 deficits in the playoffs, although the Detroit Pistons did it in the first round this year against Orlando.
Michael Finley triggered the Tuesday, scoring 15 of his 31 points in the third quarter. He also had eight rebounds and five steals, and set a rare defensive tone for the Mavericks, who used a mixture of zones and switching man-to-man schemes to smother Tim Duncan.
He collected 23 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists, but got no help as the Spurs unraveled down the stretch.
"A lot of the guys were really frustrated Tuesday night," Spurs forward Malik Rose told the San Antonio Express-News. "And, usually, when those are the guys who get frustrated we tend to win. We're looking forward to coming back with a win."
The Nets will have had 10 days off by the time the Finals get under way next Wednesday in either San Antonio or Dallas.
New Jersey will be making its second straight trip to the NBA Finals after sweeping Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals. They have won 10 straight playoff games.
Team USA rounds out hoops squad
Jefferson is a forward with the New Jersey Nets, who are about to compete for the NBA title for the second time in as many seasons.
"This is my proudest moment as a basketball player," said Jefferson.
Representing his country should be a better experience for Brand this time. The star forward of the Los Angeles Clippers was a member of the U.S. team that sullied the country's reputation with a sixth-place finish in the World Basketball Championships at Puerto Rico last summer.
"I personally have extra motivation to play well, considering I was part of the World Championship team last year that lost, and since I was injured for part of the tournament," Brand said.
Duncan, McGrady, Jason Kidd, and Ray Allen were the first four players selected, and Karl Malone and Mike Bibby were the second additions to the U.S. team, which must qualify for the 2004 Olympics by finishing among the top three in the Tournament of the Americas in August.
The selections of Bryant, Iverson, and Jermaine O'Neal last month completed the nine "core group" players on the team. Jefferson, Brand, and Collison were chosen as "role" players by the USA Basketball Senior National Team Committee.
Larry Brown, who resigned as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this week, was named as Team USA Coach in November.
"It's neat having three young players who are good kids who can contribute to our team," Brown said. "Elton and Richard are two of the league's finest young players, and it's wonderful to reward Nick for staying in college four years and being so active with USA Basketball."
In his four years at Kansas, Collison led the Jayhawks to a 113-29 record, back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2001 and '02, and two Big 12 regular season titles. He compiled 2,097 points to rank second on the Jayhawks' all-time scoring list, and is the school's third-leading rebounder (1,143).
"It is a great honor for me as a college kid to have the chance to play and practice with many of the best players in the NBA," Collison said. "It's a great opportunity, and I'm excited to be able to represent the United States."
Collison was an alternate and the only college player involved with the 2002 world championship team.
The backcourt will be stacked with Kidd and Bibby at point guard, and Bryant, Iverson, and Allen as shooting guards. The 6-9 McGrady likely will be a small forward.
The 6-7 Jefferson will back up at small forward. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field for the Nets this season.
Malone will be at power forward, with Duncan and O'Neal likely rotating between center and power forward. The 6-8 Brand will back up at power forward, and the 6-9 Collison will serve as a reserve center.
Brand finished the 2002-03 season first in the league in offensive rebounds with 4.6 per game, and fourth in blocked shots with 2.55 per game. He had 44 double-doubles despite missing 20 games because of injuries, and averaged 18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest.
"Elton provides us with an offensive low post scorer and a solid defensive presence in the frontcourt," said National Team Committee Chairman Stu Jackson. "The committee's selections completes the roster for one of the most talented and exciting teams USA Basketball has ever assembled."
Team USA will participate in the 2003 Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will be held Aug. 20-31 in Puerto Rico.
Ducks look to break through against Devils
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 29 (UPI) -- The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hope the rust is gone when they battle New Jersey Thursday night in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Playing for the first time in 11 days, the Mighty Ducks looked lethargic in a 3-0 loss in the series opener Tuesday night.
Many wondered how the Ducks would respond coming off the longest pre-Stanley Cup Finals layoff in 37 years.
The answer was clear.
Anaheim managed just 16 shots while yielding a handful of odd-man rushes.
"I don't want to take anything away from New Jersey because they were good, but we weren't very good," said Anaheim Coach Mike Babcock.
The Ducks are in unfamiliar territory in more ways than one.
In addition to being in the Finals for the first time, they have dropped the opener on the road for the first time this postseason.
Without home-ice advantage in any of its series, Anaheim won Games One and Two in each of its first three series.
Being in the Stanley Cup Finals is nothing new to the Devils, who are making their fourth trip to the championship round since 1995. They won it all in 1995 and 2000, and lost to Colorado in 2001.
In Game One, former Duck Jeff Friesen scored twice and Martin Brodeur recorded his 18th career playoff shutout.
Perhaps with some extra incentive against his old team, Friesen solved star Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the all-important first goal. The Devils are 9-0 this postseason when scoring first.
"I know we played the game we wanted to play (Tuesday)," said New Jersey Coach Pat Burns. "Now it's going to be who's going to react to what."
The Devils have never lost a series after taking a two games to none lead.
New Jersey again will be without center Joe Nieuwendyk, who is sidelined with a hip injury.
"The hardest part is the frustration," Nieuwendyk said. "It makes for long days when you know you can't play, but I'm still very much optimistic that I can get back in the series."
The series shifts to Anaheim for Game Three on Saturday night.
Orioles activate Surhoff
BALTIMORE, May 29 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Orioles have activated outfielder B.J. Surhoff, one of their most popular players, off the 15-day disabled list.
He has been placed on the DL on May 4 after straining his right hamstring running the base in a game the day before. The Baltimore Sun reported that the knee began bothering him during drills to test the hamstring.
"B.J. probably won't play much right away," Hargrove told the paper.
Surhoff hit safely in 12 of the last 16 games before the hamstring injury, batting .333 in that span.
"Anytime you can get a veteran back with the track record that B.J. has, it only strengthens what you're trying to do," Hargrove said. "As long as we're doing what we're doing, I'm not going to mess with that. I think B.J. understands that. We'll try to ease him back in, but right now, we're not going to monkey with what we're doing."
Recently, the Orioles have been on a hitting tear.
They have had at least 10 hits in nine straight games, versatile utilityman Melvin Mora, who now has a 10-game hitting streak, leads the American League in batting at .359, and the team batting average sits at
To make room on their roster, the Orioles sent outfielder Jack Cust back to Triple-A Ottawa of the Pacific Coast League.
Cust had been with the team for only five days, and did not appear in a game. He was recalled after Gary Matthews Jr., was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres.
Edmonds out with rib injury
ST. LOUIS, May 29 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Cardinals expect to be without veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds for at least the next few games because of a rib injury.
He was hurt in the Cardinals' 3-1 win over Houston Wednesday night when he made a diving catch of a fly ball by Brad Ausmus in the second inning.
Edmonds led off the bottom of the inning, and took a single swing, fouling off a pitch, before leaving the game. He said that swinging did not aggravate the injury.
"It's serious," said Cardinals trainer Barry Weinberg of the injury. "We'll just see how serious it is over the weekend."
Edmonds suffered severely bruised ribs on his right side, as well as a costochondral separation, an injury to the area where cartilage attaches ribs to the breastbone.
Edmonds, who missed three weeks in spring training camp because of a strained left calf, was surprised at the extent of the injury.
"Usually when you dive in the outfield, you slide a little bit in the grass," he told MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball. "I just stuck. It felt like everything was stretched."
Edmonds, who will be re-examined over the weekend, is the third Cardinal player to be sidelined this month.
They also have lost catcher/outfielder Eli Marrero because of a severe ankle sprain, and second baseman Fernando Vina has a torn right hamstring.
Diamondbacks put Webb on DL
PHOENIX, May 29 (UPI) -- Righthander Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with what the team says is a mild case of tendonitis in his right elbow.
Webb cannot be activated before June 12.
He was scratched from a scheduled start Wednesday night against San Francisco. He felt pain while playing catch for just seven minutes on the sidelines.
A team spokesman told MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, that Webb threw at about 80 to 85 percent velocity, and was scheduled for another side session Friday before going on the DL.
"I think it's the ulnar nerve that's inflamed," Webb said. "The elbow's not an area to mess with. It's one of the worst places (to have an injury), and I've never had any elbow problems prior to that."
The 6-3, 190-pounder has made seven appearances for the Diamondbacks this season, six of them starts. He is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA, and has held opposing batters to a .211 average.
"This is a young man who figures heavily into our plans, not only this year but in the future," said Arizona Manager Bob Brenly. "And we don't want to do anything to endanger him or cause him to feel he has to pitch if there's any doubt in his own mind about his arm."
Webb was placed on the disabled list to make room for pitcher John Patterson, who started Wednesday's game, and got shelled six runs and seven hits in six innings.
Giants activate Benard
SAN FRANCISCO, May 29 (UPI) -- Outfielder Marvin Benard of San Francisco was activated shortly before the Giants' 10-2 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Benard underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee May 14. He had been placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 9 with knee inflammation.
Manager Felipe Alou indicated there was a need for Benard's return.
"We need him as a lefty off the bench," Alou said. "I'll take it easy with him, mainly using him as a pinch-hitter until he gets his strength back."
Benard, 33, was hitting only .081 with one RBI when he was put on the DL, and was hitless in his last 18 at-bats, but had a single in a pinch-hitter's role against the Diamondbacks.
He has been with the Giants since 1996, and has a career .272 batting average. He missed most of last season following surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.
To make room on their 25-man roster, the Giants designated relief pitcher Manny Aybar for assignment.
Elbow surgery for Moehler
HOUSTON, May 29 (UPI) -- Veteran righthander Brian Moehler of the Houston Astros is scheduled for elbow surgery Thursday.
He already has been listed as out for the season because of a partial MCL tear in his right elbow. He had been placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 17 with what was described as tendonitis.
An MRI revealed the tear and led to the decision for have the "Tommy John" surgery.
"Tommy John surgery would not only finish his season this year, but next year as well," Houston General Manager Gerry Hunsicker said last week. "That's a long haul."
Moehler had no decisions this season, and had a 7.90 ERA in three starts for the Astros. He left a recent rehab start for Triple-A New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League after just two innings.
Moehler, 31, has a career record of 50-56. In his eight-year career with Detroit, Cincinnati, and the Astros, he has pitched 866 innings, has an ERA of 4.57, and 469 strikeouts.
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