In Sports from United Press International

May 30, 2002 at 3:48 PM
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Agassi, Capriati move on at French

PARIS, May 30 (UPI) -- Defending champion Jennifer Capriati and former winner Andre Agassi did not need to show their best forms Thursday to advance to the third round at the French Open.

Capriati, the No. 1 seed, persevered against fellow American Amy Frazier, 6-4, 6-3, despite numerous errors. She held serve just four times, committed seven double faults, and made 46 unforced errors, but still managed to beat Frazier for the fourth time in as many meetings.

"My serve sometimes is not consistent," said the two-time reigning Australian Open champion after the 69-minute match. "Overall, I think it's been OK. Maybe it's just not getting a

lot of match practice time and I just kind of don't have a rhythm. I think it will get better."

Frazier won only one service game, also made seven double faults and had 58 unforced errors.

"It was making me a little bit mad that I couldn't hold my serve," Capriati said. "She's a great returner, so I think that's the strongest part. But it was just going back and forth in the first set. I don't know, maybe it was just the conditions. Maybe it was a little bit windy, a little bit cold, so it was hard to get a rhythm. In the second set, I was able to hold my serve a little bit more."

The 32-year-old Agassi rallied to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 lead against David Sanchez, before the Spaniard retired with a sprained right ankle.

"Three sets is three sets. It is not the full test, but I felt pretty good out there," Agassi said. "I felt in a better position than my opponent was, which is good. I felt I was getting better as the match went on. That's always a great sign for me."

Agassi became one of only five men's players to complete a career Grand Slam, winning at least one title at all four majors, with a triumph here in 1999, yet is still eager to add to his haul of seven.

"I think the same things motivate me, just for different reasons," said Agassi, who won his last warmup event in Rome. "It's still very challenging. It's always been challenging for

different reasons. Now every year it gets harder, so I'm motivated to push myself and I still have more to play. There's still more tennis in me and I feel like I can get better. Those elements are crucial in my determination to continue playing. I have to feel like I can be better and I still have to feel like there's a challenge in there for me."

No. 3 seed Tommy Haas of Germany, who lost to Agassi in the final at Rome three weeks ago, dispatched Feliciano Lopez of Spain, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to the third round for the third time. However, the 24-year-old German has yet to reach the fourth round in four previous appearances.

Xavier Malisse of Belgium upset sixth-seeded Tim Henman of Britain, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. It is the second time Malisse bounced Henman from a Grand Slam. He beat the Englishman in five sets last year at the U.S. Open.

"Tim hits a lot of first serves in, but they're not the fastest. I have a feeling I can always somehow get it back and make him volley," said Malisse, who is into the third round for the second time in a row. "After that, I think it's just 50-50. I like playing against Tim because when he serves I have a feeling I can break. From the back I felt pretty comfortable, especially on clay. On hard it's a different story."

Henman continued his futility at Roland Garros, where he has never advanced past the third round in seven years.

"He's a tough player and you have to give him credit for that," said Henman. "I felt like he dealt with a lot of my aspects well. From the baseline he's consistent and capable of producing a lot of big shots. Add to that, when he does come to net, he's very capable. So he's a very good player."

The women's seventh seed, Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia, rallied past Conchita Martinez of Spain, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, to duplicate her best French effort.

Former champion Mary Pierce of France dispatched No. 32 Cristina Torrens Valero of Spain, 6-3, 6-1. Pierce captured her second career Grand Slam crown here two years ago, but was unable to defend here title last year due to a chronic inflammation of the lumbar spine. She missed most of 2001 with the back injury and had an abdominal strain earlier this season.

Open date in NBA Playoffs

LOS ANGELES, May 30 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Lakers will face elimination for the first time since Game Seven of the 2000 Western Conference finals when the NBA playoffs resume Friday night.

The Lakers will host the top-seeded Sacramento Kings in Game Six of the Western Conference finals, trailing 3-2 in a best-of-seven series for the first time in the Phil Jackson era.

The Boston Celtics also face elimination when they host the top-seeded New Jersey Nets in Game Six of the Eastern Conference finals, also on Friday night.

Mike Bibby's 22-foot jumper with eight seconds left lifted the Kings to a 92-91 victory over the Lakers Tuesday night at Sacramento.

Los Angeles played the final 3:22 without superstar center Shaquille O'Neal, who fouled out after scoring 28 points, including 18 on dunks. It was Bibby who got the sixth foul on

O'Neal by driving to the basket and drawing contact. O'Neal converted 14-of-18 shots in 32 minutes.

The Lakers last were on the brink of elimination in Game Seven of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trailblazers in 2000, but staged a dramatic come-from-behind victory and went on to win the first of two straight NBA titles under Jackson.

If the Lakers win Friday, Game Seven will be Sunday in Sacramento.

The Nets took a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday, using a dominant fourth quarter to post a 103-90 homecourt victory over the Boston Celtics.

New Jersey was in dire straits after surrendering a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game Three, the worst collapse in NBA postseason history. But instead of fading away, the Nets have responded with back-to-back wins and are on the verge of the first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

Boston is shooting just 38 percent (157-of-414) in the series, including 30 percent (35-of-115) from three-point range.

If the Celtics win Friday, Game Seven will be Sunday at East Rutherford.

Twins activate Radke

MINNEAPOLIS, May 30 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Twins returned home from a 4-2 road trip Thursday by activating veteran righthander Brad Radke from the 15-day disabled list in time for the opener of a four-game series against the Anaheim Angels.

Radke, who is 4-2 with a 5.08 ERA, went on the disabled list May 14 with a pulled right groin. He last pitched on May 13, when he allowed one earned run and three hits in two innings of a 3-2 win at Kansas City.

The 29-year-old Radke went 15-11 with a 3.94 ERA last season and has a 97-97 career record. He has fared better against Anaheim than any other team, going 11-4 with a 1.66 ERA in 17 appearances.

Minnesota (30-23) is two games in front of the Chicago White Sox for the lead in the American League Central, despite dealing with injuries to several key players.

Third baseman Corey Koskie and designated- hitter David Ortiz both were on the 15-day DL earlier in the month, while righthander Joe Mays is currently on the 60-day DL with an injury to his pitching elbow. Second baseman Luis Rivas has a right forearm injury and is on a rehabilitation assignment at Single-A Fort Myers, Fla.

Most recently, starter Rick Reed left Wednesday's game in the second inning with a stiff neck.

Padres put Tollberg, Burroughs on DL

SAN DIEGO, May 30 (UPI) -- The San Diego Padres juggled their roster Thursday, placing rookie third baseman Sean Burroughs and righthander Brian Tollberg on the 15-day disabled list and activating righthander Bobby Jones.

The 21-year-old Burroughs, a former Little League World Series champion, was placed on the DL, retroactive to Wednesday, with a sprained right shoulder.

He has struggled in his first season as major leaguer, batting just .221 with a homer and seven RBI in 39 games. He was batting .300 on May 1, but is hitting just .098 (5-for-51) in

his last 16 contests.

Tollberg pitched in Wednesday's 11-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies, but left in the fourth inning with a right elbow sprain.

He is just 1-5 with a 6.13 ERA in 12 appearances, 11 starts, this season.

Jones, who was placed on the 15-day DL on May 15 with a strained left oblique muscle, will start Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Rockies. He has made seven starts for the Padres this year, posting a 3-2 record with a 5.73 ERA.

Jones will replace rookie Dennis Tankersley, who was originally scheduled to start Thursday's game.

San Diego made two additional moves, purchasing the contract of infielder Julios Matos from Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League and optioning catcher Javier Cardona to Portland.

Matos, acquired from Arizona in the Rule Five draft in 1999, is making his first appearance in the big leagues. He was hitting .307 with four homers and 24 RBI in 48 games at Portland.

Ticket sales for Lewis-Tyson very slow

MEMPHIS, May 30 (UPI) -- Tickets for the heavyweight title fight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis on June 8 are still widely available.

Some estimates suggest that just over half of the 19,000 seats have been sold to fight fans with many still being held by ticket brokers and travel companies.

On Wednesday, about 3,500 tickets, mostly from the Lewis camp, were made available to the general public, just 10 days before the bout.

"Primarily from the Lennox Lewis organization," said Alan Freeman, General Manager of The Pyramid. "As you know, Great Britain's competing in a World Cup soccer match that same week."

The timing and placing of the bout is unfortunate. British fight fans, who have loyally traveled to see Lewis' US conquests in the past, are more interested in the World Cup soccer tournament taking place in Japan and Korea with England's key game against Argentina kicking off on June 7.

Memphis does not hold the obvious attractions of Las Vegas, so most British fans are preferring to watch the bout on pay-per-view instead.

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