In Sports from United Press International

May 31, 2002 at 12:37 AM
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Big names advance in French Open

PARIS, May 31 (UPI) -- Defending champion Jennifer Capriati, No. 3 Serena Williams and former champion Andre Agassi did not need to show their best form Thursday, but easily advanced to the third round at the French Open.

It was a different story for second-seeded Marat Safin of Russia, who battled a sore back and rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Olivier Rochus of Belgium.

The top-seeded Capriati persevered against fellow American Amy Frazier, 6-4, 6-3, despite numerous errors. Capriati held serve just four times, committed seven double faults and made 46 unforced errors. She still managed to defeat Frazier for the fourth time in as many meetings.

Williams beat qualifier Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar, 6-2, 6-3.

Williams has won three titles this season, including her first claycourt crown two weeks ago at the Italian Open. She also was runner-up at the claycourt event in Berlin.

The 20-year-old American is playing in her first Grand Slam event since battling her sister Venus in the final at the U.S. Open last year. She missed the Australian Open in January due to a sprained right ankle.

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

Third 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 at Roland Garros. However, the 24-year-old German has yet to reach the fourth round in four prevous visits here.

Belgium's Xavier Malisse ousted 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 defeated the Englishman in five sets last year at the U.S. Open.

World Cup begins tonight

SEOUL, May 31 (UPI) -- The world's most popular sport embarks on its biggest showcase tonight with the defending champion hoping to put aside first-game jitters and live up to its reputation as the best soccer team on the planet.

The World Cup, which began two years ago with almost every nation on earth being a part, has been whittled down to the final 32 teams and they will do battle over the next month to determine where the small, golden trophy will reside for the next four years.

There will be 64 matches played in 16 cities around Japan and South Korea to determine the champion, the first of those coming in Seoul Friday night when France takes on Senegal. Kickoff will be at 8:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. EDT).

Hosting the World Cup four years ago, France stormed to a 3-0 victory in the championship game over Brazil and since then the French have reaffirmed their lofty position as the world's best by winning Euro 2000.

Argentina is this year's co-favorite along with France and if those nations keep advancing, they would meet in the semifinals.

But Brazil, Italy, Portugal and Paraguay are all given a chance with England, despite suffering a wave of injuries, still hopeful of winning the title.

After the opening game of the tournament Friday night, either three or four matches will be played every day through June 14 to determine the 16 countries that survive group play and make it into the knockout stage of the tournament.

The opening weekend will see Ireland play Cameroon, Uruguay take on Denmark and Germany play Saudi Arabia on Saturday with England meeting Sweden, Paraguay facing South Africa, Argentina taking on Nigeria and Spain playing Slovenia on Sunday.

The first game for the United States will come next Wednesday, when the Americans play Portugal in a game kicking off at 5 a.m. EDT.

Twins win in 10 innings

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., May 31 (UPI) -- Cristian Guzman's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning scored Dustan Mohr with the winning run Thursday night as the Minnesota Twins overcame a five-run deficit and posted a 7-6 victory over the Anaheim Angels.

Mohr started the 10th with a walk off Lou Pote (0-1) and A.J. Pierzynski singled him to third. Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought center fielder Darin Erstad in to play first base, giving Anaheim five infielders. The strategy worked as Denny Hocking bounced to Erstad, moving A.J. Pierzynski to second.

Scioscia brought his infield and outfield in, but Guzman lifted a fly ball to left and Mohr scored without a throw from Garret Anderson.

The Twins trailed, 6-5, in the eighth but loaded the bases with two out before Guzman singled off closer Troy Percival to score Mohr with the tying run. Anderson kept the game tied by throwing out Pierzynski at the plate.

Eddie Guardado (1-1) allowed two hits in two innings for his first win of the season. The durable lefthander was the sixth pitcher used by Minnesota, which lost starter Brad Radke in the first inning after he aggravated a groin injury.

Radke was activated from the disabled list before the game.

Other American League results: Seattle 5, Baltimore 4; Cleveland 11, Detroit 7; Tampa Bay 4, Oakland 3 in 13 innings.

Helling blanks Giants

SAN FRANCISCO, May 31 (UPI) -- Rick Helling allowed four hits over eight innings and Luis Gonzalez supplied the offense Thursday, giving the Arizona Diamondbacks a 1-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

One night after teammate Curt Schilling retired the first 15 batters in a 7-3 triumph, Helling (4-5) walked three and struck out three. He joined Schilling and Randy Johnson as the only Diamondbacks' starters to be part of shutouts this season.

Byung-Hyun Kim pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.

Gonzalez broke the scoreless deadlock with one out in the fourth, belting a 1-1 pitch from starter Kirk Rueter over the right field wall for his 11th home run. It was his fourth at Pacific Bell Park, where he has driven in 17 runs.

Rueter (6-3) suffered his second straight loss, despite allowing just one run and five hits in eight innings.

Other National League results: Chicago 9, Pittsburgh 8; Colorado 4, San Diego 2; Cincinnati 4, Florida 1; Atlanta 5, Montreal 2.

NBA playoffs resume Friday

LOS ANGELES, May 31 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Lakers will face elimination for the first time since Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals when the NBA playoffs resume tonight.

The Lakers will host the top-seeded Sacramento Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals and trail, 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 6 of the Eastern Conference finals 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. He finished with 23 points, including two free throws with 47 seconds remaining to pull the Kings within one before hitting the winning jumper.

The Lakers last were on the brink of elimination in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2000, but staged a dramatic come-from-behind victory and went on to win the first of two straight NBA titles under Jackson.

Langham seeks first win

POTOMAC, Md., May 31 (UPI) -- Franklin Langham tied a course record with an 8-under-par 63 Thursday and opened a two-shot lead after the first round of the $3.6 million Kemper Open.

Winless in nine years on the PGA Tour, Langham torched the TPC-Avenel with a bogey-free round. He became the ninth person to shoot a 63 on the course.

Langham also matched the lowest round of his career, established in the second round of the 2000 Doral-Ryder Open.

Bob Estes was two shots back while Chris DiMarco was among five players three strokes behind. Australia's Greg Norman also was in contention after a 4-under 67.

But the big story was Langham, whose career was in jeopardy last year after he underwent major surgery on his left elbow in October. He participated in the PGA Championship in August before taking the rest of the year off.

UCLA nears NCAA title

BATON ROUGE, La., May 31 (UPI) -- A victory by Darnesha Griffith in the high jump Thursday night further enhanced UCLA's bid to win the women's national title as the Bruins built their lead at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Tennessee, meanwhile, continued its run of success in the sprint competitions that are expected to send the Volunteers to another men's crown.

Griffith cleared six feet in the high jump, giving UCLA 10 points and increasing the Bruins' total to 25 through seven events of the four-day meet. Other women's finals Thursday night were won by Purdue's Serene Ross with an American record throw of 195-8 in the javelin, Eva Goulbourne with an effort of 22-4 ½ in the long jump and Austra Skujyte in the heptathlon.

Skujyte dominated the seven-event competition with 6,061 points -- more than 200 ahead of Ellanne Richardson of Washington State.

Only two men's finals were contested Thursday night with Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan winning the 10,000-meter run and Scott Russell of Kansas capturing the javelin.

Through four men's events, Georgia had the lead with 15 ponits followed by LSU with 11.

But Tennessee is expected to dominate the sprints and the Volunteers' Justin Gatlin turned in the best time during preliminaries in the 100-meter dash -- a 10.15. Tennessee also qualified 1-2 in the 200-meter dash Wednesday night and has the fastest team in the sprint relay.

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