Serena, Andre roll on at Paris
PARIS, May 30 (UPI) -- Women's top seed, Serena Williams, looked invincible Friday as she crushed Barbara Schett, 6-0, 6-0 in a third round match at the French Open.
The defending champion needed just 40 minutes on a hot day to remind anyone watching that, at the moment, she is the most dominant force in the women's game. The victory was so comprehensive that Schett managed just two winners.
"It wasn't as easy as it looked," said Williams, who has lost just eight games in six sets this week. "I was focused for every point. With it being so hot out there, if you stay focused, then you don't have to stay out there as long. I think I did really well with the mental aspect today."
Williams, 21, opened the year by winning her first three tournaments, including her fourth straight major at the Australian Open, where she became just the fifth woman in history to hold all four major singles crowns at once.
She lost her first match of the year in the final at Charleston in April to Justine Henin-Hardenne, then in the semifinals at Rome to Amelie Mauresmo.
"They were definitely warning lights I could use," she said. "(I) prefer not to have them. At the same time, I'm glad that I got them because I can learn from them and hopefully move forward."
The losses have helped Williams in another way.
"It's always great not being a favorite in a tournament," she said. "It takes a lot of pressure off me, and puts it on some other people. So for me, I'm perfectly happy playing that role."
Henin-Hardenne was almost as emphatic in her match against Madagascar's Dally Randriantefy, needing just 50 minutes to wrap up a 6-1, 6-1 win.
The fourth-seeded Belgian next faces Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over No. 14 Eleni Daniilidou of Greece. Like Williams, Henin-Hardenne knew she had to concentrate, despite playing an opponent ranked 83rd in the world.
"It was fairly warm today so it's good winning this way," said the 2000 semifinalist, who has won a pair of claycourt events this year. "I was pretty happy with the way I played. It's getting better match after match, and I'm feeling much more confident. You can always lose any matches, so you have to focus on every match. You never know what can happen. There can always be a surprise, and you have to be prepared for it."
The only other player to beat Williams this season, the fifth-seeded Mauresmo also cruised into the round of 16, dispatching Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia, 6-3, 6-4.
Mauresmo, who never has progressed further than the fourth round at the French, but reached the Australian Open final in 1999, broke her opponent once in each set to claim victory in 78 minutes.
Agassi, 33, who won his eighth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, posted a 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 win in 2:09.
He showed little effect from the shock and exertion he endured in the second round, when he was forced to fight back from two sets down to get past 19-year-old Croatian Mario Ancic.
One of the hottest players of the claycourt season, No. 7 Guillermo Coria of Argentina, reached the fourth round for the first time in his career with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 rout of Attila Savolt of Hungary.
Coria, named after Argentinian tennis great Guillermo Vilas, and a player who showed promise four years ago when he won the junior title at Roland Garros, came into the tournament on a roll.
The 21-year-old captured the Hamburg Masters title two weeks ago, and reached the Monte Carlo Masters final last month.
Coria's win set up an all-Argentinian clash against unseeded Mariano Zabaleta, who advanced to the fourth round for the second year in a row. Zabaleta upended Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco, 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).
Also, Wayne Ferreira was injured against No. 12 Rainer Schuettler, and had to retire.
Ferreira was hurt at full stretch after planting his right foot while attempting a forehand. He appeared to injure his groin and had to be carried off after receiving treatment while lying on the court for several minutes.
Schuettler, the Australian Open runner-up, was leading two sets to one, but trailed 3-2 in the fourth when play was stopped.
Cone retirement a possibility
NEW YORK, May 30 (UPI) -- The New York Mets have scheduled a news conference for Friday afternoon at Shea Stadium, where David Cone could finally announce his retirement.
While Mets officials would not discuss the nature of the news conference, team spokesman Ethan Wilson called it "pretty urgent."
The 40-year-old Cone returned from a one-year pitching hiatus this year, earning a roster spot in spring training before going 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts.
He lasted only two innings in his last start on April 22 before leaving with a hip injury that landed him on the disabled list. He returned Wednesday night, allowing a run in two innings of relief in an 11-3 loss at Philadelphia.
The former Cy Young Award winner sat out the 2002 season after going 9-7 with a 4.31 ERA in 25 starts with Boston in 2001.
The five-time All-Star righthander also pitched for the Mets from 1987-92.
The news conference could also shed some light on the future of veteran first baseman Mo Vaughn, who also is on the DL. Several reports Thursday indicated he has been advised to quit playing, else risk permanent damage to his arthritic left knee.
Cubs activate Sosa
CHICAGO, May 30 (UPI) -- Veteran slugger Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday just before the game against Houston Asros.
Sosa had been on the DL since May 10 because of an infection of the big toe on his right foot.
He was batting .303 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 35 games before he was sidelined.
"Merry Christmas," Sosa told MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball after taking early hitting at Wrigley Field before the game. "I'm very excited. It's something that's been driving me crazy sitting in the house watching the game. I like to be there with the action. Today, I'm very excited to go back and be with the team. Everybody's excited. I feel strong, physically and mentally. I don't have to worry about my toe, don't have to think about it when I'm at the plate."
Sosa, one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball history, was limited at the plate because of the injury, which Manager Dusty Baker said allowed lefthanders to put "fastballs by (him) in the mid-80s."
With their slugger sidelined, the Cubs dropped from third to sixth in the National League in runs scored, but they went 10-7, maintaining first place in the Central Division. They began Friday two games ahead of Houston and St. Louis.
On April 4, Sosa became the 18th member of baseball's 500-homer
club. He is the only player in major league history to hit at
least 60 home runs in three different seasons.
Corey Patterson, who subbed for Sosa in the No. 3 spot in the order, leads the team with 10 home runs and 41 RBI.
To make room on the roster, the Cubs optioned southpaw Phil Norton to Triple-A Iowa of the Pacific Coast League.
Report: Evans tests positive for marijuana
NEW YORK, May 30 (UPI) -- Defensive tackle Josh Evans of the New York Jets may be about to be suspended by the NFL for again violating the league's substance abuse policy.
The New York Times reported Friday that three people familiar with the results of a recent test for marijuana taken by Evans came up positive.
The paper said Evans vehemently denied using pot, and has appealed the test results.
He has been suspended twice before, and could be banned if the appeal fails.
"I did not use or smoke marijuana," Evans told the paper. "I didn't smoke, I didn't use marijuana in no type of way."
The paper said that, because of past transgressions while with the Tennessee Titans, Evans is tested up to 10 times a month, and that his cooperation with the treatment program he now is undertaking would be taken into consideration should he face a suspension.
Jets General Manager Terry Bradway has declined comment.
Report: Wizards trying to interest Brown
WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- It looks like the Washington Wizards have become a player in the Larry Brown sweepstakes.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Wizards' officials have approached Brown about being their new coach and also President of Basketball Operations. The paper said Brown has decided not to talk to Washington as long as Doug Collins, a close personal friend, remains in place as its coach.
The paper also noted Brown's comments about the way Jordan was dismissed.
"If you're going to fire a guy, you don't need to let everyone know he's coming in to be fired," Brown said at the time. "Here's a guy who took a million dollars a year, filled the building, helped our league, and I think he helped their team. Their team was terrible (before he came). They had a huge payroll and no chance of getting into the playoffs. Now they're fighting for the playoffs every year."
"Washington Sports and Entertainment and (Chairman) Abe Pollin are not discussing the interviewing process or the candidates we are speaking to," Washington President Susan O'Malley told the paper.
The Post said sources have indicated Brown refused to discuss the coach's job as long as Collins remained under contract.
Collins has not spoken publicly since the ouster of Michael Jordan on May 7. Jordan retired as a player when the Wizards' season ended without a playoff bid on April 16, but he thought there was an agreement in place for him to return to the job of President of Basketball Operations.
In a meeting on May 7, he found out that was not the case, and Collins, rumored likely to be fired as well, has been left twisting in the wind about his future ever since.
The story originated in Dallas, the site of the Western Conference Finals, which ended Thursday night with San Antonio beating Dallas in six games.
Brown stepped down as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, and has been mentioned as a possibility for every team that either has or may have, at some point, a coaching vacancy.
At the moment, the team he just left, Philadelphia, has an opening, as do Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans, Washington, and Toronto. Also, the Los Angeles Clippers' job is a bit murky as Dennis Johnson is in interim status.
NBA playoffs have off days
SAN ANTONIO, May 30 (UPI) -- Friday is one of several consecutive off days on the NBA playoff schedule, with San Antonio having closed out Dallas Thursday night.
The Spurs will represent the Western Conference when they meet Eastern Conference champion New Jersey beginning on June 4.
The Spurs used a 23-0 scoring surge in the fourth quarter Thursday to down the Mavericks, 90-78, winning the best-of-seven series, four games to two.
Guard Steven Jackson, who led the Spurs with 24 points, nailed consecutive three-pointers to pull the Spurs within 71-68 before little-used reserve Steve Kerr tied the game with a shot from the arc with 7:12 to play, then put the Spurs ahead for good, 74-71, with a three-pointer with 6:28 left, and made it 79-71 with another shot from the arc with 5:14 to go.
The Spurs, who have gotten a reputation for blowing big leads, finally were able to quiet their critics with their stunning defensive stand in the final period.
Game One of the NBA Finals, the first between two former ABA teams, will be Wednesday in San Antonio. The Nets, who have won 10 straight playoff games, will have had 10 days off by the time that series starts.
Brendan Malone hired by Knicks
NEW YORK, May 30 (UPI) -- The New York Knicks Friday name Brendan Malone as an assistant coach and his son, Michael, was promoted to assistant coach and advance scout.
This will be Brendan Malone's third stint on the Knicks' bench. He also will work beside Coach Don Chaney for the second time in his career.
Malone, a 17-year NBA coaching veteran, worked for the Knicks during the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons, and again from 1996-97 to 1999-2000. He spent the last three seasons with the Indiana Pacers, and was an assistant with the Detroit Pistons for seven years, including 1993-1995 as a member of Chaney's staff.
Malone also was coach of the Toronto Raptors in 1995-96.
"The return of Brendan Malone is a great addition to coach Chaney's staff," said New York General Manager Scott Layden. "He is one of the most experienced bench coaches in the league, and his vast basketball knowledge will be invaluable to our organization."
Michael Malone was New York's coaching associate the last two years.