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Clijsters quits after spraining ankle

The Associated Press

LEIPZIG, Germany — Top-ranked Kim Clijsters sprained her right ankle and quit while leading Anastasia Myskina in the Sparkassen Cup semifinals.

After getting injured, Clijsters had her ankle wrapped, then played one more game before stopping with the score 7-5, 4-4. She was taken to a hospital for X-rays and an MRI exam.

“I slid into the shot, and I felt a sharp pain on the inside of my right ankle. It was throbbing right away,” Clijsters said. “I tried to play after the taping, but it was no good.”

So instead of another all-Belgian final, Russia’s Myskina will face No. 2-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne, who beat Venezuelan qualifier Maria Vento-Kabchi, 6-0, 6-3, on Satufday.

Henin-Hardenne will be going for her tour-high eighth title of 2003. She defeated countrywoman Clijsters in the French Open final in June and the U.S. Open final this month.

They are vying for the season-ending No. 1 ranking.

In Saturday’s opening match, 2000-01 Sparkassen Cup champion Clijsters fended off two set points in the first set, charging back from a 5-4 deficit to win when Myskina hit a backhand long.

In the second set, Clijsters led the third-seeded Myskina 4-3 when she was hurt.

“I didn’t want to win that way,” Myskina said. “I feel really sorry.”

TENNIS

  • In Shanghai, China, Wimbledon runner-up Mark Philippoussis and top-seeded Jiri Novak reached the Heineken Open final.

    Philippoussis had little trouble beating Robin Soderling, 6-4, 6-4, while Novak had to rally to get past Wayne Arthurs, 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-3.

    Arthurs took the opening set with the help of six aces and closed it with a pair of overhead smashes. Novak took over, though, with plenty of help from Arthurs’ unforced errors.

    The third-seeded Philippoussis trailed 4-3 in the second set but won the last three games in a row — two at love.

    “I was putting pressure on myself a bit, and I got upset with myself for doing that, so I took deep breaths and got my timing back,” Philippoussis said. “The guy served huge, and I was having to block the ball back and get into the point.”

    He and Novak split their two career meetings.

  • In Nonthaburi, Thailand, top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic, 6-3, 6-3, Saturday to advance to the Thailand Open final.

    Ferrero will play Taylor Dent for the title Sunday. Dent defeated fifth-seeded Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the other semifinal.

    Ferrero played a consistent baseline game in beating Ljubicic for the first time in three meetings.

    The Spaniard led 3-2 in the second set when Ljubicic called for a trainer to massage his right shoulder. The Croat never regained control, holding serve one more time before losing.

    “I was returning very well,” Ferrero said. “That was important because it gave me confidence. I served well. It was a perfect match.”

    Dent capitalized on his serve-and-volley game to dominate the first-set tiebreaker. The American had three match points in the second set before winning.

    “I came out a little nervous and took a long time to get my rhythm,” Dent said. “Then I tried to get back, calm down and played nicely.”

    Looking toward the final, Ferrero said Dent can pose problems.

    “He goes to the net all the time and you have to be confident and not make many mistakes,” Ferrero said. “It’s difficult to break his serves.”

  • In Palermo, Sicily, Paul-Henri Mathieu won two matches to reach the Palermo Open final, where he will face top-seeded Nicolas Massu.

    Mathieu began the day by beating Diego Veronelli 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in a rain-delayed quarterfinal, then went back out on court to eliminate sixth-seeded Alberto Martin 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).

    The fifth-seeded Mathieu has won all five tiebreakers he’s played this week.

    Martin also had to play his quarterfinal Saturday, defeating Franco Squillari 7-6 (3), 6-4.

    Massu was the only player to reach the semifinals Friday, and he was fresh in a 6-2, 6-2 victory over eighth-seeded Luis Horna at the last ATP Tour clay-court tournament of the year.

    Horna topped Oscar Hernandez 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1 in his quarterfinal.

    BASEBALL

  • The township where the minor league Washington Wild Things call home may again consider a 5 percent amusement tax on baseball tickets and parking.

    North Franklin Township has been counting on a $53,000 donation from the team and two entities related to the Frontier League baseball team. The donation has been delayed while one of those entities, Ballpark Scholarships Inc., confirms that they are still considered tax-exempt by the state.

    Ballpark Scholarships leases Falconi field to the team.

    The township needs money because wage tax collections are below projections and some expenses — like road salt — were higher than expected, Franklin Township supervisor Bob Sabot said.

    Sabot, who leaves office in December, said he’s tired of waiting.

    “They were packing 4,000 people into that ballpark and they have no money to give North Franklin?” Sabot said. “I don’t buy it.”

    Township administrator Scott Novak said there is no rift between the township and the team.

    “We’re trying to work together. We’ve been very supportive of them and they us,” he said.

    The township last year considered an amusement tax, but decided against it when the team, BSI and another group agreed to donate $53,000 to the township. BSI board member Leo Trich said the group has its $5,000 share of the donation and the entire donation will be made once the tax-exempt issue has been settled.

    BASKETBALL

  • Reggie Evans signed a multiyear contract with the SuperSonics after starting at power forward for Seattle most of last season.

    Evans, 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, was a restricted free agent. He was on the court as the SuperSonics opened training camp.

    Last season, he averaged 6.6 rebounds, tops on the team, and 3.2 points in 67 games, including 60 starts. He joined Seattle as an undrafted free agent from Iowa last season.

  • The Los Angeles Clippers signed free agent Bobby Simmons.

    Simmons averaged 3.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game over the last two years with the Washington Wizards. Before that, he was a standout at DePaul University, where he played with Clippers guard Quentin Richardson.

    At DePaul, Simmons averaged 13.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists over his three-year career. The 6-foot-6 Simmons plays both guard and forward.

    Also Saturday, the Clippers announced the signing of five other free agents: guard Jason Crowe, forward Fadi El Khatib, forward Matt Garrison, center Josh Moore and forward Desmond Penigar.

    CHEERLEADING

  • Cheerleading is now a varsity sport at Maryland, a move critics contend is designed to sidestep Title IX.

    Four cheerleaders and eight members of the women’s water polo team receive partial scholarships. School officials say that will keep the university in compliance with Title IX, the 1972 law barring discrimination based on sex by any school receiving federal money.

    “At Maryland, we always try to be on the cutting edge with what we’re doing, and this is just another example of that,” Michael Lipitz, Maryland’s associate athletic director for administration, told The Washington Post.

    Critics say these steps evade the intent of the law and increase funding for men’s programs by creating the new women’s scholarships. By creating 12 cheerleading scholarships — which will be phased in over three years — and eight water polo scholarships, the men’s programs will be given 20 as well.

    Cheerleading is not recognized as a sport by the NCAA, and the Education Department says drill teams, cheerleaders and the like can’t be considered athletic programs for the purpose of complying with Title IX.

    Some colleges offer partial financial aid to cheerleaders. But Maryland and the federal Office for Civil Rights say this is the first instance of a school seeking to use cheerleading scholarships toward Title IX compliance.

    Donna Lopiano, chief executive of the Women’s Sports Foundation, questioned why the university chose cheerleading.

    “It seems like they’re looking for the easiest way out, that their intent is to conform to the letter of the law, but not necessarily the spirit,” Lopiano said.

    “If they had club teams that wanted varsity status, why go and manufacture one out of cheerleaders?”

    Lipitz said water polo and cheerleading were the only teams seeking the status this year. Women’s ice hockey, crew and equestrian clubs have all sought that in the past.

    HOCKEY

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs signed unrestricted free-agent agent defenseman Ken Klee to a one-year contract.

    Klee had one goal, 16 assists and 89 penalty minutes for the Washington Capitals last season with a team-leading plus-22 rating.

    The 6-foot, 210-pound defenseman had 43 goals, 68 assists and 608 penalty minutes in 570 games with Washington.

    HORSE RACING

  • Mineshaft cruised into Horse of the Year territory with another effortless victory, this time taking the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

    The 4-year-old colt has three straight Grade I wins, and may have Horse of the Year honors wrapped up even before next month’s Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita.

    Right now, there’s not a thoroughbred better than Mineshaft, bred and owned by William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm and trained by Neil Howard.

    Mineshaft came into the Gold Cup off dominating wins in the Suburban Handicap and Woodward Stakes, both at Belmont, and plans call for one more race — the $4 million BC Classic — before the colt is retired to stud.

    Under jockey Robby Albarado, Mineshaft put on an other brilliant display, toying with four rivals before taking the lead around the far turn. By the time the colt hit the stretch, he was in total command and Albarado merely nudged him once with his whip.

    “The first thing on my mind was that Mr. Farish created a monster here,” Albarado said.

    Quest finished second, with Evening Attire third. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite by the crowd of 19,034, Mineshaft returned $2.80 and $2.10. Quest, ridden by Edgar Prado, paid $2.10 to place. State Shinto was fourth and Moon Ballad fifth. There was no show wagering.

    Time for the 1.25-mile Gold Cup was 2:00.25.

    With the winner’s share of $600,000, Mineshaft improved his career earnings to $2,283,402.

    In three other Grade I races with Breeders’ Cup implications:

    –Sulamani stumbled and nearly fell on far turn, but gathered himself under Jerry Bailey and easily won the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational.

    –Dimitrova held off 63-1 long shot Walzerkoenign and favorite Heat Haze to take the $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational.

    –Ghostzapper made a sensational last-to-first run around nine rivals and blew past the leaders in the stretch for a 6.5-length victory in the $500,000 Vosburgh Stakes.

    Mineshaft, though, stole the show.

    The colt had little success in Europe, winning just one of seven races on the turf. So Farish, the United States ambassador to Great Britain, had the horse shipped back to America and into Howard’s barn.

    Since last November, Mineshaft has won nine of 11 races, with two seconds — once by a head to Perfect Drift in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, the other by 2.5 lengths to Balto Star in the Whirlaway at the Fair Grounds.

    “The plan worked,” Farish said.

    In the BC Classic, Mineshaft will face the likes of Medaglia d’Oro and Congaree, but several other top horses, such as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, Candy Ride and Perfect Drift, won’t be running. Also, Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker is highly doubtful for the Classic.

    Azeri, the reigning Horse of the Year, goes for her 12th straight win in Sunday’s Lady’s Secret Handicap at Santa Anita, but is likely to run in the BC Distaff.

    Sulamani put a scare into the Belmont crowd when, in full stride, he suddenly took a bad step and nearly went down in the 1.5-mile Turf Classic. But the 4-year-old colt bred in Ireland somehow recovered and won by 2.75 lengths over pacesetter Balto Star.

    In his last race, Sulamani was declared the winner of the Arlington Million after Storming Home was disqualified for interference at the finish line.

    Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Sulamani returned $3.50 to win. Deeliteful Irving, coupled in the wagering with Balto Star, was third in the six-horse field.

    In the previous race, the 1.25-mile Flower Bowl on turf, Bailey won aboard Dimitrova for his 21st Grade I victory this year, breaking the record of 20 set by Mike Smith in 1994.

    Dimitrova, winner of four of six starts this year, returned $9.40 to win. The 3-year-old filly is likely headed to the BC Filly & Mare Turf.

    In the Vosburgh, Ghostzapper covered 6.5 furlongs in 1:14 3-5, 1-5 of a second off the track record.

    The win gives trainer Bobby Frankel another top contender for the BC Sprint. The Hall of Famer also trains Aldebaran, the expected favorite.

    Ghostzapper, with three wins in four starts this year for Stronach Stables, returned $8.20 to win. Gygistar, the 3-2 favorite, was fourth.

    Frankel has 21 Grade I stakes wins this year, one off the record set by D. Wayne Lukas in 1987.

  • In Ascot, England, Falbrav won the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, pulling away to finish 2.5 lengths ahead of Russian Rhythm.

    Falbrav, a 5-year-old, went off as the 6-4 favorite and was ridden by Darryl Holland in the mile race.

    Falbrav won last year’s Japan Cup and this year’s Eclipse Stakes and Juddmonte International. He had winnings of almost $1.65 million before this race.

    Russian Rhythm, a 3-1 choice ridden by Kieron Fallon, was bidding to become the first filly in 16 years to win the race. He had won the 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Nassau Stakes.

  • In Lexington, Ky., Mr. Muscleman beat Power to Charm by six lengths Saturday to win the $526,000 Kentucky Futurity, the final part of trotting’s Triple Crown.

    Incredible Hulk was third, and Amigo Hall fourth in the field of nine.

    Mr. Muscleman won the first heat by a length in 1:53.4 and returned 90 minutes later to capture the second heat in 1:53.3. The victory gave driver Ron Pierce back-to-back wins in the Kentucky Futurity; he won the race last year aboard Like a Prayer.

    Amigo Hall, the Hambletonian winner who finished second as the favorite in the first division of the first heat, set the early pace through an opening quarter of 0:28.2 and an opening half of 0:57 in the second heat. At the three-eighths pole, Pierce pulled off the rail and made a charge to the front with Power to Charm trotting behind him on the outside.

    Amigo Hall kept the lead through three quarters in 1:26.1, but Mr. Muscleman drew clear.

    “It does not matter if he wants to be on the lead or close down the stretch,” Pierce said. “He just loves to run. He is a very classy colt.”

    Noel Daley trained Mr. Muscleman for Adam H. Victor of New York. Spar J Stables bred the Muscles Yankee gelding in New York. Mr. Muscleman is out of the Meadow Road mare Meadowbranch Irene.

    He has won 11 of 24 starts, and the Futurity victory leaves him within $50,000 of $1 million in earnings.

  • Jockey Donnie Meche’s one-year nationwide suspension in which stewards ruled he did not do his best to win a race in January was upheld by a state judge.

    Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Rosemary Ledet dismissed Meche’s request to reverse the Louisiana State Racing Commission’s decision on Friday.

    Meche finished third aboard Cleaning House at Delta Downs on Jan. 23. Cleaning House, a 2-5 favorite, momentarily stumbled and drifted to the left at the start, a race video showed.

    Meche said the horse slipped a second time midway through the turn, and he believed the horse was hurt. The horse was discovered to have a hoof injury following the race.

    Track stewards suspended Meche for six months and referred the case to the commission, which ordered a nationwide suspension April 29.

    “We don’t agree with the ruling and we intend to go forward with an appeal,” said Ryan Roemershauser, an attorney who works with Meche’s lawyer, Sonny Garcia.

    OLYMPICS

  • The Greek government and Olympic organizers denied a report that undercover agents found serious lapses while testing security for the 2004 Games.

    “There have already been tests carried out by Greek police officers … with the best possible results, one whole year before the games,” government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.

    Protopapas was responding to a report in Saturday’s Washington Post that quoted unidentified American intelligence sources as saying undercover agents twice smuggled fake bombs past security checkpoints in Athens.

    The newspaper reported that an agent disguised as a pregnant woman carried a fake bomb through a checkpoint, and another agent planted a fake device on a ferry.

    The reports, from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, also cite disorganized police forces, breakdowns in maritime patrols and serious concerns over the pace of anti-terrorism planning, the newspaper said.

    “Of course, these scenarios mentioned by the newspaper have no bearing on reality,” Protopapas said. He said “organized commercial interests” seeking security contracts were behind the accusations that Athens was not prepared for terrorist threats.

    Athens organizers stressed security is a top priority and their efforts have been recognized by the IOC and by U.S. officials.

    “Aside from any fantastic scenarios and exaggerations there is only one reality: Greece is preparing very hard to organize absolutely safe Olympic Games in 2004,” organizers said in a statement.

    Athens has budgeted a record $600 million for security at the games and is being assisted by the United States, Britain and five other countries.

    The government said Thursday it hoped to stick to its overall budget of $5.3 billion for the games, but said an increase of 5 percent to 10 percent was possible to cover security.

    RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

    In Budapest, Hungary, Alina Kabaeva of Russia took the all-around gold medal at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, regaining a title she lost by failing a drug test.

    Kabaeva won four of five events at the 2001 worlds, but she was stripped of those medals and suspended for a year after testing positive for a diuretic at the Goodwill Games.

    Anna Bessonova of Ukraine was second, and Irina Tchachina of Russia third. They also have failed drug tests.

    Mary Sanders was 10th, the highest finish ever for an American. She previously helped the U.S. team earn a berth at the 2004 Olympics.

    SOCCER

  • D.C. United goalkeeper Nick Rimando will miss the rest of the year with a knee injury, ending a season in which he recorded seven shutouts.

    Rimando tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in the second half of Thursday night’s 2-0 victory over the MetroStars. He was replaced by Doug Warren, who made his MLS debut.

    United, third in the Eastern Division, is trying to make the playoffs for the first time in four years.

    At the time of the injury, Rimando was 50 minutes short of breaking the MLS mark for consecutive minutes. His streak 6,016 minutes dated to July 4, 2001, just behind Peter Vermes’ record of 6,066.

  • In Foxboro, Mass., Canada advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup, using its height and a tie-breaking goal by Christine Sinclair to rally for a 3-1 victory over Japan.

    Canada had been winless in its previous two World Cups with four losses and two ties and lost its opener this year. But it beat Argentina, 3-0, last Wednesday in Columbus.

    In the next round Canada (2-1), which finished second in Group C, will play Thursday in Portland. The opponent will be the winner of Sunday’s game between Russia and China, also in Portland, that will determine the Group D winner.

    Japan (1-2) was eliminated after taking a 1-0 lead Saturday in the 20th minute when Homare Sawa converted a crossing pass from right to left by Yayoi Kobayashi. But Canada tied it in the 36th minute when Christine Latham outmuscled Yasuyo Yamagishi for the ball and scored on a 15-yard kick with her left foot to the far right side of goalkeeper Nozomi Yamago.

    Canada kept the pressure up and took the lead in the 49th minute on Sinclair’s goal. Brittany Timko put a corner kick from the left high to the front of the net. Sinclair leaped and just put it over the raised arms of Yamago.

    Japan appeared to tie the game in the 66th minute when Mio Otani headed the ball in from 16 yards, but she was ruled offside.

    Just six minutes later, Canada’s height came in handy again when Kara Lang shot the ball from 15 yards out on the left. It kept drifting to the far right of the net and Yamago backpedaled but it dropped just behind her.

  • Norway advanced to the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals with a 7-1 rout of South Korea, getting two goals each from Dagny Mellgren and Linda Ormen.

    The total of eight goals matched a Women’s World Cup record, accomplished five other times.

    Norway finished second in Group B to Brazil, which tied France, 1-1, in Washington. Norway will play the United States at Foxboro on Wednesday as long as the Americans beat or tie North Korea today.

    Norway has won the only two major international tournaments not won by the United States — the 1995 World Cup and the 2000 Olympics. Norway also is the only team in the World Cup with a winning record against the Americans.

    It was a home game of sorts for Mellgren, who played in the now-defunct WUSA for the Boston Breakers. Marianne Petterson, Solveig Gulbrandsen and Brit Sandaune also scored for Norway, which took the lead in the fifth minute and led 4-0 at the half.

    South Korea, which is making its first World Cup appearance, managed just three shots and was never close. But Kim Jim Hee did score the first goal in the nation’s history in the 75th minute to make it 5-1.

    Pettersen hit Gulbrandsen in the middle for the first goal. Norway made it 2-0 in the 24th minute when Petterson crossed the ball to Melgren on a breakaway.

    In the 31st minute, Gulbrandsen passed to Mellgren on the left side. She took it into the middle to beat a defender and shot past goalkeeper Kim Jung Mi to make it 3-0.

    In the 40th minute, Pettersen took a leading pass from Unni Lehn at the edge of the box and got behind two defenders, pushing the ball past the sliding goalkeeper. Sandaune lofted the ball over the goalie’s head in the 52nd minute to make it 5-0.

    South Korea scored when Monica Knudsen tried to back pass to the goalkeeper, but the ball went past the goalie and Kim got to it first.

    Ormen scored in the 80th and 90th minutes to make it 7-1.

  • In Washington, Maren Meinert, this year’s MVP of the WUSA, had two goals and two assists, as Germany completed a perfect first round in the Women’s World Cup by dominating Argentina, 6-1.

    Germany (3-0) easily won Group C, outscoring its opponents 13-2, and will play the second-place team from Group D in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Portland, Ore.

    Argentina (0-3) was outscored 15-1 in its first World Cup.

    German midfielder and World Cup veteran Steffi Jones left the game in the 62nd minute with a right knee injury. She was taken to a hospital for X-rays and an MRI, but the preliminary diagnosis was a torn ACL.

    “It seems that she is out of the tournament,” coach Tina Theune-Meyer said.

    It was obvious from the third minute — when Meinert volleyed Kerstin Stegemann’s cross from 10 yards — that the rout was on. Bettina Wiegmann made it 2-0 with a penalty kick in the 24th after Birgit Prinz was fouled.

    Prinz then had the most spectacular goal of the game, a falling-backward, half-bicycle kick from 10 yards that nestled just inside the right post in the 32nd minute. Meinert got the assist on Prinz’ fourth goal of the tournament.

    Meinert, who played for the WUSA’s Boston Breakers and came out of retirement from international play for this World Cup, scored in the 43rd with a 20-yard drive that left goalkeeper Romina Ferro standing still.

    Argentina got its first World Cup goal in the 71st minute on substitute Yanina Gaitan’s volley from 20 yards.

    German substitute Conny Pohlers scored in the 89th minute, and substitute Martina Mueller’s flying header off Meinert’s pass finished the scoring in second-half injury time.


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