Thursday, February 11, 2010
Hull City manager Phil Brown is considering appealing the red card shown to George Boateng during Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers.
The veteran midfielder was shown a straight red card by referee Lee Probert following a 40th minute aerial challenge with Morten Gamst Pedersen at Ewood Park.
Afterwards Rovers boss Sam Allardyce conceded the red card had been harsh on the Tigers and Brown was similarly bemused by Probert's decision.
He explained: "To say it is a nonsense is an understatement. The problem I have with it is he had two to three minutes to make the decision while George was knocked out.
"But the players told me he already had the red card out of his pocket within seconds of the incident.
"It is clearly a clash of heads and a brave challenge by both players. If I am going to jump I am going to bring my arms up.
"If you look at George Boateng's history, he's had 14 years in the Premier League and two red cards.
"It is a good career record for me for a combative midfielder whose involved in tussles and tackles."
Sir Alex Ferguson received a major blow to his offensive options at Villa Park, a straight red card given to Nani, awarded by referee Peter Walton for a studs-up tackle on Stiliyan Petrov, meaning that the winger will suspended for the next three domestic games, including his side’s Carling Cup final against Villa at Wembley later this month.
By Sandy Macaskill
He will also be required to sit out of United’s next two Premier League matches, a trip to Goodison Park and a home fixture with West Ham, which after the draw in the west midlands have assumed even greater importance as United strive to wrest the lead of the table from Chelsea.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time for either the 23-year-old or Ferguson. In recent weeks Nani has been the king to Wayne Rooney’s ace, and he has been rewarded with a starting place in United’s last five games, running amok against Hull, Manchester City, Arsenal and Portsmouth.
Finally the Portuguese has been able to show what he can do now that he is no longer obscured by Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow.
The midfielder has been the target of some criticism since his £18 million move from Sporting Lisbon in 2007. Too often the attempts at trickery seemed nothing more pale imitations of his more illustrious team-mate, his free-kicks well regarded, but nothing on the master, and it earned him the unfortunate nickname ‘Ronaldo lite’, and rumours Ferguson would sell him come summer
Yet Ronaldo’s departure to Real Madrid, Antonio Valencia’s failure to step into his boots, and Dimitar Berbatov’s inability to emerge from obscurity since his move from Spurs have left Ferguson casting for alternatives to provide cutting edge, and Nani has emerged as the solution.
Unfortunately for United fans he was unable to deliver on the promise that “I am sure I have the quality to be one of the best in the world," – as he said this week – his only contribution of note before he was escorted down the tunnel to a cheering Villa Park a vicious free kick, which almost bamboozled Brad Friedel with a late swerve.
Martin O’Neill, meanwhile, has been left fretting over the fitness of Petrov, who left the scene injured in the 65th minute, to be replaced by Steve Sidwell. The Bulgarian has been the linchpin of Villa’s season, operating in a holding role in front of the celebrated back four.
With the likes of James Milner and Ashley Young plying their trade in the same midfield, Petrov’s contribution often goes unsung – but should the injury prove serious it would be a major blow to Villa.
Arsène Wenger believes the Premier League title race will go to the wire after seeing his Arsenal side's ambitions boosted by the 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.
By Telegraph staff
Arsenal had started the day nine points adrift and seemingly no longer genuine contenders following successive defeats to Manchester United and, on Sunday, Chelsea.
However, the deficit was narrowed to six points after Abou Diaby's header earned the three points against Liverpool, United drew 1-1 at Aston Villa and leaders Chelsea lost 2-1 at Everton.
"I believe we will fight until the last second of the season, and that's what we want to continue to do," said Wenger.
"We believe we have a chance and you could see again that Chelsea lost, Manchester United dropped points, so it is open for everybody."
Wenger, though, warned more hard work lay ahead and is focusing only on the immediate future.
"It can change quickly, but for us it is more important for us to focus on winning our next game than speaking about the title because we had a big shock in our last two games," he added.
The victory may have not been a vintage performance by his young side, but it reinforced Wenger's faith following a difficult couple of weeks.
The Arsenal manager added: "Nobody realises what it is to play Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool on the trot - physically and mentally it is very demanding, especially with two massive disappointments.
"We have shown good togetherness, good discipline and then we got that little goal which makes a massive result for us."
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was left fuming, claiming his side should have had a stoppage-time penalty when Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas appeared to handle the ball from a Steven Gerrard free-kick.
Referee Howard Webb waved away Liverpool's appeals, and television replays appeared to suggest there was doubt whether the hand was in the box.
Wenger denied Liverpool should have had a penalty, saying: "It was a controversial situation.
"The free-kick against us was harsh. Steven Gerrard didn't deserve the free-kick he got and afterwards Cesc Fabregas maybe touched the ball with his hand, but it shouldn't have been a free-kick."
One sour note for Wenger was that Russian midfielder Andrey Arshavin limped off with a hamstring injury and Samir Nasri was substituted with a head injury which left him nauseous.
Both will be assessed ahead of the Champions League trip to Porto next week, which will be the Gunners' next match as they are no longer in the FA Cup.
By John Percy (AFP)
CHELSEA put a protective arm around John Terry last night after a bad night at Goodison.
Terry was caught out as Louis Saha fired a superb goal - his second of the game after Florent Malouda's opener - to sink the Premier League leaders 2-1.
Sacked as England captain last week, Terry remains under pressure over his private life and has been given the nod to miss this weekend's FA Cup clash against Cardiff. Assistant boss Ray Wilkins said: "You have to give Louis Saha a bit of credit because he's a tough opponent.
"John got caught under the ball for the second one but he's been outstanding for us, so I'm sure it was the slightest of blips."
Everton boss Davie Moyes said: "Not many teams come back from 1-0 down to them."
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Washington Post Staff Writer
The high temperature of 4 degrees had come and gone one Sunday afternoon last December at the base of a mountain in Lake Louise, Alberta, when Lindsey Vonn found her husband, Thomas, and buried her head into the shoulder of his puffy ski jacket.
"I'm so depressed," she said quietly. He put his arm around her.
"Hey," Thomas Vonn said. "That's awesome."
There, in a tiny six-word exchange with her husband, everything was on display: Vonn's talent and potential, her desire and competitiveness -- and, more than anything, her expectations, both internal and external.She won two races that weekend and came within a blink of another, the beginning of a season that now includes nine pre-Olympic wins from a skier who has won the last two World Cup overall titles. She is widely considered, as Canadian ski federation president Gary Allan said, "just the most professional performer we have out here."
"She's not really depressed," Thomas Vonn explained later. "Racing just doesn't always go the way you expect it to go."
So she is expecting a bounty and is guaranteed nothing. Just six American skiers have ever won two medals in a single Olympics. None has won more than that. Yet now, with the Vancouver Games set to open Friday, here comes Vonn, a clear favorite for gold in the downhill and the super-G, a strong contender in the combined, a threat for a medal in both the slalom and the giant slalom -- though, hampered by an injured hand, she has struggled in the latter two disciplines during the World Cup season.
Three hundredths of a second could determine whether Vonn matches the breathless hopes that have been thrust upon her entering these Games or instead heads back to her home in Vail, Colo., or her home town of Burnsville, Minn., another victim of build-up that proved unmatchable.
In 2008, Michael Phelps went into the Beijing Olympics with a quest for eight gold medals. He delivered. Now, historic expectations are moved from one Games to the next, from one sport to another, whether or not the analogies apply.
Vonn is accepting, if not quite comfortable, with the expectations.
"What I've come to realize is that the only thing I can do is be prepared and -- physically, mentally -- do the best that I can every day," Vonn said. "At the end of the day, if people judge me for not succeeding or succeeding -- what have you -- that's their opinion. I have to be happy with my performance and what I've given."
What she has given is her life -- "my whole life," she said, almost all 25 years of it. And now, it is not just hers. Thomas Vonn was once a ski racer, too. The year of his lone Olympic appearance, 2002, was the year of Lindsey Kildow's first, when she was just 17. That same year, she and Vonn began dating, though he is nine years older and her father disapproved. In 2007, they got married.
Now, entering an Olympics in which she could be the marquee performer, they are rarely apart. Her career is their career, and when NBC's cameras are trained on Vonn before a race, during a race, after a race -- as they will undoubtedly be over the course of the next two-plus weeks -- expect a corresponding shot of Thomas's face, smiling or sullen. If she wins multiple events, they will have done it together. If she fails to earn even a single medal -- as Bode Miller, the featured product of 2006 pre-Olympic hype machine, learned was possible -- they will have done that together, too.
"Being married has really changed her," said Linda Krohn, Lindsey's mother. "It's made her so much calmer. It's really cool."
'Thomas, I need you'
Ski racing involves significantly more stewing than actual racing, with individual runs lasting two minutes at most. Days and months and years of preparation build to an occasionally unnerving tension in the moments before a race, when skiers gather at the top of a mountain, waiting their turn to churn through the starting gate, anxiety often more prevalent than oxygen at those altitudes.
Lindsey Vonn has won 31 World Cup races and is the most successful female American ski racer in history. Last February, when she climbed to the top of a downhill course in Val d'Isere, France, she was the woman to beat. She had won the super-G just six days earlier. Yet faced with this prospect -- the speedy downhill, her best discipline -- she was a wreck.
"I just got to the point where I couldn't function," Vonn said. "I was just a nervous wreck. Literally, I was shaking. I was like, 'I don't know if I can do this.' "
So the call went out over a radio: "Thomas, I need you."
This is the on-the-mountain portion of the most unique partnership in skiing. Fellow competitors, friends, rivals, they all seem to marvel at how this 34-year-old former World Cup skier -- a classic tinkerer with equipment, "Mr. Technology Guy," his wife called him -- works with this sturdy, 5-foot-10 natural talent who can win races on ability alone.
"She's way more of the free spirit, like, doesn't pay attention to details," Thomas Vonn said. "She just has the raw talent and drive to do it. And I'm way more of the technical guy."
That, though, undersells Thomas Vonn's role in all this. In fact, he guides almost every aspect of Lindsey's career. Lindsey Vonn's father, Alan Kildow, moved his family to Vail from the Minneapolis suburbs when Lindsey was 11. But according to Lindsey, he became overbearing when she reached the World Cup level. Alan Kildow did not attend the 2006 Olympics, did not attend his daughter's wedding, and is not in contact with Lindsey now.
Thomas Vonn, clearly, is the confidante through which every decision -- be it about equipment or scheduling or appearances -- runs.
"He does not want the limelight," said Krohn, who divorced Alan Kildow several years ago. "He doesn't want to be up on that stand, and he's been in those places before, on that Olympic stage. That's a wonderful deal. He wants to be behind her, supporting her."
But the relationship wasn't perfect from the start. Thomas Vonn first joined Lindsey on the road full-time more than three years ago, full of enthusiasm for his then-girlfriend's career, along with plenty of advice. That didn't always sit well with a skier who had already won races, several races, her way.
"She wasn't always receptive," Thomas Vonn said. "It was kind of like a reprogramming process, because she was always used to operating a different way, just totally winging it. 'Oh, I'm good this week, and not this week,' and not knowing why.
"It took a whole lot of battling from us in the beginning to where she trusted what I said. . . . It was frustrating, for sure. It was frustrating for both of us."
By the time Lindsey Vonn's knees knocked atop that mountain in Val d'Isere, those frustrations had melted away. Only a team remained.
"He's so real," Lindsey Vonn said. "He's always straight with me. He doesn't tell me what I want to hear. He tells me what I need to hear."
But he also knows enough to listen. Throw out the logistical aspects of Thomas Vonn's role in his wife's career -- the coaching and the equipment evaluations and the tactical advice -- and what remains is something of a sports psychologist. It was Thomas's idea to treat the 2009 world championships, Alpine skiing's most significant event outside of the Olympics, as a test run for Vancouver. Here, then, at the start of the downhill, was a moment from which they could learn.
So Thomas Vonn arrived at the top of the mountain and found his bride, who had seen what she considered to be a perfect run by Switzerland's Lara Gut and knew she had no margin for error. Thomas joked with her, talked to her, "gave me perspective," Lindsey said. She stopped shaking.
Fifteen skiers after Gut left the starting gate, Vonn shot down the hill. The nerves were gone. She won by more than half a second.
'She got up and raced'
Vonn's last Olympics are defined not by the numbers attached to her races -- eighth in the downhill, seventh in the super-G, 14th in the slalom and a DNF in the combined -- but by the following series of events: a violent crash during a downhill training run in which her body looked something like a fish flopping on a dock, an emergency helicopter flight from the Alpine village of San Sicario, Italy, to the host city of Turin, a stay in a hospital during which she alternately contemplated the end of her career and how best to escape, and then a return to skis less than 48 hours later.
The video of that accident, violent and spectacular all at once, has been shown widely in NBC's commercials leading up to the Games. It could bother a skier who has accomplished so much that her one major slip-up is how people view her prior to these Olympics. It doesn't. The gravity of the situation then -- doctors told her she might have broken her back or her hip or both -- gives it weight as she heads to Whistler, the mountain less than 80 miles outside Vancouver that will host the Alpine events.
"It was kind of a defining moment for me, personally," Vonn said. "That was the first time I had ever thought that I might not be able to ski again because of what the doctors were saying. It really was a wake-up call. I never wanted to miss another opportunity, and I never wanted to be in the finish and think that I could've done better or could've worked harder."
When Vonn was little, her mother remembers that it was "like pulling teeth" to get Lindsey to run a mile. Now, she'll do daily spinning workouts on a stationary bike for an hour and 45 minutes. "That's crazy," Krohn said. Her summertime, dry-land training sessions are legendary among her teammates and competitors alike. As former U.S. coach Patrick Riml, who now leads the Canadian team, said: "The talent was always there with Lindsey. Now, the focus is there, too."
"I know we get compared to her a lot, like, 'How come you guys aren't doing this like Lindsey?' " said veteran U.S. skier Stacey Cook, who will appear in her second Olympics in Vancouver. "I'm like, 'I'm never going to be as professional as her.' I have to have a little more fun. I have to do things that probably aren't good for my racing, but they're good for me, for my sanity. That's one way she's changed. She has everything -- everything -- down to the T. It's amazing."
When Vonn was 9, she first met her hero, Olympic champion Picabo Street, at an autograph signing. Street remembers it even now, she said, "not just because she was taller, but because her eyes were bright and attentive and she wasn't caught up in all the little menial stuff. She really paid attention and was absorbing it all."
Vonn and Street eventually became teammates at the 2002 Olympics, by which point Street was something of a mentor to the teenager. Street has watched Vonn develop on the mountain and off, watched her relationship with Thomas Vonn grow both personally and professionally, and has guided Vonn on how to handle various situations -- with sponsors, with life on the road, with the media -- throughout her career. Street believes, though, that the reasons for Vonn's success are fairly simple.
"Love for the fall line is something you can't teach," Street said, referring to the most direct -- and often most frightening -- path down a race course. "She was born with that, and that's never deviated. Lack of fear and a love for the fall line -- that's a combination that's tough to beat."
Street was there in the hospital in Turin in the days after the training crash, when Vonn's injuries were diagnosed merely as bad bruises and she was dealing with a tremendous amount of pain. There was, though, no fear of returning.
"She got up and raced," Thomas Vonn said.
And if she falls at Whistler, no one doubts she'll do the same again.
"I mean, Michael Phelps probably has no idea who I am," Lindsey Vonn was saying. "You know?"
She said this as a way of minimizing her fame, or certainly the potential for it, back in December, just a few days before she lost that super-G by three hundredths of a second. She sat on a couch in a nook of the grand Chateau Lake Louise, relaxed.
An hour earlier, she had arrived at an appointment with a reporter in a full sprint, racing through an elegant hotel hallway, hurling herself around a corner as if it were a slalom gate. "I'm so-so-so-so-so sorry," she said, because there had been a mix-up about the location of the interview. But instead of heading for the comfort of her room, Vonn had spent 30 minutes frantically trying to make the appointment work.
"Minnesota nice," is how her mother puts it, and it clearly makes Linda Krohn as proud as any Olympic medal would.
Should the next few weeks go as Lindsey Vonn hopes, American skiing will have an engine that could propel it to heights Miller couldn't push it to in 2006, that other stars from the past -- Street and the Mahre twins and Bill Johnson and Tommy Moe -- couldn't hope to attain. Part of that will be due to whatever she accomplishes. But part of that, no doubt, will be due to how she carries herself.
Vonn's model for all this is tennis legend Roger Federer, whom she met at last year's French Open, finagling a pass to his post-championship news conference, sitting in the back, watching how he handled it all.
"The one thing you draw from all of his interviews is how humble he is and how down to earth he is," Vonn said. She was a bit dumbfounded when Federer seemed to know who she was when they were introduced, then again when he recognized her at Wimbledon. She didn't seem to connect that such notoriety could be hers after these Olympics.
"I'm never going to be like Nicole Kidman," she said. "I'm not going to be some big star that everyone will know. For me, personally, I don't think it's going to change very much.
"But I don't know. My husband may have a different view of that."
Indeed, he does, and he has tried to prepare her for it, pointing out the attention she receives after World Cup races in Europe and reminding her that it'll be magnified at the Olympics.
"She likes to be skiing fast, and whatever position that puts her in, she's happy with it," he said.
As Thomas Vonn said this, the light was growing low in Lake Louise. Lindsey Vonn had just lost that super-G by those three hundredths of a second, and was heading to the warmth of the nearby lodge. First, though, she stood in the snow, her skis off and her boots on, signing autographs for kids who leaned up against a temporary fence that separated fans from athletes. Three hundredths of a second had just changed her result, as it could again this month in Vancouver. It couldn't, though, change her.
Posted by Nitu at 01:11
PST VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Breaking news from Planet Ohno:
Either that, or he's a black hole, growing more intense by drawing energy from all around him.
Apolo Anton Ohno, one-time Federal Way, Wash., mall rat who stands astride the American team at the Winter Games, said Tuesday that he's the most fit he's ever been entering an Olympics.
Ohno said he's down to 145 pounds with 2.5 percent body fat. That compares with 165 pounds at the 2002 in Salt Lake and 155 pounds in 2006 in Turin, Italy.
"I'm lifting almost double what I did before the World Cup three months ago," he said.
If that weren't enough, he seems to be the coolest dude in the warmest climate ever to host a Winter Games. If he feels any pressure about his opportunity to become the most decorated Winter Olympian in U.S. history, there were no visible fissures as he relaxed among his short-track teammates.
"Now, toward the end of my career, I have five Olympic medals, and I've accomplished every single thing I've wanted to do in the sport, in the Olympics and World Cups," he said. "I have a sense of calm. I feel very good with where I'm at. I'm doing this purely because I still love it."
Ohno's medal count (two golds, a silver and two bronzes) ties him with long-track speedskater Eric Heiden and is one short of another skater, Bonnie Blair. Starting with the 1,500-meter race Saturday, he has three individual races plus the team relay to put him in the books.
"Anytime anyone makes a reference to them, two of the greatest Olympians of all time, I'm kind of in awe, or shock, to be mentioned in the same sentence," he said. "I'm very optimistic. I have a killer instinct inside that I try to kind of hold back until Saturday when I let the beast loose."
Snow business: Olympic organizers opened parts of the Cypress Mountain to media, showing off a snow-covered moguls course with a big patches of dirt on either side. The snowboard halfpipe remained off limits.
"All in all, I think we are very positive about how things have come together," said Dick Vollet, the Vancouver organizing committee's head of mountain operations. "We are quite happy with where we are given that we are fighting Mother Nature and sometimes she can be very unforgiving."
Legal injection: The men's Alpine course at Whistler was injected with water. The International Ski Federation ordered the move, allowing the course to better withstand warm weather and rain. Critics, however, contend that courses injected with water can cause more skiers to fall.
The women's course at Whistler was not injected.
While temperatures on the mountain have been hovering around or above freezing in recent days, cooler conditions and snow were expected today, when men's downhill training begins.
When a course is injected, water is forced 1 or 2 feet deep into the snow through tiny nozzles on a high-pressure hose. As cold air seeps in, a layer of hard snow and ice forms. That prevents the slope from deteriorating from use or becoming sloppy in warm weather, rain or falling snow.
No dopes: Vancouver's state-of-the-art doping lab already has tested more than 200 blood and urine samples from Olympic athletes, and there have been no positives.
Dr. Christiane Ayotte, the scientist in charge of the facility, said the new facility at the Richmond Oval aims to process about 2,000 samples - 1,600 urine and about 400-500 blood samples - during the games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Posted by Nitu at 01:08
By Ailene Voisin / McClatchy Newspapers
NEW YORK — In front of a Madison Square Garden audience that sang his name, cheered his performance, and applauded him again at the end, Omri Casspi’s teammates gave him the sweetest gift of all.
They gave him a win. They eased his burden, protected his wing, and when he faltered in the second half, emotionally and physically exhausted from two days of interviews and receptions, they provided the final, fateful push.
"I was so happy for him," Tyreke Evans said Tuesday night after the Sacramento Kings defeated the New York Knicks 118-114 in overtime, a wide, boyish grin on his face. "I know how much this meant to him. There so many Jewish people here. It was almost a home game for him."
This was Omri Casspi’s night, Jewish Heritage Night, and the night a performance lived up to the hype.
En route to stopping a six-game losing streak their first road win since that comeback victory in Chicago, a span of 11 games the Kings had contributions from almost all of their youngsters, got nine consecutive overtime points from Kevin Martin, and rewarded coach/mad scientist Paul Westphal for his chronic, often weird, always unconventional tinkering.
Tuesday night, Westphal utilized a zone defense during the fourth-quarter comeback, benched Spencer Hawes after six defensively lackluster minutes, decided to bring Martin off the bench because his veteran missed shootaround with a migraine and suspected he would be unavailable. He played Casspi, Evans and Donte’ Greene major minutes, well aware his twentysomethings have yet another game tonight in Detroit.
But like he said later. This wasn’t just another game. They knew it, they earned it. Greene, stroking jumpers, rebounding, hustling. Jason Thompson, leaping and muscling for 11 boards. Martin, swiping a key offensive rebound in the extra period. Casspi, scoring 16 first-half points. And Evans, and especially in the final five minutes of regulation.
With the Knicks up 101-93 and four minutes left, the rookie point guard twice penetrated and found Thompson for dunks.
He even blamed himself for a miscommunication with 39 seconds left, when Casspi cut one way, suddenly turned the other way at the same time Evans was throwing the pass.
"If we had lost that game because of that play," said Evans, shaking his head. "I would have been so mad at myself because I’m the point guard."
No one, of course, was more satisfied than Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the league. His Manhattan visit was an ongoing series of interviews, receptions and gatherings with relatives, media members, Jewish dignitaries, with NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Approximately 1,000 tickets were purchased by Jewish groups, and before the game, youngsters in yarmulkes crowded the baseline.
During the game fans waved Israeli flags, gasped at Casspi’s play, and lingered appreciatively at the end.
But like the quarterback who buys his linemen dinner for having his back, Casspi should spring for the steaks Wednesday night in Detroit. These same teammates who jokingly accused him of setting NBA records for appearances, who intuitively, graciously, understood the pressure and sensed what this meant, were thoughtful and accommodating throughout.
At the buzzer, it was all there, relief, elation, gratitude. With another wide smile on his face, Evans immediately turned and reached for Casspi. Thompson and Greene waited for him at midcourt, where the three posed for photos. Casspi looked into the stands at his brother (Eitan) and father (Shimon), who stood there clapping, beaming.
"When I left the court," said Casspi before leaving, "it was one of the most exciting moments of my life."
(c) 2010, The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.). Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Daily News Staff Writer
SAN JOSE — Tommy Haas remembers when his first-round opponent, wild-card Devin Britton, was a ballboy. Then he watched him develop into a professional player. Now he's playing against him.
Haas needed a tiebreaker to beat Britton 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the first round of the SAP Open at San Jose's HP Pavilion on Tuesday.
Haas remembered Britton as a youth and was on hand for his first professional match against Roger Federer at the U.S. Open.
Britton, who played in his third career main draw singles match on the ATP tour, became the youngest player to win the NCAA championship last May as a freshman at Mississippi.
Bjorn Phau of Germany beat No. 8 Jeremy Chardy of France 6-3, 6-1.
American Michael Russell, who played in his first professional tournament two years ago when he was 15, beat lucky loser Kyu Tae Im of Korea 7-6 (8), 6-1.
No. 7 seed Sam Querry took care of Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili, 6-3, 6-2; teenager Ricardas Berankis, the former No. 1 junior in the world, beat American Robby Ginepri 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3; Benjamin Becker topped Tim Smyczek, 6-4, 6-2; and Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated Rajeev Ram 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-3.
American Mardy Fish withdrew from his singles match because of a left knee injury, but plans to remain in the doubles draw with Sam Querry. The duo won their first doubles match Monday and don't play again until Thursday.
Fish, a two-time finalist here, had September surgery on the knee and was able to compete in the Australian Open.
"For whatever reason, the knee is not where it needs to be and not 100 percent," Fish said in a statement. "It's frustrating because I've always played well here. I want to be healthy and I've put a lot of work in to get ready."
Top-seeded Andy Roddick meets qualifier Ryler DeHeart in his first match today.
DOUBLES RESULTS (first round): Benjamin Becker, Germany, and Leonardo Mayer, Argentina, def. Scott Lipsky and David Martin, United States, 2-6, 7-6 (6), 12-10; Denis Istomin, Uzbekistan, and Dudi Sela, Israel, def. Jeremy Chardy, France, and Jarkko Nieminen, Finland, 6-3, 3-6, 10-8; Johan Brunstrom, Sweden, and Jean-Julien Rojer (3), Netherlands Antilles, def. Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic, and Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany, 7-6 (2), 6-2; Bob and Mike Bryan (1), United States, def. Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski, Britain, 6-2, 6-4.
Meulman avenges loss to No. 1
St. Francis wrestler Drew Meulman avenged his only loss of the season by defeating College Park's Ory Elor 3-2 Saturday to win the Mission San Jose tournament heavyweight title.
Meulman fought off a late takedown attempt by Elor and came around from behind to score the deciding takedown in the final seconds of the match.
Elor entered the match ranked No. 1 in California, with Meulman No. 2.
Posted by Nitu at 01:04
By JEROME SOLOMON Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
Put past behind them
No more ‘what-if'
Posted by Nitu at 01:03
Conference hires Kevin Weiberg as a strategic move toward that goal.
By Baxter Holmes
Kevin Weiberg's hiring as chief operating officer and deputy commissioner of the Pacific 10 Conference was a strategic move toward the goal of launching a television sports network, Commissioner Larry Scott said Tuesday.
"A Pac-10 network was something that we were going to seriously explore," Scott said in a conference call with reporters. "The timing is such that now we're less than a year away from our negotiating period, our analysis and evaluation has to get more serious and more rigorous.
"Kevin will absolutely be a key player in that with his in-depth background."
Scott also talked about possibly adding teams to the conference.
"To me, the logic if the Pac-10 is going to think about expanding, now is our window," Scott said.
"The reason being if you're going to consider a reconstruction of the conference, there's a value proposition associated with that. Given that we're about to have negotiations regarding our media rights, it makes sense that if you're going to do it, to do it when you can monetize it."
Scott said there have been "no serious discussions" with any schools.
The Pac-10's television contract with Fox Sports Net is set to expire after the 2011-12 academic year.
In a former capacity, Weiberg helped launch and expand the range of the Big Ten Network as vice president of university planning and development. Before that, he was commissioner of the Big 12 Conference for nine years and the Big Ten's deputy commissioner from 1989 to 1998.
Scott said a Pac-10 network could help dissipate the revenue gap between the Pac-10 and other Bowl Championship Series conferences such as the Big Ten and Southeastern, both of which have networks.
Associated Press contributed to this report
Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times
Posted by Nitu at 01:02