National Sports Briefs
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 8, 2008
TIANJIN, China ó Stuart Holden ended the United States’ three-game scoring drought with a goal in the second half, giving the Americans a 1-0 victory over Japan on Thursday in the Olympic opener for both.
The Scottish-born Holden struck a loose ball at the top of the penalty area that Japanese goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa was able to slow, but couldn’t keep from trickling over the line in the 47th minute.
This was a welcome change for Holden. He hasn’t scored for Houston in 16 Major League Soccer games this season but had three goals in the North American SuperLiga.
A victory was critical for both teams with the more heavily favored Dutch and Nigerians yet to play in Group B.
“It was very important,” U.S. midfielder Freddy Adu said. “Now we have to go against Holland, then Nigeria. I couldn’t be happier. The guys couldn’t be happier. Peter (Nowak, the coach) couldn’t be happier.”
– BEIJING ó Top-ranked Roger Federer will play Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov in the first round of the Beijing Olympics tennis tournament, while rival Rafael Nadal could face a difficult second-round matchup in the draw announced Thursday.
Nadal, who will replace Federer atop the rankings the week after the Olympic tournament, drew Italy’s Potito Starace in the first round. But the Wimbledon and French Open champion could meet former No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt of Australia or veteran Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden in the second round.
– LOS ANGELES ó A day before the Olympics kick off in Beijing, NBC Universal announced it has garnered more than $1 billion in advertising revenue for the event for which it spent $894 million to acquire the U.S. broadcast and digital rights.
The network is planning 3,600 hours of TV and Internet coverage of the 17-day event, which begins with the opening ceremony today.
WINSTON-SALEM ó The wife of Wake Forest assistant basketball coach Jeff Battle has died of lung cancer.
Joyce Battle died Wednesday. She was 44.
Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman called her “an exceptional person who lived her life with a tremendous amount of dignity.” He credited her for “the tremendous example she set during this fight.”
She played guard in the 1980s at Fayetteville State, averaging 6.1 assists per game in 1983-84, and was an assistant coach at Delaware State, where she met Jeff Battle. Most recently, she taught and coached basketball at a middle school in Winston-Salem.
LOS ANGELES ó Former four-time champion Sugar Shane Mosley intends to prove again that he’s one of the best fighters around, so that means he must beat the best.
Mosley, who turns 37 on Sept. 7, faces Ricardo Mayorga on Sept. 27 but already is lobbying for a shot at WBA welterweight champion Antonio Margarito.
“I go after the best fighter. It doesn’t matter who it is,” Mosley said. “When Mayweather (Floyd Mayweather Jr.) was on top before he retired, I wanted Mayweather. Margarito is the best welterweight out there right now, so I want Margarito.”
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. ó Kim Terrell-Kearney won the first professional championship match featuring two black bowlers, beating Trisha Reid 216-189 in the U.S. Bowling Congress’ U.S. Women’s Open.
LOS ANGELES ó The Los Angeles Clippers acquired still another player during their busy offseason, signing free-agent point guard Jason Williams on Thursday. The 32-year-old Williams averaged 8.8 points and 4.6 assists.