National Sports Briefs
MADRID, Spain ó Doubles players Mardy Fish and Mike Bryan did their part to keep the United States’ hopes of defending their Davis Cup title alive against Spain on Saturday.
Now it’s Andy Roddick’s turn.
Fish and Bryan rallied to beat Spanish duo Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to give the U.S. its first semifinals point on the clay at Las Ventas bullfighting arena after being swept in Friday’s singles play.
With Spain leading 2-1 and looking to reach its sixth final, the pressure falls squarely on Roddick and his decisive match against Nadal in the first reverse singles rubber on Sunday.
“I’m not worried. (Andy) knows what he has to do, he’s been in this position many times before,” U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said.
Roddick is 10-4 when playing the fourth match in Davis Cup play. But he has never beaten a player ranked higher than him in three previous tries.
Today, the 26-year-old Nebraska native will have to contend with not only the four-time French Open champion but a raucous 21,000 fans who are welcoming Nadal back this weekend for the first time since he won Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal.
INDIANAPOLIS ó Pairings have been set for the annual Wooden Tradition, with Purdue taking on Davidson and Stephen Curry, the nation’s top returning scorer.
Southern Illinois will play Saint Mary’s of California in the second matchup of the Dec. 20 doubleheader at Conseco Fieldhouse. Both are first-time Wooden participants.
Curry averaged 25.9 points last season and led the Wildcats to their first Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA tournament.
The annual college basketball showcase is named for former Purdue player and UCLA coach John Wooden
PITTSBURGH ó The Pittsburgh Steelers added rookie linebacker Patrick Bailey to their roster on Saturday and released second-year running back Gary Russell.
Bailey, an undrafted rookie from Duke, spent the first two games of the season on the Steelers’ practice squad.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó Baseball’s instant replay system produced its first reversal when Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena had a two-run double changed to a three-run homer during the fourth inning against Minnesota.
Pena’s drive to right field off Boof Bonser appeared to be touched by a fan before bouncing off the top of the fence. First base umpire Mike DiMuro signaled fan interference, bringing both managers out of the dugout.
The umpires huddled immediately and decided to look at the video for the third test of the system since Aug. 28, when baseball allowed umpires to use it determine boundary calls.
The crowd erupted in cheers when the umpires returned to the field and crew chief Gerry Davis signaled home run. The process took 4 minutes, 10 seconds.
– MIAMI ó It’s over for A-Rod and his wife of more than five years. New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and Cynthia Rodriguez reached a settlement of their divorce, their lawyers confirmed.
PREP PLAYER DIES
GREENVILLE ó A Greenville high school football player has died after collapsing during a game.
Pitt Memorial Hospital nursing supervisor Irene Singleton told Raleigh television station WRAL on Saturday that Jaquan Waller died after being injured during Friday’s game. A cause of death wasn’t available.
J.H. Rose High School coach Todd Lipe said in a release that the junior running back was a dedicated player who was well liked by his teammates.
Lipe is a former All-American at Catawba and was also once an assistant at A.L. Brown.