National Sports Briefs: Sharapova loses in French
PARIS ó The final score of Maria Sharapova’s stunning loss in the French Open quarterfinals Tuesday did not look quite as embarrassing as it nearly did: Her opponent led 6-0, 5-0.
That Sharapova saved a match point in the 12th game and wound up delaying her defeat for 15 minutes was of no consolation, of course. All that mattered was that her bid to complete a career Grand Slam this year ended when she was beaten 6-0, 6-2 by 20th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova.
“I don’t really care about numbers. It’s either a ‘W’ or an ‘L,”‘ Sharapova said, “and I prefer ‘W.”‘
Her absence from the tour dropped her ranking outside the top 100. Still, as a former No. 1 and a three-time major champion, Sharapova was expected to beat Cibulkova, a 20-year-old Slovak who was making her Grand Slam quarterfinal debut and whose chief financial backer is not a shoe company or a racket manufacturer but, instead, a friend of her coach from back home in Bratislava.
– 23rd-seeded Robin Soderling stretched his career-best winning streak to eight matches by easily handling two-time French Open semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó Memphis says it should keep the victories from the 2007-08 season which ended in the national title game after an internal investigation turned up no proof that a former men’s basketball player cheated on his SAT exam.
– LITTLE ROCK, Ark. ó Former Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley repeated his earlier claim that somebody wrote a paper for him while he was with the Razorbacks, but he backed off comments he’d made that implicated teammates.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ó The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions responded Tuesday to Florida State’s appeal of sanctions from an academic cheating scandal, but kept its answer secret and gave the school 15 days to respond.
Florida State is challenging a portion of the sanctions announced in March that would force the school to vacate as many as 14 of Bowden’s 382 career wins ó just one fewer than Penn State’s Joe Paterno.
– BOSTON ó Boston College quarterback Dominique Davis is transferring after his academic suspension. The school said Tuesday he has not decided where he will go.
The Eagles are coming off a 9-5 season and Davis was projected to start this fall. He started the last three games as a redshirt freshman following an injury to senior Chris Crane.
DETROIT ó Television ratings for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals are up from the first game.
The NBC telecast drew a 3.4 rating and a 6 share. That’s up from the 2.6 rating and 5 share of Saturday’s Game 1.
– NEW YORK ó Potential owner Jim Balsillie has filed an application for the relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes, a move expected to happen later this week.
Balsillie application includes details why he believes the NHL should consider his proposal to purchase the team for $212.5 million and bring it to Hamilton, Ontario.
OBAMA PICKS LAKERS
WASHINGTON ó OK, Mr. President, let’s see how you do picking the pro game. Barack Obama thinks the Los Angeles Lakers are going to win the NBA crown.
The president was on his way to the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn on Tuesday when a reporter shouted a question. The topic: Who is going to win the NBA championship, the Lakers or the Orlando Magic?
Said the smiling president: “Lakers in six, I think.” In sports terms, that means the Lakers will win the best-of-seven series in six games.
So far so good this year for Obama. A huge basketball fan, he correctly predicted that that the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team would win the NCAA championship.
Obama left Tuesday on a trip to the Middle East.
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Orlando Magic players say Jameer Nelson will play in the NBA finals, even though the All-Star point guard and his coach remain publicly pessimistic.
Nelson participated in a full team practice Tuesday for the first time since tearing the labrum in his right shoulder Feb. 2. While Nelson and coach Stan Van Gundy still said the point guard’s status won’t be determined until game day, players said Nelson looked “terrific” and expect him to be on the court against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I expect to see him out there at some point in the series,” backup point guard Anthony Johnson said.
– MADRID ó The Utah Jazz will play Real Madrid as part of the NBA’s Europe Live preseason tour.
NEW ORLEANS ó Saints fans were ready to buy tickets when the NFL team returned to New Orleans in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation ó and they’re lining up again despite the national recession.
The franchise has sold out the 70,000-seat Louisiana Superdome for a fourth straight year.
– ST. LOUIS ó St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts is heading a group seeking to buy the NFL’s Rams and keep the team in St. Louis.
– IRVING, Texas ó The Dallas Cowboys have released Greg Ellis, ending the linebacker’s career after 11 seasons and the eighth-most sacks in club history.
– SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó San Francisco cornerback Nate Clements will miss the 49ers’ minicamp this weekend with a case of pneumonia.
OKLAHOMA CITY ó Kimi Pohlman raced home on a squibber back to the circle that Florida ace Stacey Nelson couldn’t handle, giving Washington the decisive run in a 3-2 victory for its first NCAA softball championship Tuesday night.
With the bases loaded in the third inning, Morgan Stuart tapped the ball a few feet in front of home plate, but Nelson (41-5) was unable to scoop it cleanly. That allowed the go-ahead run to score.