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In brief

Roddick's Roman holiday cut short by Canas

By wire services
Published May 5, 2004

ROME - Andy Roddick's visit to Rome was a rough one, starting with a fire in his hotel and ending with a first-round upset in the Italian Open.

"It's tough to put it out of your mind. You know it's going to creep in," Roddick said after losing to Guillermo Canas 7-6 (7-6), 6-1 Tuesday.

The U.S. Open champion wasted three set points in the tiebreaker, then put up little resistance in the second set. Not the kind of performance Roddick hoped for in his preparation for the French Open.

Three tourists died in a dawn fire Saturday in the five-star hotel where Roddick and several other players and officials were staying. They were evacuated and moved to another hotel.

"I wasn't concentrating for one reason or another," the American said, although he didn't directly point to the fire as a distraction.

In contrast, top-ranked Roger Federer, playing his first clay-court tournament of the year, eliminated Jonas Bjorkman 7-6 (6-4), 6-3. Federer was a finalist in Rome last year and has since won Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

DAVIS CUP: Gustavo Luza resigned as the coach of Argentina's team. Last week, third-ranked Guillermo Coria and No.8 David Nalbandian sent a letter to the Argentine Tennis Association asking that Luza be removed. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the players to call for his resignation, but the letter was signed by the five players who regularly compete in Davis Cup.

GERMAN OPEN: Jennifer Capriati breezed into the third round in Berlin by beating local wild-card entry Julia Schruff 6-3, 6-1.

SHORT RETIRMENT: Just 18 months after she retired, former world No.1 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is playing in the German Open because she wants to make Spain's Olympic team.

AUTOS: Formula One to get makeover

Formula One approved changes to make racing more affordable for underfinanced teams hoping to compete with free-spending Ferrari. One of the most radical measures would put all teams on the same tires, possibly as early as 2006. Spare cars, which drivers fall back on if they crash, could be banned next year, said Max Mosley, head of the International Automobile Federation, the sport's governing body. Teams meeting in Monaco also agreed to reduce the power of engines and make them last longer than one race; to use standard brakes and to get rid of expensive electronic driver aids.

DOPING: Shot putter suspended two years

American shot put champion Kevin Toth was suspended for two years after testing positive for the steroid THG. Toth tested positive in June, July and August, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said. Toth, whose suspension started Monday, was stripped of his first-place finish in the 2003 U.S. outdoor championships and a fourth-place finish at the world championships.

ET CETERA

GOLF: Michelle Wie hired Mike "Fluff" Cowan as her caddie at the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill, Va. Cowan worked for Tiger Woods when he won the Masters in 1997. He has worked the past five years for U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, out indefinitely recovering from wrist surgery.

HORSES: Cheiron, trained by Kristin Mulhall, was the latest Preakness defection, leaving six horses set to take on Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones in the May 15 second leg of the Triple Crown.

SOCCER: David Beckham is estimated to be the highest-paid player in the world if his off-the-field income is included. Beckham, who makes $26.8-million a year, topped the annual list by France Football magazine. It was the second straight year he was No.1.

- Compiled from Times wires.

[Last modified May 5, 2004, 01:00:41]


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