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Loss slows Sharapova's bid for No. 1

By wire services
Published May 7, 2005


BERLIN - Maria Sharapova's bid to become the top-ranked player by winning the German Open ended Friday with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Justine Henin-Hardenne in a cold and rainy quarterfinal.

Sharapova was trying to overtake Lindsay Davenport for the No. 1 spot, but she ran into one of the world's best clay-court tennis players, who extended her winning streak to 15 matches.

"It's not like I'm going to go home and cry. I'm not disappointed at not being No. 1," the top-seeded Sharapova said. "I'm only 18, I'm No. 2 and I'm pretty satisfied at the moment."

Amelie Mauresmo and U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova also lost.

Sharapova can gain the top ranking in Rome or at the French Open, which begins May 23.

Also, Lars Rehmann, director of the club hosting the German Open, was suspended because of a story in the tournament program that described the club as having its "golden years" after Jewish members were expelled by Nazis.

ROME MASTERS: Andre Agassi defeated Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the clay-court tuneup for the French Open. Also, Guillermo Coria topped Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and Rafael Nadal defeated No. 15 seed Radek Stepanek 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. Nadal earned his 39th win of the season and improved to 29-2 on clay, both tops on ATP Tour.

GRAND PRIX SAR: Defending champion Emilie Loit beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-4, 7-5 to reach the semifinals in Rabat, Morocco.

HOCKEY: U.S. rallies for tie

Mark Parrish scored with 40 seconds left when the puck bounced into the net off his skate, lifting the United States to a 4-4 tie with Finland in Innsbruck, Austria, in the second round of the world championships. The Americans salvaged a point after squandering a 3-1 lead in the third period. On Sunday the United States faces Sweden, which plays Canada today. Also, Russia and Switzerland played to a 3-3 tie in Vienna, and in the relegation group, Slovenia topped Denmark 4-3 and Austria tied Germany at 2.

LABOR TALKS: In Toronto, the NHL made a new offer to the players' association but no headway was made toward ending the lockout. NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly, who declined to provide details of the proposal, said no progress was made.

WEIGHTLIFTING: A St. Petersburg winner

St. Petersburg's Christopher LeRoux came off a two-year hiatus to win the USA Weightlifting national title in his 136.5-pound weight class. LeRoux's 298-pound clean-and-jerk lift gave him the points needed to claim the title. The weightlifting coach at Northside Christian then said he was giving up competing - again. "I'm retired now," he said. "I love coaching now."

BASKETBALL: Ex-Bull leads Israeli club

Former USF player Derrick Sharp had 20 points to lead defending champion Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel past Greek club Panathinaikos 91-82 in the semifinals of the Euroleague Final Four in Moscow. Spain's Tau Ceramica defeated CSKA Moscow 85-78 to earn the other spot in Sunday's final.

ET CETERA

SOCCER: The sport's European ruling body, UEFA, is scheduled to meet Sunday to decide on a punishment for CSKA Moscow, whose fans threw firecrackers onto the field in Thursday's UEFA Cup semifinal against Parma. Parma lodged a complaint after goalkeeper Luca Bucci was hit on the head by a flare.

BOXING: Jose Luis Castillo brings his WBC 135-pound title and Diego Corrales brings the WBO version of the belt into tonight's unifying lightweight title bout in Las Vegas. Also on the card is a featherweight title fight between IBF and WBA champion Juan Manuel Marquez and Victor Polo, who makes his sixth attempt at winning a title.