tampabay.com

Hingis has to labor to advance

By wire services
Published March 3, 2006


DOHA, Qatar - Martina Hingis defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Qatar Open.

Hingis faces top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo in today's semifinal. Mauresmo, ranked No. 2 in the world, beat Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-0.

Second-seeded Nadia Petrova beat Na Li 6-4, 6-4 and meets Ai Sugiyama, who beat Julia Schruff 6-3, 6-2.

Hingis, a former Qatar champion, struggled to a tiebreaker win in the first set. Hingis broke Kuznetsova three times in the second.

DUBAI OPEN: Top-seeded Roger Federer moved into the semifinals in the United Arab Emirates with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Robin Vik. Second-seeded Rafael Nadal ended wild-card Tim Henman's run 7-6 (7-1), 6-1. Federer meets Mikhail Youzhny in the semifinals, and Nadal faces Rainer Schuettler.

MEXICAN OPEN: Second-seeded Gaston Gaudio outlasted Marcos Daniel 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the semifinals in Acapulco. Luis Horna defeated Agustin Calleri 6-3, 6-4. In women's play, top-seeded Flavia Pennetta beat Maria Jose Martinez 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0.

TENNIS CHANNEL OPEN: Paul Goldstein beat Vince Spadea 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals in Las Vegas. No. 2 seed Nicolas Kiefer pulled out against Kenneth Carlsen because of sinusitis.

PACIFIC LIFE OPEN: A new group of investors that includes Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King will help provide backing to keep the tournament in Indian Wells, Calif. The tournament has struggled financially since a deal with a European marketing firm ended when the company went out of business.

BORG AUCTION: Bjorn Borg is selling his five Wimbledon trophies and two of the Donnay rackets he used in his record five-year winning streak. The silver gilt trophies will be sold June 21 in London as one lot and may fetch the equivalent of $523,500, auction house Bonhams said.

SOCCER: Germans told to relax

German fans concerned about Wednesday's 4-1 defeat in Italy needn't worry because home advantage may ensure the team reaches the World Cup final, according to a study. Oliver Koppel of the IW Institute in Cologne, a business research body, said that in the 18 tournaments since 1930, the host nation has advanced an average of 2.5 rounds further than when playing abroad. Germany usually reaches the quarterfinals or better.

LEGEND URGES CAUTION: Former Brazilian star Pele thinks the defending World Cup champion needs to be cautious. "Brazil is good, no doubt; four months before the World Cup they are the best team," Pele said. "But in the World Cup, sometimes it takes just one game for you to go out."

COLLEGES: Champs subdue 'Noles

The Florida State softball team lost its third game to a ranked team this season, falling 9-0 to visiting Michigan, the defending national champion ranked No. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA poll. Wolverines starter Jennie Ritter struck out nine in six innings, and Tiffany Haas hit a grand slam.

TRACK: Florida senior Jyn Wynn, sophomore All-American Lakecia Ealey, freshman Shannon Leinert and sophomore Natalie Moser of Tampa improved their NCAA rankings at the Florida FastTimes meet. Indoor freshman Wes Stockbarger hit the first NCAA provisional of his career in the shot put for the men.

ET CETERA

ARENA FOOTBALL: Former Bucs defensive tackle Cleveland Pinkney signed with the Orlando Predators. Pinkney, 6 feet 1, 300 pounds, spent five seasons in the NFL, including 2003 with the Bucs. He was on the active roster for 13 weeks and had four tackles and a sack in four games. He was waived in the 2004 preseason. Pinkney becomes the sixth former Buc on the Predators roster, joining quarterback Joe Hamilton, kicker Jay Taylor, fullback/linebacker Idris Price, lineman Greg White and offensive specialist DeAndrew Rubin.

- FRANK PASTOR, Times staff writer

CYCLING: Spain's Comunidad Valenciana team won an invite to this year's Tour de France after being excluded from the past two because of a drugs scandal involving one of its riders.