tampabay.com

Blake to face Ljubicic in Thailand Open final

By TIMES WIRES
Published October 1, 2006


BANGKOK, Thailand - Third-seeded James Blake rallied from a set down to beat former world No. 1 Marat Safin 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) to reach the Thailand Open final.

Blake, a Tampa resident, faces Top-seeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia had little trouble beating Paradorn Srichaphan 6-3, 6-2.

Blake, who has never beaten Ljubicic, is chasing his fourth ATP title this year.

Safin had a chance to break Blake down 5-4 in the second set, but sent a forehand long. The Russian fought off three set points but lost on another forehand error.

"Every time I play him, it is always tough," Blake said. "When he plays well, I try to raise my game to get close to him. Now I'm feeling pretty good."

TRACK AND FIELD

WADA wants explanation

The laboratory that tested sprinter Marion Jones' A and B samples is expected to report to the World Anti-Doping Agency within two weeks on why the results did not match.

WADA director general David Howman said at the IAAF symposium there were possible reasons why the A and B samples did not match, such as the sample may have deteriorated or the banned substance may have faded from the sample. Howman also raised the possibility of sample manipulation.

FIFTH AVENUE MILE: Kevin Sullivan, a four-time NCAA champion at Michigan who arrived in New York three hours before the race, won in 3 minutes, 54.1 seconds. Sara Hall, a four-time silver medalist in the NCAA cross country championships while at Stanford, captured the women's race in 4:28.0.

Spartathlon: Scott Jurek of the United States won the 152-mile race in Greece in 22 hours, 52 minutes, 18 seconds. Japan's Inagaki Sumie was the top woman, finishing in 28:37:20.

COLLEGES

FSU gets first ACC loss

The Seminoles dropped a 3-0 (30-32, 27-30, 30-32) volleyball match at Clemson. It was FSU's first loss in the ACC as it dropped to 4-1, 10-4 overall.

MORE VOLLEYBALL: Eckerd (11-7, 2-4) beat visiting Florida Tech 3-0 (30-11, 30-14, 30-14) in Sunshine State Conference match. Florida Tech (2-16) remains winless in conference play.

Men's soccer: USF suffered its second straight Big East loss with a 1-0 defeat at Rutgers, even though the Bulls outshot the Scarlet Knights 19-12. ... Garrett Gaa's shot from outside the box with 6 minutes, 55 seconds remaining snapped a tie game and gave Florida Southerna 2-1 win over Eckerd in Lakeland.

CROSS COUNTRY: The 16th-ranked Tampa women's team won the team championship at the NCAA II Pre-Nationals. The men's team finished sixth out of 11.

ET CETERA

BASKETBALL: Former Lions QB Charlie Batch and former Michigan basketball standout Antoine Joubert announced the debut of the Detroit Panthers, a new American Basketball Association franchise. ... Rookie guard Mike Gansey was waived by the Miami Heat, three days before the defending NBA champion open training camp.

BOXING: Former WBC light-flyweight champion Eric Ortiz knocked down Benji Garcia in the ninth round and took a unanimous 10-round decision Friday night.

HORSES: Wait a While earned a record 4½-length victory in $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes in Arcadia, Calif. She takes a four-race winning streak into the Filly & Mare Turf at the Breeders' Cup on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

MLS: Host Kansas City Wizards and Real Salt Lake fought to a wild 3-3 tie, further complicating the playoff races in both the Eastern and Western conferences. ... Brian Ching's bicycle-kick shot in the 86th minute gave host Houston Dynamo a 1-0 win over D.C. United. ... Teenager Josmer Jozy Altidore scored his third goal in four games, giving host New York Red Bulls a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire. ... The Columbus Crew were eliminated from playoff contention despite beating FC Dallas 3-1 on goals by Joseph Ngwenya, Jacob Thomas and Jason Garey. ... Steve Ralston scored on a first-half penalty kick and collected an assist on a second-half goal as the New England Revolution beat the Colorado Rapids 3-1.