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Tennis briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001


U.S. trails Swiss 2-1 in Davis Cup play

BASEL, Switzerland -- The United States team and new captain Patrick McEnroe could make a historic exit -- or comeback -- in the Davis Cup.

The Americans trail Switzerland 2-1 and face first-round elimination for the first time since 1993 in the best-of-five series after the Swiss pair of Roger Federer and Lorenzo Manta defeated Jan-Michael Gambill and Justin Gimelstob 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 Saturday.

American Davis Cup teams have rallied five times after trailing 2-1 going into Sunday's two singles. The first American captain to bring his team back was Richard Norris Williams in 1934.

It might all be academic as the United States seeks a record 32nd Davis Cup title.

The 19-year-old Federer, one of the top young talents in the game, could oust the United States in today's first singles against Gambill. He's 2-0 against Gambill and won his first ATP Tour event last weekend.

"The confidence is there," Federer said after keying the Swiss win Saturday. "You can take more risks when you're confident. We were playing well. I took some chances and every time it paid off."

"It's a very good position to be in, but we expected from the start that it might go to the last match," Swiss captain Jakob Hlasek said. The Swiss haven't won the Davis Cup, but have reached the final once.

In the Dutch city of Eindhoven, Spain's two-month reign as Davis Cup champion ended against the Netherlands. Sjeng Schalken and Paul Haarhuis downed Alex Corretja and Juan Balcells 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (12-10) to clinch victory at 3-0 and render today's singles matches irrelevant.

In other matches, Ecuador cut Australia's lead to 2-1, France cruised past Belgium and Brazil beat Morocco, Russia edged ahead of Slovakia, Romania won the doubles to lead Germany 2-1 and Sweden moved 2-1 ahead of the Czech Republic.

GAS DE FRANCE: Amelie Mauresmo beat Nathalie Tauziat 6-2, 6-1 and meets Anke Huber in the final.

Huber beat Madgalena Maleeva 6-4, 7-5 at Paris' Pierre de Coubertin indoor tennis stadium.

"My goal was to get into the match straight away. That's what I tried to do, it worked," Mauresmo said.

The third-seeded Tauziat, who beat Serena Williams to take the title in 2000, lost in 57 minutes this year.

Player arrested

WESLEY CHAPEL -- Junior standout Dax Hankerson, 18, of Tampa was arrested Saturday and charged with driving under the influence, Pasco County sheriff's deputies said.

Hankerson, who turned professional after playing at South Florida last year, was seen driving a black Land Rover in a water-retention area near Interstate 75 and State Road 54, deputies said.

Hankerson told the Times on Saturday that he was driving through the grass to get past a line of traffic.

His blood-alcohol level was 0.237, nearly three times the level the state considers a driver legally impaired, deputies said.

Hankerson said he didn't take a Breathalyzer test until three hours after the accident.

"Don't be surprised if the charge gets dropped," he said.

Hankerson starred at Saddlebrook Academy. He was one one of the top eight finishers in the state 18-year-old tournament last year.

Hankerson was released Saturday afternoon from county jail after posting $250 bail, deputies said.

- Staff writer Ryan Davis contributed to this report.

* * *

TODAY ON TV: Davis Cup (taped), 2 p.m., ESPN.

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