TennisS. Williams opens Grand Slam Cup with rout of...

Sports Digest

September 29, 1999

Tennis

S. Williams opens Grand Slam Cup with rout of Sanchez-Vicario

Her game growing more formidable, Serena Williams opened play at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, Germany, yesterday with a show of strength worthy of her U.S. Open title.

She defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, 6-3, 6-1, in the $6.7 million event. The showcase features the eight women and 12 men with the best records at the year's four Grand Slam tournaments.

Williams, who turned 18 Sunday, was facing an opponent who, at 27, is the oldest female player in the field. Williams could meet her sister, Venus, in the final. Venus won the women's title last year.

With Pete Sampras and Patrick Rafter injured, Andre Agassi leads the men's division. Agassi, winner of the French Open and the U.S. Open this season, has a first-round bye and plays tomorrow.

In men's opening matches, Richard Krajicek served 12 aces in a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Vince Spadea, and Greg Rusedski also reached the quarterfinals by beating Gustavo Kuerten, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Rusedski will play Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the quarterfinals, and Krajicek will meet Andrei Medvedev. Medvedev and Kafelnikov had first-round byes.

Franchises

Las Vegas mayor wants NBA, NHL to consider city

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman spent the day visiting NBA commissioner David Stern and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York, hoping the leagues will consider his city for franchises.

But Goodman has a fundamental problem: Neither the NHL nor NBA is considering any expansion and Bettman and Stern said their leagues had no teams seeking to switch cities.

Then there's the matter of gambling, a particularly thorny issue with the NBA. Basketball betting accounts for 23 percent of the total sports handle in Las Vegas, according to Vegas Sports Consultants, which helps set betting lines for sports books.

Historically, the NBA has opposed betting on its games and, in fact, forced Canada's provincial lotteries to drop NBA games before it granted expansion franchises to Vancouver and Toronto.

College football

Tennessee national title safe despite academic fraud probe

Tennessee faces harsh penalties if academic fraud allegations are proved, but forfeiting its 1998 national title would not be one of them, a former NCAA official said.

Although the NCAA has withdrawn championships from schools that violate rules -- such as the UCLA women's softball champions in 1995 -- David Swank, past chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, noted that the national football title is created by the schools and bowl games and "is not an NCAA championship."

The NCAA is aware of the allegations at Tennessee but has not started a formal investigation. Meanwhile, Tennessee has started an internal probe into whether tutors did schoolwork for athletes.

Miami, Ohio: The team's top receiver, junior Sly Johnson, is out indefinitely with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He was second in the nation with 145.3 receiving yards per game before last weekend's games.

Pro football

Tarkenton pays $100,000 fine for alleged accounting fraud

Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton was among those cited when the Securities and Exchange Commission announced enforcement actions against 68 people and companies for alleged accounting fraud.

Tarkenton, former head of a computer software company, agreed to settle by paying a $100,000 fine without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the SEC said.

Tarkenton and 10 other former executives of his computer software and consulting firm, KnowledgeWare Inc., were accused by the SEC of fraudulently inflating by millions of dollars the company's earnings in reports for its fiscal year ended June 30, 1994.

Et cetera

Lightning set to demote Daigle, former NHL top pick

Former first overall NHL draft pick Alexandre Daigle was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The move was expected after Tampa Bay left the wing unprotected for Monday's waiver draft. He wasn't taken in the draft, and as a result, is expected to be assigned to a minor-league team.

Daigle was taken first overall in the 1993 draft by Ottawa. Since that time, his work ethic has come into question. He has 92 goals and 215 points in 401 NHL games.

More hockey: Right wing Keith Jones, a member of the Philadelphia Flyers' top line with Eric Lindros and John LeClair, will miss three to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The Flyers signed Jones, 30, to a three-year contract in July. He had 20 goals and a career-high 33 assists in 78 games with Colorado and Philadelphia last season.

College basketball: North Carolina assistant coach and former star player Phil Ford was arrested Monday night and charged with drunken driving in Durham, N.C. School officials said Ford will take a medical leave of absence.

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