TennisV. Williams, Hingis take fast track to reach Chase...

Sports Digest

November 19, 1999

Tennis

V. Williams, Hingis take fast track to reach Chase semis

After being forced to go three sets in her first-round match of the Chase Championships, third-seeded Venus Williams continued her mastery over No. 7 Barbara Schett with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) victory in the first quarterfinal last night.

Besides her huge serve, which produced nine aces, and her powerful ground strokes, which kept Schett on the run and usually behind the baseline, Williams hurdled the net as the players changed ends during the tiebreak.

"I saw it. Everybody did," Schett said of Williams' impromptu jump. "It's great that she can do that. It's entertaining for the people."

In the semifinals, Williams will play defending champion Martina Hingis, who dispatched of Mary Pierce, 6-1, 6-2, in a crisp 58 minutes in the elite 16-player tournament in New York.

DUI: Jim Courier, the No. 1 player in the world for much of 1992 and 1993 and currently No. 33, was charged with driving under the influence after being stopped for running a red light on the University of Georgia campus in Athens about 2: 30 a.m.

Hockey

Courtnall retires, cites post-concussion effects

St. Louis Blues left wing Geoff Courtnall ended a 17-year NHL career due to recurring effects of post-concussion syndrome.

Surrounded by family and teammates at a somber news conference, Courtnall, 37, broke down and cried.

"I'd like to thank all the guys for showing up, and I hope you guys win the Stanley Cup this year," Courtnall said, his voice cracking with emotion. "I'll miss you guys."

Courtnall had 799 points and 1,465 penalty minutes in 1,048 NHL games over 17 seasons, but has missed most of the last two seasons due to concussions.

Coyotes: Disgruntled goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has requested a trade after months of talks failed to produce a contract. Khabibulin, a restricted free agent, hasn't played this season after rejecting a three-year, $9 million offer from the Coyotes. "Nik will not play in the NHL this year," Coyotes GM Bobby Smith said. "We think we offered him an above-market deal, which he rejected."

Golf

Cameras irritate Woods in World Cup in Malaysia

"Leave me alone," a frustrated Tiger Woods said toward the gallery in Kuala Lumpur as he strode away from the ninth green, after firing a 4-under 67 at the World Cup, leaving the United States team five strokes behind the 7-under 135 of the first-place Japanese.

Woods said later that "the crowds were great. It wasn't the crowds. Some of the photographers kept taking pictures at the wrong time."

Caddie: Fanny Sunesson is leaving as Nick Faldo's caddie after 10 years.

Dunlop Phoenix Open: Young Japanese Kaname Yokoo shot a 6-under-par 65 for a two-stroke first-round lead over Greg Norman and three others in Miyazaki, Japan. It was Norman's first event since his surgeon gave him permission to resume full-scale practice after shoulder surgery.

Auto racing

IRL head steps down; R. Gordon eyes 2-race day

Leo Mehl, a fixture in auto racing for three decades, is retiring as executive director of the Indy Racing League and vice president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mehl, 63, a chemical engineer who previously was general manager for Goodyear Tire's racing program for 22 years, said he is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

Driver: Robby Gordon, who has bounced back and forth between open-wheel racing and stock cars, is ready to give NASCAR another try. The driver, who ran his own team in the CART series in 1999, as well as racing in the IRL's Indianapolis 500, said he will attempt the difficult Memorial Day double of driving at Indy and in the Winston Cup Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C., later the same day.

Et cetera

Letterlough KOs Hollowell at Michael's Eighth Avenue

Unbeaten Harrisburg, Pa., cruiserweight Julian Letterlough extended his knockout streak to 10 by stopping Darryl Hollowell (11-8) at 2: 53 of the sixth round of their scheduled 10-rounder at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

Letterlough floored Hollowell with a left hook and the Marylander was counted out without stirring. In the co-feature, super middleweight Dana Rucker (8-1) of Baltimore survived three knockdowns to defeat Osvaldo Bello (9-4-2) of Caracas, Venezuela, when the referee stopped it at 1: 06 of the seventh round.

Undefeated Landover lightweight Jermaine Fields (19-0) stopped Eldon Sneed (11-12-1) of New Orleans at 2: 12 of the third round.

More boxing: Lennox Lewis' manager is seeking to overturn the WBA's choice of Henry Akinwande for the Briton's first defense. "To me he's not worth a shot at the world title after his last performance," Lewis' manager Frank Maloney said.

College basketball: Troy Murphy scored 31 points to lead host Notre Dame to a 107-96 win over Siena in the Preseason NIT. The Irish, who upset No. 4 Ohio State in the first round, will play the New Mexico State-Arizona winner next week.

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