Sports Digest

SPORTS DIGEST

October 23, 2005

Sokolova, Czisny glide into skating spotlight

Elena Sokolova, escaping the outsized reputation of her Russian compatriot Irina Slutskaya for a few days, won the Skate America women's competition last night in Atlantic City, N.J.

Alissa Czisny surged into the role of the American to root for, with Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan missing because of hip injuries. Czisny won the long program with a challenging program, marred only by a single tumble, and finished second to Sokolova overall.

"I am very, very happy," Sokolova said. "The season is like a line, with ups and downs. Hopefully, all the downs are during my practices."

Czisny, 18, said she was thrilled with her scores, which were her best yet. She received 106.48 points for her long program, topping Sokolova's 105.08. But because Sokolova won the short program, her overall score of 163.02 was enough to stay ahead. Czisny finished with 159.30.

Emily Hughes, another young American hopeful, had a much better performance after struggling in the short program. She fell once, but bounced back with eight other jumps and finished fifth in her first senior-level international event. "Some of the things that didn't work out here, I'm going to go home and work on and try to get better for the Cup of Russia," said Hughes, the sister of 2002 gold medalist Sarah Hughes.

Canadian Tanith Belbin and American Benjamin Agosto won the ice dancing, and China's Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang took the pairs.

Pro basketball

Hill's medical exam sent for more study

The Orlando Magic has sent Grant Hill's medical exam to a specialist in California to determine whether Hill tore a muscle above the pubis bone, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Hill underwent magnetic resonance imaging Thursday for what the club first characterized as an abdominal strain.

Clippers -- A Los Angeles jury on Friday rejected claims by a former employee of team owner Donald T. Sterling that he fired her for turning down his sexual advances. The jury determined that Sterling had not sexually harassed and then retaliated against Sumner Davenport, hired by Sterling in 2001 as a property supervisor.

Wizards -- Forward Antawn Jamison and guard Gilbert Arenas were both nursing bruises yesterday after early exits from Friday night's preseason game against the Nuggets. Jamison bruised his right shoulder and Arenas got poked in the right eye. Jamison was able to practice yesterday, and Arenas sat out.

Obituary -- Willie Sojourner, who played for the American Basketball Association's New York Nets and Virginia Squires, died in a car crash Thursday in Italy. He was 58.

Pro football

Volek to start at QB for Titans in Arizona

The Tennessee Titans flew to Arizona without injured Steve McNair, giving backup quarterback Billy Volek his first start this season today against the Cardinals. The Titans officially downgraded McNair from questionable to out yesterday after listing him as questionable each day because of back and ankle injuries. He missed each practice, including Thursday when he was excused for personal reasons, and sat out two sessions last week.

Falcons -- Atlanta demoted veteran Dez White from the starting lineup to the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart. Brian Finneran will start in his place tomorrow against the Jets.

Skiing

Slovenia's Maze wins giant slalom

Tina Maze of Slovenia won the season-opening World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, completing her two runs in 2 minutes, 24.59 seconds. Croatia's Janica Kostelic, the Olympic giant slalom champion, was second in 2:24.93.

Auto racing

Bowyer rallies in Sam's Town 250

Clint Bowyer won his second NASCAR Busch Series race of the season, rallying to win the Sam's Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Millington, Tenn. Boyer worked his way to the front after starting 35th in the 43-car field and dominated the second half of the race. With the win, he closed within 100 points of defending series champion Martin Truex Jr.

Champ Car Lexmark Indy 300 -- Sebastien Bourdais claimed the series title early today in Surfers Paradise, Australia, by starting the Lexmark Indy 300 and earning the point he needed to win the championship. Bourdais needed only one point to move out of the reach of Newman/Haas teammate Oriol Servia and Paul Tracy, his closest pursuers. Bourdais will receive a point for finishing as low as last in the race.

College basketball

Rossini, ex coach for NYU, dead at 84

Lou Rossini, the New York University men's coach from 1959 to 1971 who led the Violets to the 1960 Final Four, died Friday night in New York. He was 84.

Et cetera

Nadal, Ljubicic reach Madrid final

Top seed Rafael Nadal of Spain reached his first Madrid Masters final, edging American Robby Ginepri, 7-5, 7-6 (1), in Spain. In today's final, Nadal will play eighth seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 winner over Argentina's David Nalbandian. Nadal, 19, won his ATP-leading 78th match this year, passing the injured Roger Federer.

More tennis -- Top seed Lindsay Davenport routed Russian Anastasia Myskina, 6-0, 6-4, to reach the Zurich Open final in Switzerland, where she will face Swiss star Patty Schnyder and try to win this tournament a fourth time. Schnyder, the sixth seed, defeated Ana Ivanovic of Serbia-Montenegro, 6-2, 6-1.

Pro soccer -- Amado Guevara scored in the first half and Tony Meola made three saves, leading the host New York/New Jersey MetroStars to a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution in the first game of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game 2 will be Saturday in Foxborough, Mass., with the Revolution needing to beat the MetroStars by at least two goals to advance to meet the winner of the Chicago Fire-D.C. United series. In the West, FC Dallas tied host Denver, 0-0.

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