Sports Digest

SPORTS DIGEST

Roundup

The day's state, national and world sports news

December 04, 2005

Croatia just one win away from first Davis Cup crown

If his younger teammates can deliver, Goran Ivanisevic will lift the Davis Cup trophy today and take it home to Croatia for the first time.

Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic beat Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty and Michal Mertinak, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (5), yesterday in Bratislava, Slovakia, giving Croatia a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series between two first-time finalists.

Croatia needs to win one of today's reverse singles - Ljubicic meets Hrbaty and Ancic plays Karol Kucera - to clinch the title.

"It's definitely the most important match of my life, no question about that," Ljubicic said. "I have a little advantage because I've had a lot of these pressure matches."

Ivanisevic, the former Wimbledon champion, came out of retirement for the final, but captain Nikki Pilic did not select him for either the singles or the doubles, choosing to go with his younger players.

With their win, Ljubicic and Ancic remain undefeated in Davis Cup doubles play this year.

Unless Pilic has a very sudden and unexpected change of heart today, which he is allowed to do under the rules, Ivanisevic will be cheering his teammates from the sideline again.

Ivanisevic could start celebrating early if Ljubicic clinches for Croatia in the first match today, and Ljubicic was confident of victory.

"I have a 5-0 record over Hrbaty," he said. "Tomorrow is the greatest day of our tennis careers."

Horse racing

Cherokee's Boy romps at Laurel

Cherokee's Boy, the 2-5 favorite, galloped to a victory in the $75,000 Jennings Handicap at Laurel Park. With $45,000 added to his bankroll, the 5-year-old horse has earned $969,886, 16th on the all-time money list for Maryland-breds. Timetoshuffleoff and Gold Casing sprinted to the front in the nine-furlong race, leaving Cherokee's Boy and jockey Travis Dunkelberger in third place but in close pursuit. Cherokee's Boy charged between the leaders down the backstretch, emerged with the lead entering the far turn and quickly opened a commanding lead. At the end, he was 6 1/4 lengths better than George's Gain and Water Cannon, who came from far back to grab second and third, respectively. The winner paid $2.80 and finished in 1 minute, 52.49 seconds. "I tried to take him back a little bit, but he didn't want to settle," Dunkelberger said. "He wanted to be right up there with them." Owners Foard Wilgis and Dave Picarello indicated Cherokee's Boy would return for a 6-year-old campaign in 2006 for a run at $1 million in earnings.

Pro football

Receiver Price released by Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys released wide receiver Peerless Price, who had just six catches for 96 yards this season. It was the second time in a little more than three months that Price, 29, has been released. On Aug. 30, the Falcons waived Price, who badly underachieved in Atlanta after being acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills before the 2003 season. The Cowboys signed Price four days later, but he saw limited action behind starters Terry Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson.

Jurisprudence -- Melissa Holden of Tampa, Fla., has sued a former Carolina Panthers cheerleader, seeking more than $15,000 for injuries she says she suffered after being punched at a Tampa bar on Nov. 6. The suit says Victoria Renee Thomas "intentionally, willfully and maliciously assaulted and battered" her. Holden was waiting in line in the bar's bathroom when Thomas punched her after emerging from a stall, police said. Some witnesses said Thomas and another cheerleader, Angela Keathley, were having sex in the stall, but Thomas later denied that.

Skiing

Miller captures giant slalom

Off to a much slower start than a year ago, defending overall World Cup skiing champion Bode Miller picked up his first victory of the season, leading a 1-2 U.S. finish in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo. Miller, who tied for the lead after the first run, nearly went down twice in the second, but somehow stayed up and stayed fast, finishing with a total time of 2 minutes, 34.56 seconds. Daron Rahlves, who beat Miller in a 1-2 U.S. downhill Friday, was second in the giant slalom, .49 of a second back. Kalle Palander of Finland - tied with Miller after the first run - finished third, 1.23 seconds off the pace. Erik Schlopy of the United States was fourth.

Women -- American Lindsey Kildow earned a World Cup downhill victory in the swirling winds and frigid temperatures of the Canadian Rockies in Lake Louise, Alberta. Kildow, 21, edged Sylviane Berthod of Switzerland by three-hundredths of a second for her second career World Cup win. Fighting the wind and whiffs of blowing light snow, Kildow won in 1 minute, 49.51 seconds. Berthod was second in 1:49.54.

Et cetera

Hingis aims to play in Australian Open

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