Sports Digest



The day's state, national and world sports news

March 19, 2006

Sharapova wins Pacific Life title; Blake, Federer reach men's final

Maria Sharapova was rock solid in the wind against Elena Dementieva in the Pacific Life Open title match in Indian Wells, Calif. .

Sharapova, 18, her ponytail whipping in the gusts, defeated Dementieva, 6-1, 6-2, yesterday in an all-Russian final.

In the men's semifinals, No. 12 James Blake beat No. 2 Rafael Nadal, 7-5, 6-3, to move into the championship match against two-time defending champion Roger Federer. No. 1 Federer cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Paradorn Srichaphan.

There was little wind during the men's matches, which were sandwiched around the women's midafternoon final.

Blake's victory over the 19-year-old Spaniard means the tournament won't have a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match for the title, but Blake will go into today's match currently playing the best tennis of any American.

Assured of moving into the top 10 in the rankings next week for the first time in his career, Blake beat Nadal with a mix of hard, flat ground strokes and sheer athletic ability, chasing down many shots that seemed unreachable.

Sharapova's title was the first of the year and the 11th of her career for the 2004 Wimbledon champion who lives in Bradenton, Fla.

After Dementieva hit still another backhand into the net on match point, Sharapova beamed, did her ballerina-like waves to the crowd, then blew kisses to the fans.

"It [the wind] was difficult for both of us," she said afterward. "A lot of balls, you didn't know where they were going, especially on the serve.

"On these kinds of days, it's not about playing great tennis; it's about finding a way to win."

College basketball

Evansville player killed in crash

Evansville player Eric Ottens died in a crash in Iowa when he ran a stop sign and his car was struck by another, police said. The 23-year-old player died Friday night in the crash 10 miles south of Dubuque, said Sgt. Kevin Niemer of the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office. Ottens, a 6-foot-6 forward, graduated in 2005 with a degree in management and was working on his master's degree in health service administration during his final season of eligibility on the team. He was hurt much of the season, playing in 10 games before a knee injury sidelined him.

Junior college -- Avis Ovoss scored 18 points as the Anne Arundel Community College women beat Gateway CC of Connecticut, 84-60, in the consolation bracket of the National Division III JuCo Tournament last night in Utica, N.Y.


Kostelic breaks women's points mark

Janica Kostelic won the women's World Cup giant slalom finale in Are, Sweden, and broke the record of Pernilla Wiberg for the number of points in a single season with 1,970.

Men -- Markus Larsson posted his first World Cup win in the final slalom of the season, in Are, and the United States finished with three men in the top 10 of the overall standings for the first time - Bode Miller third with 928 points, Daron Rahlves fourth with 903 and Ted Ligety ninth with 636. Larsson is the first Swede to win a World Cup slalom in 13 years.

Freestyle -- Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Heil of Canada won her third straight overall World Cup moguls title after finishing second in Penticton, British Columbia, to Nikola Sudova of the Czech Republic.

Et cetera

Okla. State repeats as wrestling champ

Johny Hendricks set off Oklahoma State's celebration of its fourth straight national title with a victory in the 165-pound final in Oklahoma City. Jake Rosholt became the 15th Oklahoma State wrestler to win three national titles and the Cowboys finished with 122 1/2 points for their 34th overall title. Minnesota, which also had two NCAA champions, finished second with 84 points and Oklahoma was third with 80 1/2 . Hendricks scored a takedown with four seconds left to beat top-seeded Ryan Churella of Michigan, 9-8. Local heavyweights Mike Faust (Virginia Tech, Gilman) and Bode Ogunwole (Harvard), a Millersville resident, both earned All-America honors. They wrestled each other for fifth place, with Faust earning a 4-3 win on riding time advantage.

College swimming -- Auburn won the NCAA women's championship in Athens, Ga., with 418.5 points, three more than defending champion Georgia. The Bulldogs' Mary DeScenza became the first woman to win the 200-yard butterfly four straight years.

Boxing -- Silver Spring left-hander Tony Thompson (27-1), who sparred with Baltimore native Hasim Rahman during his preparation for a canceled bout against Vitali Klitschko, scored his 17th knockout by flooring Philadelphia's Maurice Wheeler (10-5-1) in the fourth round last night at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Speedskating -- Olympic champion Cindy Klassen broke her world record in the 3,000 meters in Calgary, Alberta, at the ISU world allround championships. The Canadian, who won five medals at the Turin Olympics, finished in 3 minutes, 53.34 seconds.

Soccer -- German midfielder Sebastian Deisler will miss the World Cup because of surgery on his right knee that will sideline him for six months.

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