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Blake is sharp in defeating Phau in grass-court debut

June 11, 2008|Eric Stephens; Gary Klein | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

James Blake served his way to a 6-4, 6-1 win against qualifier Bjorn Phau on Tuesday in the first round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany.

The seventh-ranked American landed 71% of his first serves in his first grass-court match this year. He needed only 50 minutes to win against Phau, ranked 148th in the world.

"This was one of my best serving performances this year," Blake said. "That gave me confidence to play my game -- everything just fell into place."

Fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Dmitry Tursunov and next faces Nicolas Kiefer, who won here in 1999. Kiefer fought back to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Robin Haase.

No. 5 Marcos Baghdatis beat Jan Hernych, 6-4, 7-5. Other winners included Fabrice Santoro and Steve Darcis.

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Andy Murray advanced to the third round of the Artois Championships at Queen's Club in London in only 14 minutes when Sebastien Grosjean quit because of a left leg injury.

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Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko defeated Pablo Cuevas, 6-3, 6-2, and second-seeded Tommy Robredo beat Michal Przysiezny, 7-5, 6-2, in the first round of the Warsaw Open.

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Shahar Peer was beaten in the first round of the Torneo Barcelona by Nuria Llagostera Vives, 7-5, 6-2.

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Fourth-seeded Sybille Bammer lost to Melanie South, 6-3, 7-5, in the DFS Classic at Birmingham, England.

OLYMPICS

No tryouts for U.S. basketball team

The United States will pick its basketball squad for the Beijing Olympics without a tryout, USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo said.

The Americans have changed their plans and will select the 12 players for Beijing before they report to Las Vegas later this month.

Originally, the team was to have potentially 16 players in camp and cut down to 12 on June 30.

JURISPRUDENCE

Former NASCAR employee files lawsuit

Mauricia Grant, who worked as a technical inspector responsible for certifying cars in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series from January 2005 until her termination last October, is suing NASCAR for $225 million, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

The 32-year-old Grant, who is African American, alleges she was referred to as "Nappy Headed Mo" and "Queen Sheba," by co-workers and was often told she worked on "colored people time."

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the organization had not yet reviewed the suit.

PRO FOOTBALL

Tennessee linebacker is linked to Jacobs

Convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs said before his death last week he supplied Tennessee Titans linebacker Ryan Fowler with performance-enhancing drugs before and after the 2006 season, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Fowler is under investigation by the NFL in an apparent steroids case.

Peter Ginsberg, Fowler's lawyer, told the Associated Press that his client has "never tested positive for any banned substance. The accusations are without any basis."

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Seattle Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren missed a second consecutive day of mini-camp with what a team spokesman continued to emphasize was a minor but undisclosed medical condition.

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Donovan McNabb sat out the Philadelphia Eagles' passing camp because of shoulder tendinitis. The quarterback likely will miss the rest of the week's team activities.

MISCELLANY

Hatton says no to De La Hoya

British welterweight Ricky Hatton has rejected an approach for a September bout against Oscar De La Hoya.

Hatton beat Juan Lazcano on May 24 to retain his International Boxing Organization light welterweight title and is not expected to fight again until November. De La Hoya's scheduled Sept. 20 bout against Floyd Mayweather was canceled after Mayweather retired last week.

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The Ducks dealt defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron to the Minnesota Wild for a third-round pick in next week's NHL entry draft.

-- Eric Stephens

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Alfred Rowe, a fullback who played mainly on special teams for USC in 2007, is academically ineligible for the 2008 season, Coach Pete Carroll said.

Assistant coach David Watson, arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription drugs, is taking a leave of absence until the end of the month, Carroll said.

-- Gary Klein

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Detroit Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock agreed to a three-year contract, a person in the NHL told the Associated Press.

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