Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Homer Christian wins End of Road

Homer Christian's boys basketball team won the End of the Road Shootout Saturday in Homer. The End of the Road Shootout is made up mostly of junior varsity teams.

Homer Christian defeated Kenai's junior varsity 67-34 for the championship. Glennallen won the girls crown.

KPHA Squirt B drops two in Anchorage

The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association Squirt B team dropped a pair of games this weekend in Anchorage.

KPHA fell to the Junior Aces by a 4-1 tally. Goalie William Granger had 18 saves, while Dagen Walton scored on an assist by Sean Endsley.

KPHA then lost to the Junior Aces by a score of 5-3, with Granger making 11 saves. Endsley had goals on assists by Brandon Fisher and Matt Boulette. Zack Sonnichsen also scored on an assist by Zack Weisz.

Lemieux has hip surgery

PITTSBURGH Mario Lemieux had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair the left hip injury that will sideline him for the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins' season.

Lemieux, who hasn't played since Nov. 1, learned last week that two months' worth of rest and rehabilitation did not heal the chronic tendinitis in his hip. Lemieux had similar surgery on his right hip before missing more than two-thirds of the 2001-02 season.

Laettner violates drug policy

WASHINGTON Washington Wizards forward Christian Laettner was suspended for five games Tuesday for violating the NBA's drug policy.The suspension, without pay, began with Tuesday night's home game against Houston.

''I deeply regret any embarrassment that my actions have caused to members of my family, my teammates, my fans and the Washington Wizards organization,'' Laettner said in a statement released by the team.

Henin-Hardenne opens 2004 with win

SYDNEY, Australia World No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne opened her season with a 6-4, 6-1 victory Wednesday over Conchita Martinez in the Adidas International.

The Belgian lost her opening serve and trailed 0-2 before she rallied to win the first set in 39 minutes in blustery conditions. She broke the Spaniard three times in the second set, and finished with 27 winners and 35 unforced errors. Henin-Hardenne is seeded No. 1 in Sydney and for the Australian Open, which starts Monday at Melbourne Park.

She had a bye in the first round here and hadn't played on tour since her semifinal loss to Amelie Mauresmo at the WTA's season-ending championships in Los Angeles in November.

''I'm very happy to win my first match it wasn't pretty, but the first match of the season is never easy,'' Henin-Hardenne said. ''There were problems, but I can work on it for sure.''

Henin-Hardenne said she'd been working on strength and conditioning over the break and concentrating on forming a charity for children with cancer to give her a focus outside of tennis.

Mauresmo of France and American Lindsay Davenport, seeded third and fourth, also advanced to the quarterfinals.

Mauresmo beat American Meghann Shaughnessy 6-2, 6-3 after wasting a match point on serve at 5-1 in the second set. Davenport rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Vera Zvonareva.

Davenport, the 2000 Australian Open champion, said her comeback from foot surgery last October was on track.

''My foot problems are behind me,'' said Davenport, who partnered James Blake on the U.S. team that won the Hopman Cup at an indoor arena in Perth last week. Now it's a matter of ''getting my game better ... getting the game there.''

She struggled in a swirling wind.

''In the end I was relieved to get through, especially the way I started off,'' Davenport said. ''She handled the wind better than me in the start, but I was happy I was able to turn it around.''

Japan's Ai Sugiyama, seeded eighth and winner at the Australian women's hardcourt championships on the Gold Coast last week, lost 6-2, 6-3 to Nathalie Dechy of France.

Their match was scheduled for the previous night but was rained out.

''I was playing really good last week, thought I was ready, but my footwork wasn't good enough and I wasn't fast enough today,'' said Sugiyama, who finished 2003 at No. 10.

Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan was leading Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman 4-1 in the third set when heavy rain halted play on Tuesday night. He returned to center court to wrap it up Wednesday 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, breaking Bjorkman's serve when play resumed and clinching a second-round berth later Wednesday against Spaniard Tommy Robredo.

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