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Spain in Command Over U.S. in Fed Cup

From Staff and Wire Reports

Spain pushed the United States to almost certain defeat, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the Fed Cup finals at Valencia, Spain.

Conchita Martinez defeated Chanda Rubin, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario beat Mary Joe Fernandez, 6-3, 6-2, on the slow, red-clay court.

Spain can clinch its third consecutive title by winning either of today’s reverse singles or the doubles.

Figure Skating

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Michelle Kwan gained her third victory in three meets, winning both the short and the long programs at the Nations Cup figure skating competition at Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Maria Butirskaia of Russia finished second, followed by U.S. champion Nicole Bobek.

Skiing

Switzerland’s Michael von Gruenigen overcame a warm sun and deteriorating race conditions to win the World Cup giant slalom at Park City, Utah.

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Von Gruenigen finished with a combined time of 2 minutes 27.48 seconds for his third consecutive victory, .02 ahead of Norway’s Lasse Kjus.

Warm temperatures and soft snow forced the cancellation of women’s World Cup slalom and giant slalom races at Lake Louise, Canada. European ski federations could use the cancellation as an argument against opening the season in North America.

Golf

Four-time champion Greg Norman and journeyman Peter McWhinney are tied for the lead after the third round of the Australian Open at Melbourne.

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McWhinney, winless in 15 years on the Australian Tour, sank a 40-foot birdie putt at the 18th for a par 72 and a 54-hole total of 210. Norman shot a three-under 69.

Nick Price and Mark McNulty of Zimbabwe both shot six-under 66s to tie South African Brendan Pappas for the third-round lead in the Zimbabwe Open at Harare.

Miscellany

Wolfgang Hoppe drove Germany’s No. 1 sled to a narrow victory over countryman Dirk Wiese’s sled in the opening World Cup four-man bobsled competition at Lillehammer, Norway.

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Hoppe, riding with Rene Hanneman, Ulf Hielscher and Sven Peter, was timed in 1:44.37, 0.01 seconds ahead of Wiese’s team.

American driver Brian Shimer strained a groin muscle on the first run down the 1,400-meter track. His sled finished 15th.

Olympian Chris Witty won the gold medal in women’s 1,000 meters at the season’s first stop on the World Cup speedskating circuit at Berlin. Martin Hersman of the Netherlands won the men’s 1,500 meters.

Denver Bronco head trainer Steve Antonopulos was arrested and charged with drunk driving after Denver police stopped his car about midnight Friday and found his blood-alcohol level was 0.10% or above.

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A businessman reportedly has been charged with bribery and match fixing after 16 months of arrests, detentions, bans and investigations into a multimillion-dollar soccer corruption scandal in Malaysia.

Malaysian dailies reported today that Singapore marine businessman Rajendran Kurusamy, 35, pleaded not guilty when charged with bribing an assistant coach to fix a Premier League match in December 1993.


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