High Winds Delay Challenger Series

From Associated Press

The start of the America’s Cup challenger series final at Auckland, New Zealand, was postponed today because of strong winds. The high winds were the aftereffects of a tropical cyclone in the South Pacific.

Race officials told crews from Oracle of San Francisco and Alinghi of Switzerland not to travel to the race course on the Hauraki Gulf because the winds were between 25 and 30 knots.

Races can only be held in winds of between seven and 19 knots. Yachts usually leave for the course about four hours before the scheduled start, the boats were still in their sheds at 9 a.m. today. By 10 a.m., officials called off racing for the day, forcing the first race to be held Sunday, when better wind conditions are forecast.



Hideki Matsui went to Yankee Stadium for the first time Friday and took his physical, part of the details needed to complete his $21-million, three-year contract.

Matsui was surrounded by Japanese reporters and photographers when he entered and left the ballpark. The 28-year-old outfielder was a three-time MVP of Japan’s Central League for the Yomiuri Giants.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal and the Atlanta Braves agreed to a $2.2-million, one-year contract. Furcal, 24, batted .275 with eight home runs, 47 runs batted in and 27 stolen bases in 154 games last season, when he made $405,000. Furcal was the National League rookie of the year in 2000.

Seattle Mariner shortstop Carlos Guillen pleaded guilty to a charge of negligent driving as part of an agreement with prosecutors, who dropped a drunk driving charge, at Kirkland, Wash.

Guillen was stopped by police on June 13 after driving 89 mph in a zone with a 60-mph limit. Guillen’s lawyer, Douglas Cowan, said Thursday at Kirkland Municipal Court. Guillen could face a maximum 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine when he is sentenced March 5 but Cowan doesn’t expect jail time.

The Seattle Mariners have received permission from the commissioner’s office and the players’ association to open spring training early because of their season opener against the Oakland A’s in Tokyo on March 25.


Pitchers and catchers will report to the team’s complex in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 9.

Infielder Desi Relaford and the Kansas City Royals agreed to a two-year contract.... The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to contracts with right-handed pitchers Dave Mlicki and Mike Buddie, and catcher Keith Osik.... Right-handed pitcher Brian Tollberg, who had reconstructive elbow surgery in June, agreed to a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres.... Garry Templeton, a two-time All-Star during his 16-year major league career, is the new manager of the Gary RailCats of the independent Northern League.


Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters of Belgium advanced to the women’s singles final at the Sydney International at Australia on Friday. Sixth-seeded Davenport defeated Tatiana Panova of Russia, 6-3, 7-5, and second-seeded Clijsters defeated third-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne, 6-2, 6-3.

In the women’s doubles final, Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama of Japan led Conchita Martinez of Spain and Rennae Stubbs of Australia, 2-1, before rain forced suspension of the match.

In the men’s singles semifinals, second-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain defeated Rainer Schuettler of Germany, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and Lee Hyung Taik of South Korea defeated Wayne Ferreira of South Africa, 6-3, 6-3.

Meghann Shaughnessy won her third WTA tournament title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the Canberra Classic final today at Canberra, Australia. In the doubles final, Daja Bedanova of Czech Republic and Dinara Safina of Russia defeated Tathiana Garbin of Italy and Emilie Loit of France, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Alicia Molik beat second-seeded Amy Frazier, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in the Moorilla International final to become the first Australian to win a WTA title in eight years.


Andre Agassi warmed up for his bid to win a third Australian Open title in four years, cruising past Sebastien Grosjean, 6-2, 6-3, to win the Kooyong Classic round-robin tournament at Melbourne, Australia.

The Australian Open will stick to its January slot for at least the next several years. International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci-Bitti said earlier this week the sport’s governing body had been negotiating with the men’s tour to see if the season-opening major could be delayed until March.


Featherweight boxer Johnny Tapia faces a felony drug charge after a police standoff in which he and a relative, who was wanted on weapons charges, refused to leave a home near Bullhead City, Ariz., police said.

Tapia, 35, was charged by summons with felony possession of drug paraphernalia but wasn’t arrested, said Jarrod Lyman, spokesman for the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.


The three cities hoping to play host to the 2010 Winter Olympics submitted documents supporting their bids to the IOC. The three cities are Salzburg, Austria; Pyeongchang, South Korea; and Vancouver, Canada. The winner will be determined in July in a vote by IOC members.

Russia’s Svetlana Zhurova won the inaugural 100-meter World Cup speedskating event, and Japan’s Tomonori Kawata took the men’s race at Kearns, Utah. Previously, the shortest World Cup race had been 500 meters.


Germany’s Olympic women’s biathlon championship team rallied to win a World Cup event at Oberhof, Germany, beating Russia by 28.9 seconds. The four-woman German team, anchored by Kati Wilhelm, covered the 14.4 miles in 1 hour 17 minutes 22.9 seconds. France finished third.

The new WNBA franchise in San Antonio will be known as the Silver Stars.