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Romania Next Up for U.S.

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The United States will play host to Romania in the first round of the 2006 Davis Cup. Thursday’s draw also set up another showdown between Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt.

The U.S. team will get to pick the site and surface for its Feb. 10-12 World Group series, and captain Patrick McEnroe asked Andy Roddick and his other players for their thoughts.

“What I’ll get, feedback-wise, from the guys is two things: speed of the court and indoor-outdoor,” McEnroe said in a conference call, adding that he expected to choose a “relatively quick” surface.

The U.S., which beat Belgium last weekend in a playoff to stay in the World Group, is 5-0 against Romania.

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Top-ranked Federer and Switzerland will be at home against former No. 1 Hewitt and Australia in February. Federer has won his last nine matches against Hewitt, including the semifinals at the last two majors, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

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Defending champion Federer and Hewitt advanced to the quarterfinals of the Thailand Open in Bangkok. Federer defeated qualifier Denis Gremelmayr, 6-3, 6-2, in just over an hour, and Hewitt saved four match points to defeat Justin Gimelstob, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (9) in 2 hours 15 minutes.... Top-seeded Mariano Puerta overcame 30 aces by Wayne Arthurs for a 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3) victory and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Vietnam Open at Hanoi.

Nadia Petrova defeated Kveta Peschke, 6-3, 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals of the Fortis Championships at Luxembourg.... Second-seeded Tommy Robredo advanced to the Palermo International quarterfinals in Sicily, beating fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes, 6-2, 7-5.... Second-seeded Nicole Vaidisova defeated Akiki Morigami, 6-2, 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Korea Open at Seoul.

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Golf

Charles Warren shot a 30 on the front nine and tied the course record with a 10-under-par 62 to take the first-round lead in the Chrysler Classic at Greensboro, N.C., beating his previous best on the PGA Tour by four shots.

Warren, who has made only two cuts in his last 15 starts, was two shots clear of K.J. Choi and three ahead of fellow Clemson alumnus D.J. Trahan.

Sergio Garcia had a 69, as did U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman. Adam Scott put himself in danger of missing the cut with a 73.

Pro Basketball

Corie Blount, a 6-foot-10 journeyman, will sign with the Lakers before the start of training camp Tuesday in Honolulu, his agent said.

“He’ll be in camp with the Lakers,” said Mark Bartelstein, whose client will sign for the veteran’s minimum of $1.1 million.

Blount, who played at Monrovia High, has averaged 3.6 points and 4.2 rebounds with seven teams over 11 NBA seasons. The 35-year-old forward-center from Cincinnati spent nearly four seasons with the Lakers before being waived toward the end of the 1998-99 season. He did not play last season. Bartelstein said it was uncertain whether Blount’s contract would be guaranteed.

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Walter McCarty, a 6-10 forward and veteran of nine NBA seasons, agreed to terms with the Clippers on a free-agent contract.

McCarty, 31, has averaged 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 557 games with the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns. If he passes a physical today, he will be the 13th Clipper signed to a guaranteed contract.

Jurisprudence

Former baseball star Darryl Strawberry was charged with filing a false police report after making up a story alleging that his sport utility vehicle had been stolen, police in Delray Beach, Fla., said.

Strawberry, 43, reported his rented Nissan Murano stolen on Sept. 17, saying it disappeared from outside a gas station while he was inside buying cigarettes.

But investigators who watched a gas station surveillance video saw him drive off in a car different from the one he reported stolen, police spokesman Jeff Messer said.


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