U.S. loses to France in first Hopman Cup match

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

France upset the defending champion U.S. team and Australia defeated top-seeded Russia on Saturday in the opening matches of the Hopman Cup mixed teams tennis tournament at Perth, Australia.

Tatiana Golovin defeated Ashley Harkleroad, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, and 213th-ranked Jerome Haehnel beat Mardy Fish, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3), to give France an unbeatable 2-0 lead before forfeiting the mixed doubles match.

Australia beat Russia, 2-1, after Alicia Molik and Mark Philippoussis won their singles matches. Molik defeated sixth-ranked Nadia Petrova, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, and Philippoussis beat Dmitry Tursunov, 6-4, 7-6 (0).

Haehnel’s biggest previous victory came against Andre Agassi in the first round of the 2004 French Open, his first match at the elite level on the ATP Tour.


“It is a big win, I really didn’t expect to come, and I really didn’t expect to win, so it is very cool for me,” said Haehnel, who canceled a planned vacation to represent France.

Olympic silver medalist Fish, ranked No. 47, was a replacement for Taylor Dent, who combined with Lisa Raymond to win the last Hopman Cup.

Dent withdrew because of a back problem. Harkleroad replaced Venus Williams, who has a wrist injury.

France was invited to the eight-nation event when Germany could not find a replacement for the injured Nicolas Kiefer.



Austrian teenager jumps

to Four Hills victory

Teenager Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria won the first event of the Four Hills ski jumping tournament at Obertstdorf, Germany.


The 16-year-old leads the sport’s most prestigious tournament with 296.0 points -- 9.5 more than Andreas Kuettel of Switzerland. Adam Malysz of Poland was third at 280.3.

Making his debut in the event, Schlierenzauer’s first jump was 135.5 meters in near perfect conditions. His second leap of 142.0 meters was 1.5 meters short of the hill record.

Schlierenzauer took the lead in the World Cup standings after six of 24 events with 410 points.

Simon Ammann of Switzerland, the double-gold medalist from the Salt Lake City Olympics, is second at 405, followed by Anders Jacobsen of Norway at 396.


Hannu Manninen of Finland finished strongly in the cross-country race to win a World Cup Nordic Combined event at Ruhpolding, Germany.

Manninen was nearly two minutes behind the leaders after the ski jumping portion, but he passed them in the 15-kilometer race to win in a combined time of 35 minutes 58.1 seconds.

Sebastian Haseney of Germany was 1.2 seconds back. Fellow German Ronny Ackermann edged American Bill Demong in a sprint finish for third.



Eagles sign Herremans

to five-year extension

The Philadelphia Eagles signed guard Todd Herremans to a five-year contract extension, a deal that would run through the 2013 season.

The 24-year-old Herremans made a smooth transition to left guard this year, starting all 15 games and helping the Eagles’ offense rank second among NFL teams in yards per game (380.7) and sixth in points (24.9).


The Miami Dolphins put defensive tackle Keith Traylor, who has a knee injury, on injured reserve and activated safety Jack Hunt off the practice squad to take his roster spot. Jeff Zgonina is expected to start in Traylor’s spot today when the Dolphins play at Indianapolis.

Detroit Lions Coach Rod Marinelli is scheduled to undergo left hip replacement surgery next Friday.

Marinelli, 57, previously had replacement surgery on his right hip, but now walks with a noticeable limp because of degeneration in his left hip joint.



Ronaldo’s goals lead

Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals -- giving him six in three games -- to help Manchester United defeat Reading, 3-2, and move six points ahead of Chelsea in the English Premier League.

Chelsea, the two-time defending champion, was held to a 2-2 tie by Fulham.


Matias Fernandez of Chile, who earlier in the week transferred from Colo Colo to Spanish club Villarreal for a reported $11.46 million, has been voted South American player of the year, the Uruguayan daily El Pais said.

Fernandez received 62 votes in the newspaper’s annual poll of regional sports reporters, edging Argentine Rodrigo Palacio of Boca Juniors by six votes.

The 20-year-old Fernandez led Colo Colo to the Apertura and Clausura titles -- the club’s 24th and 25th Chilean league crowns -- as well as to the Copa Sudamericana final, where it lost to Mexico’s Pachuca.



Mets’ Martinez will not

pitch until July or August

New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez is recovering well from rotator cuff surgery, but the ace right-hander still doesn’t plan to pitch again until July or August.

Martinez, 35, sat out the end of last season because of injuries to his leg and arm.


Since having surgery, the three-time Cy Young Award winner says the mobility in his arm has already improved.


Injured Williams waived

by NBA D-League team


Jay Williams’ comeback was put on hold when the NBA Development League’s Austin Toros waived him so he can rehabilitate a nagging groin injury.

Williams, still trying to make it back after severely injuring his left leg in a 2003 motorcycle accident, played three games for Austin. He averaged 6.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

Williams, the national player of the year at Duke in 2002, was the No. 2 pick in that year’s NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls.