Roddick, Blake earn rare berths; Henin upset

; From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Andy Roddick and James Blake advanced Thursday to the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters, marking the first time in six years two Americans reached the final eight of the clay-court tournament.

The sixth-seeded Roddick silenced a partisan crowd with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Simone Bolelli and the eighth-seeded Blake rallied past Fernando Verdasco, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

One day after upsetting second-seeded Rafael Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero was defeated by Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-4, 6-3.

Top-ranked Roger Federer defeated Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Third-seeded Novak Djokovic also advanced, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, over Igor Andreev.

The last time two or more Americans reached the quarterfinals in Rome was 2002, when Roddick and Blake joined eventual champion Andre Agassi.

Top-ranked Justine Henin was upset by Dinara Safina, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, in the third round of the German Open in Berlin, another setback in her approaching bid for a fifth French Open title.

Fifth-seeded Serena Williams breezed to her 17th straight win, ousting Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3, 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals. Defending champion Ana Ivanovic struggled past Sybille Bammer, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, and third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Alona Bondarenko, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Henin's loss to Safina followed a 6-2, 6-0 drubbing by Williams at the Sony Ericsson Open last month, the worst for a No. 1 player in nine years. Maria Sharapova also defeated her in straight sets at the Australian Open.


Browns' McGinest will retire after 2008

Cleveland Browns linebacker Willie McGinest, 36, says the 2008 season will be his last, telling that he wants to finish on one last playoff run.

McGinest, a former USC standout, played 12 seasons and won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots before joining the Browns in 2006.

A federal judge ordered imprisoned quarterback Michael Vick to repay more than $2.4 million to a Canadian bank for defaulting on a loan.

The Royal Bank of Canada sued Vick in September, arguing his guilty plea to a federal dogfighting charge -- and the resulting impact on his career -- prevented him from repaying the loan. The order from U.S. Magistrate F. Bradford Stillman requires Vick to pay $2.4 million, plus $499 in interest per day, starting Sept. 19, 2007, and the bank's attorneys' fees and costs.


Torch reaches peak of Mount Everest

Cheering mountaineers raised the Olympic torch at the summit of Mount Everest, producing the triumphant image that China has sought in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

The final ascent along Mount Everest's icy ridge was broadcast live and provided organizers with a dramatic counterpoint to the pro-Tibet protests that marked parts of the torch's international relay.

San Antonio Spurs standout Manu Ginobili and fellow NBA players Fabricio Oberto, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni were selected for a preliminary 10-man roster to defend Argentina's basketball gold in Beijing.

Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, the Brazilian bronze medalist attacked by a protester while leading the marathon at 2004 Olympics, is unlikely to run in the Beijing Games because of a muscle injury.


Huggins injures head in fall on airport tarmac

West Virginia basketball Coach Bob Huggins was taken to a hospital in Charlotte, N.C., for precautionary reasons after tripping over a cone on an airport tarmac and hitting his head on the pavement, school officials said.

Athletic Director Ed Pastilong says Huggins had a bump on his head, and never lost consciousness.

The Jockey Club formed a committee to study equine health, including track safety and the rules of racing, five days after the death of Eight Belles at the Kentucky Derby.

Ogden Mills Phipps, chairman of the Jockey Club, said in New York that the committee would be asked to review every facet of equine health and to recommend actions to be taken by the horse industry to improve the health and safety of thoroughbreds.

The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court refused to stay a lower court's ruling that San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club is the challenger of record in the America's Cup, according to the U.S. syndicate.

America's Cup champion Alinghi of Switzerland originally sought a temporary stay of Judge Herman Cahn's March ruling, but that request was denied April 15 and referred to the four-judge panel that ruled in New York.

Unless the appeals court sides with Alinghi, the Swiss must face the GGYC's sailing crew, BMW Oracle Racing, in a head-to-head showdown either in October or next year for the America's Cup.

UCLA's women's water polo team will be trying to become the school's third program to win four consecutive NCAA championships when tournament play begins today at Stanford. UCLA opens against No. 8-seeded Pomona-Pitzer (17-11) at 5 p.m. In other games, No. 2 Stanford (25-4) plays No. 7 Marist (27-7), No. 3 USC (19-7) goes against No. 6 Michigan (33-9), and No. 4 San Diego State (29-6) faces No. 5 UC Davis (26-8).

-- Peter Yoon

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