Sun, Dec 28, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Sailing

Skandia maintains lead

The two leading yachts in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race entered Bass Strait on Saturday with Australian supermaxi Skandia holding a two-nautical-mile edge over New Zealand's Zana. Grundig AAPT, the surprise overnight leader, was in third place, about 10 nautical miles behind the leaders. Both Skandia and Zana, the pre-race favorites for line honors, are 30m supermaxis. All 56 yachts reported their positions early Saturday with no retirements since the 628-nautical mile race started in Sydney harbor on Friday. The race ends at Hobart on the island state of Tasmania, separated from Australia's mainland by Bass Strait. The race leaders had covered more than half the race distance by early Saturday evening. Crew aboard Skandia predicted a finish at Constitution Dock in Hobart on late Sunday night or early Monday.

■ Tennis

Matches made in heaven

It begins with Lleyton Hewitt facing his new fiancee, Belgium's Kim Clijsters, in a mixed doubles tournament at the Hopman Cup and continues for two weeks across six time zones. There are nine tennis tournaments scheduled in Australia and New Zealand early in the new year as players attempt to shake off the holiday break and prepare for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2004 that starts in Melbourne on Jan. 19. Hewitt, who asked Clijsters, his girlfriend of four years, to marry him during a harbor cruise in Sydney before Christmas, will partner Australia's Alicia Molik in the Jan. 3-10 tournament at Perth that also features the defending champion Americans with James Blake and Lindsay Davenport. Davenport replaces Serena Williams, who has delayed her scheduled return to competitive tennis to concentrate on preparations for the Australian Open. Williams has not played a tournament since winning Wimbledon in July. She had knee surgery on Aug. 1. At Perth, Belgium will feature Clijsters and Xavier Malisse while other countries include Marat Safin and Anastasia Myskina for Russia and Daniela Hantuchova and Karol Kucera for Slovakia.

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