Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 22 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ BASEBALL

Saito agrees to new deal

Japanese right-hander Takashi Saito agreed to a US$2 million, one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, a day before the team's pitchers and catchers report for pre-season spring training. "I'm very relieved to clean everything up," he said through a translator. "It just feels a lot better not having to worry about my contract. I'm just very happy that the Dodgers consider me a very important part of the team." Saito was 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 39 saves in 43 chances with the Dodgers last season, and made the National League All-Star team. Saito signed a US minor league contract with the Dodgers two years ago after playing 14 seasons for Yokohama of the Japanese Central League.

■ GOLF

Three share NZ PGA lead

Canadian David Hearn and Americans Darron Stiles and Matt Bettencourt shot 6-under-par 66s yesterday to share the lead after the first round of the New Zealand PGA Championship. The leading trio was one shot clear of three golfers with 67s -- Americans D.A. Points, Rick Price and Dave Schultz -- in the tournament co-sanctioned by the Australasian PGA and US Nationwide tours. Kiwi Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open winner, shot 70 and was among 49 players within four shots of the lead. Hearn had six birdies and no bogeys and Stiles gave up the chance for the outright lead when he double-bogeyed the par-four 13th along with eight birdies. Bettencourt held the lead at seven-under until he double-bogeyed the par-four 17th, then birdied 18 to reclaim his share of the lead.

■ TENNIS

Moya rallies to earn victory

Top-seeded Carlos Moya of Spain bounced back from a first-set scare to rout Olivier Patience of France 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 in the Brasil Open second round on Wednesday. Moya lost his serve only once to lose the first set. Patience won his opening serve of the second then Moya reeled off the last 12 games, allowing Patience just eight points in the third set. He advanced to the quarter-finals where he will face countryman Oscar Hernandez, who defeated Sergio Roitman of Argentina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Italian up-and-comer Fabio Fognini reached his second successive ATP quarter-finals when he upset eighth-seeded Albert Montanes of Spain 7-5, 6-3. Also, Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic defeated Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-4, 6-4 to make his first ATP quarter-finals since July 2005.

■ TENNIS

Blake wins in straight sets

Top seeded American James Blake beat Robert Kendrick 7-5, 7-5 to reach the second round of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championship on Wednesday. Play was interrupted by a six-hour rain delay and resulted in a pair of singles matches getting postponed until today. Unable to get in a groove early due to the delay, Blake fell behind in the second set but rallied to close things out in straight sets. Qualifier Amer Delic battled back to eliminate Donald Young, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3. Young had a 5-0 lead in the first set before unravelling. Sixth-seeded veteran Vince Spadea moved on with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over German Denis Gremelmayr. Japanese qualifier Kei Nishikori also advanced to the second round and led German Florian Mayer, 6-0, 4-3 when Mayer retired with a left leg injury.

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