Manning opens up an eight-shot lead

In St. Petersburg, Fla., Augusta State senior Major Manning carries an eight-shot lead into today's final round of the 81st New Year's Invitational tournament.

Manning has fired rounds of 69-66-66-201 at St. Petersburg Country Club. In Saturday's round, which was played in strong winds, he had two eagles and finished his round with a birdie.

Teammate Tarik Can, a sophomore, is tied for ninth place after rounds of 73-73-71-217.


Nadal is bounced in Chennai semifinals

In Chennai, India, top-seeded Rafael Nadal lost to Xavier Malisse 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the semifinals of the Chennai Open.

The 26-year-old Belgian will play in the final today against Stefan Koubek of Austria, who beat two-time title winner Carlos Moya 6-3, 6-1.

The 79th-ranked Koubek stopped Moya's chance of making a fourth consecutive Chennai Open final.

Against No. 2 Nadal, Malisse clinched the opening set after forcing the only break of the match in the third game. He managed to hold his service throughout, although it came under pressure in the second set. Malisse saved six break points - three each in the 10th and 12th games.

Nadal failed to advance to a final since Wimbledon.

- In Gold Coast, Australia, Dinara Safina of Russia took advantage of Martina Hingis' double fault in the last game to beat the Swiss star 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the Australian Women's Hardcourt final.

The top-seeded Hingis, who used this event last year as her comeback event and lost in the semifinals, double-faulted at 0-30 in the 12th game to set up match point. The 20-year-old Safina, the sister of ATP Tour veteran Marat Safin, won on the next point.

Safina added the doubles championship two hours later, combining with Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia to beat Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic and Galina Voskobeova of Russia 6-3, 6-4.

- In Auckland, New Zealand, top-seeded Jelena Jankovic won the ASB Tennis Classic, beating fifth-seeded Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (9), 5-7, 6-3 in windy conditions.

The match took 2 hours, 45 minutes. There were four service breaks in the 63-minute first set, eight in the 64-minute second, and three in the 37-minute third.

Jankovic, from Serbia, arrived in Auckland on Monday, less than 24 hours before her first match.

"I'm speechless, I came here so late and didn't know what to expect from this tournament and here I am holding this trophy," Jankovic said.


Aamodt concludes illustrious career

Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt retired Saturday, ending a career in which won the most Olympic and world championship medals in skiing history.

"I am neither in the physical or mental shape to continue," said the 35-year-old skier, fighting back tears. "In addition, I have a family to consider."

Aamodt announced his retirement on national television while accepting a Norwegian award as the best male athlete of 2006.

Aamodt hurt his knee in the downhill at the 2006 Olympics but went on to defend his Olympic title in the super-G despite the injury. That victory boosted his Olympic medal count to eight, a record. He also holds the mark with 12 medals in the worlds.

In March, he underwent surgery to repair knee cartilage. In December, he said he hoped to continue competing.


Searels is named Georgia line coach

Georgia native Stacy Searels, the offensive line coach at Louisiana State University the past four years, has been named Georgia's new line coach .

Georgia coach Mark Richt announced Searels will replace Neil Callaway, who in December was named head coach at Alabama-Birmingham.

Searels, a native of Trion, Ga., was an offensive lineman at Auburn, where he played with Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner.

Before working at LSU, Searels coached the offensive line at Cincinnati (2000-02) and Appalachian State (1994-2000). He served as a graduate assistant at Auburn (1992-93).


Spring sports stats are due Wednesday

Individual player statistics are due every Wednesday at 4 p.m., no exceptions. The Augusta Chronicle will publish a listing of area leaders in the following baseball categories: Batting average, doubles, home runs, hits, runs batted in, on-base percentage and stolen bases. Pitching categories will be overall record, earned run average and strikeouts.

Soccer statistical listings will include goals and assists, plus keeper categories for saves and goals against average.

Nominations for players of the week also will be due at that time. Please include facts to support the nomination. The weekly stats and area players of the week will run each Friday.

Stats can be faxed to (706) 823-3408 or e-mailed to Jeff Sentell at jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com. Call (706) 823-3425 with questions.


Bjorndalen's streak comes to an end

In Oberhof, Germany, Nikolay Kruglov of Russia won a biathlon World Cup event, ending Ole Einar Bjorndalen's unbeaten streak this season.

Kruglov won the 10-kilometer sprint event in 28 minutes 38.4 seconds, missing one target. Germany's Michael Greis was 3.5 seconds back, with Italy's Rene Laurent Vuillermoz third, 3.6 behind.

Bjorndalen, of Norway, finished 30th after missing four targets.



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