An awkward move during practice, a sudden wrenching pain in the lower back, and No. 1-ranked Lindsay Davenport joined the growing list of top women tennis players with injuries heading into the French Open.
The 23-year-old American pulled out of the Italian Open in Rome before the third round Thursday after suffering what tournament officials called an acute low-back strain while hitting a forehand during a morning warm-up.
Davenport said she hoped to be OK in time for the clay court Grand Slam event that opens in Paris in just over a week, but that it was too soon to be certain.
Later, the tournament lost its defending champion when third-seeded Venus Williams was beaten by 17-year-old Australian Jelena Dokic 6-1, 6-2.
Third-round play saw second-seeded Nathalie Tauziat and fifth-seeded Monica Seles advance to the quarterfinals of the clay-court tournament. Tauziat squeaked by Magdalena Grzybowska 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4), and Seles beat Anne Gaelle Sidot of France 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Among the losers were fourth-seeded Mary Pierce, falling to No. 12 Amelie Mauresmo 6-3, 6-4, and seventh-seeded Julie Halard Decugis, downed 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 by Fabiola Zuluaga.
Magnus Norman stayed on course for consecutive titles Thursday when he beat Younes El Aynaoui to reach the quarterfinals of the German Open in Hamburg.
By winning the Italian Open last week, Norman jumped over Andre Agassi in the rankings that will produce the new No. 1 at the end of the season.
To survive the quarterfinals at the German Open in his quest for the second Masters Series triumph in a row, Norman will have to beat the same player he defeated in Rome for the title -- Gustavo Kuerten.
Norman, the third-seeded Swede, had to fight from behind to beat No. 13 El Aynaoui, from Morocco, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Kuerten, a former French Open champion, played spectacular, devastating tennis in a 6-1, 6-2 rout of Wayne Ferreira.
Mari Holden is making it easy for U.S. coaches to put her on the Olympic cycling team.
Holden dominated the women's 40-kilometer Tour le Fleur time trial Thursday at the U.S. Olympic cycling road trial in Jackson, Miss. The race winner doesn't automatically ride at Sydney, but Holden took a big step toward ensuring her slot.
Holden's time of 54 minutes, 24.66 seconds was more than 1' minutes faster than runner-up Karen Kurreck of Los Altos Hills, Calif., who finished in 55:55.61. Pam Schuster of Northridge, Calif., was third in 56:28.79.
USC Aiken head baseball coach Kenny Thomas has signed three more players for the 2001 season, bringing the number of signees to 14.
Andres Verde, Chris Parker and Michael Snellgrove are the latest additions.
Verde is a transfer from Okaloosa-Walton Junior College in Niceville, Fla. In 49 games at shortstop, he hit .331 with 11 doubles, a triple, and 30 runs batted in.
Parker, a right-handed pitcher and first baseman, played at Airport High School in Columbia. In 13 starts the all-region performer had an 8-1 record with a 2.32 earned run average. He hit .427 with nine doubles, two home runs and 25 RBI in 96 at bats.
Snellgrove played catcher for Brookland-Cayce High School in Cayce, S.C. Through 22 games this season, he was batting .314 with nine doubles, two home runs and 29 runs scored. Behind the plate, he had a .989 fielding percentage.
The 2000 Southeast Coast Regional Junior Olympic Boxing Championships will be held at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday at Camden County Middle School in Kingsland, Ga.
The Augusta Boxing Club will be represented by five boxers. Fred Hall and Lorenzo Abrams will compete in the 13-14 age group, and Matthew Bargeron, Jason Pinckney and John Dry will compete with the 15-16 age group.
Greg Jackson has left his head coaching position at North Carolina Central University to become head coach at Delaware State University. Jackson, a 1977 graduate of Lucy C. Laney High School, played for three years and was awarded most valuable player his senior season.
Jackson leaves Division II North Carolina Central to join the Division I Hornets. During his nine years as head coach, Jackson never had a losing season, amassing a 163-77 overall record, was named Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year, and led his team to the NCAA tournament three times.
He signed a six-year deal with Delaware State that will pay him more than the $74,828 per year he made at North Carolina Central. He leaves with four years still remaining on a five-year contract.
Former Olympic 5,000-meter champion Dieter Baumann's already slim hopes of competing at the Sydney Games dimmed further Thursday when the German lost his appeal of a drug-related suspension.
An appeals court in Frankfurt upheld a ruling by a lower court that had decided against removing Baumann's suspension.
The 5,000-meter champion from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics has been suspended by the German Athletics Federation since November after testing positive for nandrolone. Baumann has denied wrongdoing, saying the drug must have been injected into the toothpaste by someone trying to frame him.
A legal panel of the federation will make a final ruling in the case, but it is unlikely to come before the May 27 nationals, at which Baumann would have to qualify.