Roddick keeps U.S. alive with victory
In Leuven, Belgium, with the U.S. trying to stay alive in the event's elite group, Andy Roddick delivered an overpowering 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Christophe Rochus on Friday to leave the Americans tied 1-1 with Belgium after James Blake lost the opening match of the playoff.
"I felt good from the start," said Roddick, who is trying to rebound from his first-round ouster at the U.S. Open. "I controlled the beginning of each set and that was pretty much it."
Earlier, brother Olivier Rochus opened the best-of-five series with a 6-4, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Blake on the indoor red clay at the Sportplaza.
In today's doubles, twins Bob and Mike Bryan are big favorites against Olivier Rochus and Kristof Vliegen. Sunday's reverse singles pits Roddick against Olivier Rochus and Blake against Christophe.
The winner of the series remains in the 16-nation World Group while the loser drops to zonal play next year.
Rafael Nadal, the French Open champion, beat Italy's Daniele Bracciali 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 after Juan Carlos Ferrero was upset by Andreas Seppi 5-7, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 in Torre del Greco, Italy. Spain, the 2004 champion, and Italy are tied 1-1.
Of the four semifinalists, only Russia has won the cup.
Argentina, trying to reach its first Davis Cup final since 1981, got a victory by David Nalbandian over Dominik Hrbaty.
At Bratislava, Slovakia, Karol Beck sent the home country to an early lead in the hard-court match by defeating eighth-ranked Guillermo Coria 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. Nalbandian tied the series by downing Hrbaty, Slovakia's top player, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.
In Split, Croatia, Russia's Nikolay Davydenko beat Mario Ancic 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Ivan Ljubicic, who plays his best tennis in Davis Cup, rallied to tie it with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Mikhail Youzhny.
Russian captain Shamil Tar-pischev led the women to the Fed Cup title last weekend, and is trying to become the first person to sweep Davis Cup and Fed Cup titles in the same year.
Burk calling new ad "gratuitous"
In New York, Martha Burk is taking aim at the NHL's newest television advertisement.
Burk, who led an unsuccessful effort to allow female members at Augusta National three years ago, called the ad "gratuitous" because it shows a scantily clad woman dressing a hockey player before he heads onto the ice.
Burk plans to send letters of protest to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. NBC is scheduled to run the ad next week.
"Here the NHL is trying to portray itself as family entertainment," Burk said, "and this ad doesn't support that very well."
"We're surprised that Ms. Burk would come to that interpretation," NHL spokeswoman Bernadette Mansur said. "This ad is very respectful of women. "
McQuaid promises hard line on doping
In Madrid, Pat McQuaid of Ireland was elected president of cycling's governing body and promised to crack down on doping in a sport with a history of drug scandals.
McQuaid defeated Gregorio Moreno of Spain by a 31-11 vote during a meeting of the International Cycling Union. He succeeds Hein Verbruggen of Holland, who led since 1991.
Lance Armstrong recently was accused by a French newspaper of using banned substances during the 1999 Tour de France, the first of his seven titles. Armstrong says he is the victim of a "witch hunt."
McQuaid insisted his group has a "very good reputation" in fighting doping.