Croatia won its first Davis Cup title Sunday, with Mario Ancic beating Michal Mertinak of Slovakia 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-4 in the decisive fifth match in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Dominik Hrbaty had pulled Slovakia even at 2-2 by defeating an ailing Ivan Ljubicic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Ancic then downed Mertinak to clinch the best-of-5 series between two first-time finalists.
Croatia’s Nikki Pilic became the first captain to win the trophy for different nations. He led Germany to Davis Cup titles in 1988, 1989 and 1993.
“There is no comparison,” Pilic said at the victory ceremony. “Today I won with my people.”
“Paul Haarhuis won the Champions Masters indoor tennis title in London, beating defending champion Jim Courier 6-3, 7-6 (2).
Holmes, Points tied at Q-school
Former Kentucky star John Holmes shot a 6-under 66 for a share of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament lead with D.A. Points with one round left in the tense six-round event in Winter Garden, Fla.
The 23-year-old Holmes matched Points (67) at 21-under 339 on Orange County National’s Panther Lake and Crooked Cat course. Holmes and Points, the only players in the field with five rounds in the 60s, played Crooked Cat on Sunday.
The top 30 and ties today will earn PGA Tour cards for next season, while the next number nearest 50 will receive full status on the Nationwide Tour.
“Stefan and Bernhard Langer won the MBNA WorldPoints Father/Son Challenge in Orlando, Fla., combining for an 11-under 61 and a one-stroke victory over five-time event champion Ray Floyd and son Robert.
“Jim Furyk won the Nedbank Challenge in a four-way playoff, making a 9-foot birdie chip on the second extra hole in Sun City, South Africa.
Furyk closed with a par-72 to finish regulation at 282 along with Adam Scott (73), defending champion Retief Goosen (72) and Darren Clarke (69).
“Colin Montgomerie won the Hong Kong Open by one stroke over South Africa’s James Kingston, who squandered a one-shot lead with a double bogey on the final hole.
“Japan’s Ai Miyazato, 20, closed with an even-par 72 and finished 12 shots ahead of Libby Smith and Lee Ann Walker-Cooper in the LPGA Tour qualifying event in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“Nick Price’s team won the inaugural Bard Capital Challenge in Las Vegas when amateur partner Ralph Miller holed a 12-foot putt on the third hole of a playoff with Mark Calcavecchia and his two-man amateur team. The tournament took the low net score of the amateur team along with the gross score of the professional playing partner.
Americans have strong weekend
Making the most of an aggressive approach on a tricky slope that got the best of reigning overall champion Bode Miller and many others, Ted Ligety finished a career-best third in a World Cup slalom won by Giorgio Rocca of Italy in Beaver Creek, Colo.
The 21-year-old from Park City, Utah, capped a superb weekend for the American team, perhaps an indication of what to expect at the Turin Olympics in February. Veterans Daron Rahlves and Miller were first and second in Friday’s downhill, then reversed that order in Saturday’s giant slalom.
“Hannu Manninen of Finland edged Todd Lodwick of the United States by 0.4 seconds to win a World Cup Nordic combined sprint in Lillehammer, Norway.
“Jakub Janda of the Czech Republic won a World Cup ski jump in Lillehammer, Norway, with the longest jump in each round on the large Olympic hill.
Portland wins NCAA soccer title
Christine Sinclair scored two goals and Portland beat UCLA 4-0 in the NCAA women’s soccer national championship game in College Station, Texas, as the Pilots won their second title in three years.
“World Cup organizers decided to keep nets behind the goals during next summer’s tournament following German league games in which two players were pelted with objects thrown from the stands. The World Cup draw is Friday.
“Vanderlei Luxemburgo was fired as coach of Real Madrid, mired in fourth place in the Spanish league this season.
IOC plans China investigation
IOC president Jacques Rogge plans to investigate reports China’s child gymnasts and swimmers are being beaten by their coaches.
Rogge was responding to a BBC report in which four-time Olympic rowing gold medalist Matthew Pinsent visited a school in Beijing – host of the 2008 Olympics – and saw child athletes being beaten.
“Top-seeded Southern California won its second NCAA men’s water polo title in three years, beating No. 2 Stanford 3-2 on Pavol Valovic’s goal with 3:10 left in the lowest-scoring final ever.
“Dutch speedskater Carl Verheijen set a world record at 10,000 meters, finishing in 12 minutes, 57.92 seconds at a World Cup meet in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
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