The Baltimore Sun

Top seed Jankovic loses in Australian Open


Jelena Jankovic went out in the fourth round of the Australian Open today, and No. 3 Dinara Safina was twice a point away from following the top-ranked player to the exit. In consecutive matches at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Frenchwomen took it to the top seeds. Jankovic was ousted by No. 16 Marion Bartoli. Safina survived, fending off double-match point against No. 15 Alize Cornet. "I am so lucky that I'm in the quarterfinals. She was one point away," said Safina, who made eight double faults and 52 unforced errors to 29 by Cornet. "My heart is still pumping so hard." Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, was the aggressor in a 6-1, 6-4 win over Jankovic that wasn't entirely unexpected. Jankovic, a Serb, 23, remains without a Grand Slam singles title and could also be without the No. 1 ranking in another week. Critics questioned whether Jankovic could convert her numeric ranking into a victory in the championship match at a major. She was a semifinalist in the Australian Open and French Open last year before losing the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams, who at No. 2 is the highest-seeded player left in the Australian women's draw. On the men's side, No. 1 Rafael Nadal ripped 53 winners in a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Tommy Haas yesterday and next faces 2007 Australian Open finalist Fernando Gonzalez. Gonzalez rallied saved match point en route to a 3-6, 3-6, 7-6 (10), 6-2, 12-10 win over Richard Gasquet of France. No. 4 Andy Murray won 11 straight games during a 7-5, 6-0, 6-3 win over Austrian Jurgen Melzer.

Czisny captures U.S. women's title

figure skating

Alissa Czisny made a rebound for the ages, winning the women's title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland. The 21-year-old, who last year finished ninth, wasn't perfect, falling on one jump and watering down another. But her elegant program was still superior to those of the highly touted up-and-comers who were supposed to turn this nationals into their coming-out party. Czisny finished with 178.06 points, easily beating reigning world junior champion Rachael Flatt. Caroline Zhang, the 2007 junior world champion, was third. "Throughout the years, there's been a lot of disappointments and hard times," Czisny said. "I think I've been able to take all of them and learn from them." Bel Air's Kimmie Meissner, the 2007 champion, didn't compete because of a hip injury.

Pairs:: Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker won their second straight title at the U.S. championships, overcoming two big errors with their considerable speed and strength. They finished with a score of 178.76, edging newcomers Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett by about 2 1/2 points.

Ice dancing:: Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their first title at the U.S. championships, far outclassing the rest of the field. Their score of 201.68 points was 20 better than reigning world junior champions Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates. Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre were third.

Tigers, reliever Lyon agree to one-year, $4.25M deal


The Detroit Tigers and right-handed pitcher Brandon Lyon agreed to a one-year, $4.25 million contract. Detroit needed a closer to replace the retired Todd Jones and compete with Fernando Rodney. Along with his salary, Lyon can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses. Lyon saved 26 games in 31 chances with Arizona, then was replaced by Chad Qualls as the Diamondbacks' closer late last season.

Athletics:: The team agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.9 million contract with right-hander Justin Duchscherer. A two-time All-Star sidelined by a strained right hip late in the season that later required arthroscopic surgery, he went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 2008.

Phillies:: Chase Utley said his rehabilitation from right hip surgery is on schedule, and the second baseman expects to be ready by Opening Day. He had surgery Nov. 24.

Ex-Navy coach Tranquill hired as BC coordinator

et cetera

Boston College named former Navy head coach Gary Tranquill its offensive coordinator. BC's new head coach, Frank Spaziani, made the announcement. Tranquill replaces Steve Logan, who resigned after two years at BC. Tranquill has worked under several big-name coaches, including Bill Belichick, Nick Saban and Woody Hayes. Tranquill was the head coach at Navy for five years, beginning in 1982. He was quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1993, while Belichick was head coach there. Most recently, Tranquill served as quarterbacks coach for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe in 2007.

Boxing:: Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 knockouts) dominated from start to finish, knocking out Antonio Margarito (37-6, 27 knockouts) for the first time in his career in the ninth round in Los Angeles to win the World Boxing Association welterweight title in a stunning upset.

Horse racing:: All Smiles ran down 2-5 favorite Fascinatin' Rhythm to capture the $50,000 Nellie Morse Stakes, the feature race at Laurel Park. Sent to post at 19-1, facing the longest odds in the field of seven, All Smiles carried jockey Dale Beckner for trainer Fran Campitelli and won by a neck in 1 minute, 37.83 seconds on the mile track. Irvs Pick finished third.

NHL:: Russian superstars Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins were winners in the All-Star SuperSkills competition in Montreal. Ovechkin successfully defended his breakaway challenge title, and Malkin claimed the shooting accuracy title.

Golf:: Steve Stricker shot a 10-under-par 62 to overtake Pat Perez and break a couple of PGA Tour records through four rounds of the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif. Stricker, who leads Perez, in second place, by three strokes, reached 33-under 255, bettering the tour's 72-hole mark of 31-under. Stricker's 61-62 also was a tour low for consecutive rounds. ... Brad Bryant shot a 7-under 65 in Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii, for a one-stroke lead at 15-under 129 in the Champions Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

College basketball:: Kentucky guard Ramon Harris collapsed outside the locker room at halftime of his team's 61-51 victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. A Wildcats spokesman said Harris was released from the hospital in the early evening and was traveling home with the team.

NFL:: Brian Schottenheimer is sticking around to run the Jets' offense despite losing out to former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan for the head coaching job. Schottenheimer has been the Jets' offensive coordinator the past three seasons, but it was uncertain whether he would stay after Ryan was hired Monday. After meeting with Ryan and owner Woody Johnson, Schottenheimer decided to return. Schottenheimer, 35, had a year remaining on his contract and reportedly received an extension.

More NFL:: The Jaguars hired former Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker to replace Gregg Williams, and former Colts assistant Russ Purnell was hired as special teams coordinator. ... Steelers tight end Jonathan Dekker was arrested early yesterday in Alexandria, Va., and charged with obstruction of justice. Dekker spent the season on injured reserve with a knee injury.

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