In Brief | Nation and World


Kuznetsova wins opener at Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Svetlana Kuznetsova took another step forward in her comeback from a right knee injury.

Kuznetsova beat Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-1, in Wednesday’s opening round of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Kuznetsova, twice a Grand Slam champion and two times a runner-up in this $10 million event, did not play following Wimbledon last season due to the injury and the former world No. 2 was ranked No. 85 on January 6. She is No. 46 now thanks in large part to quarterfinal showings at Sydney, Australia, and in the Australian Open and can continue her climb with a win over No. 18 Jelena Jankovic in the second round.

“I haven’t played her for years and it’s going to be a very interesting match,” said Kuznetsova, a Russian who is living in Dubai. “I remember that her down-the-line backhand was quite good and normally her movement was good, but I haven’t seen her play for a while, so we’ll see how it goes.

“I’m happy to be back on the court, this is the main thing. Every day I just try the best I can and things are coming along pretty well. I feel really balanced within myself, which is important. I actually have my dog here in Indian Wells, which is great! I’m a happy person, I do my favorite job and we’re here in this nice place with a lovely view and great weather. I think it’s everything we need!”

Vania King, 24, started well by winning a first-set tiebreaker from Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain, but the Spanish Olympian rolled through the next two sets for a 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-1 win. Lauren Davis, a 19-year-old Floridian, was a 6-2, 6-0 loser to 21-year-old Simona Halep of Romania.

Ball shows better speed at Wisconsin pro day

MADISON, Wis. — Running back Montee Ball was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.46 seconds, a big improvement over his combine time, at Wisconsin’s pro day.

The two-time All-American and NCAA’s career touchdown leader ran a disappointing 4.66 last month at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

“I knew I was capable of getting under a 4.5,” Ball said. “So I’m pretty proud of myself. I had to prove that I can run.

“I think I’ve shown I’m a complete back with my (game) tape, and also what I’m capable of doing with my feet in the 40, my agility times and ability to catch the football.”

Ball was among a group of former Badgers players who worked out for a large contingent of NFL scouts, coaches and general managers on Wednesday. At least 17 teams were represented at the event, including the Packers, Ravens, Seahawks, Saints and Patriots.

Pacers to re-evaluate Granger’s knee next week

INDIANAPOLIS — Pacers forward Danny Granger could miss another week with a sore left knee.

Granger missed the first 54 games with the same injury and sat out the second half of Sunday night’s victory over Chicago after aggravating the injury.

“We’re looking at it as being precautionary, understanding it’s still a long season; there’s still a lot of time left,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before Indiana hosted the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. “We want him to get back to 100 percent, and this is the best way to do it. (He) did not push through when there’s above average soreness.

“We’re looking at it as it’s hopefully going to be a short-term thing.”

The team issued a statement saying an MRI done on Granger’s knee showed no new damage to the knee. The team says he will be re-evaluated next week. Vogel thought Granger had the MRI on Monday and said he would have been available in a playoff situation.

Wyoming’s Martinez pleads not guilty to assault

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Luke Martinez, a Wyoming basketball player accused of kicking an unconscious man in the face during a bar fight, was not the aggressor in the confrontation, his attorney said Wednesday.

“Luke’s a victim here,” attorney Thomas Fleener said after Martinez pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated assault and battery.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Martinez, of Bismarck, N.D., is suspended from the team but remains enrolled at Wyoming. Martinez, a senior guard, is accused of kicking a man who had been knocked unconscious by another Wyoming basketball player on Dec. 30 outside a Laramie bar, according to a police affidavit.

During the fight, the man Martinez is accused of kicking suffered a fractured jaw, while Martinez fractured a bone in his right, shooting hand.

Before the incident, Martinez was leading Wyoming in scoring, averaging 14.5 points a game, and the Cowboys were off to a 12-0 record to start the season.

Without Martinez, Wyoming won its next game to set a school record for victories to begin a season but went 5-11 since heading into Wednesday night’s regular season ending contest against Colorado State.

WWE says William Moody, aka Paul Bearer, has died

William Moody, better known to pro wrestling fans as Paul Bearer, the pasty-faced, urn-carrying manager for performers The Undertaker and Kane, has died, the WWE said. He was 58.

A spokesman for the wrestling company said Moody’s family contacted the WWE to report the death on Tuesday. No cause was released.

After stints in various independent wrestling promotions, Moody joined the WWE in 1990 and quickly became associated with The Undertaker, a character who claimed he was undead and boasted of mystical powers.

In the WWE plotline, Paul Bearer later managed Undertaker’s on-screen half brother Kane. He also managed the bad-guy character Mick “Mankind” Foley.

From wire sources