Sports briefs 8/20/05

Saturday, August 20, 2005


* The Atlanta Hawks have a new point guard in Joe Johnson, and are losing Steve Belkin as co-owner -- just as the team's general manager and other owners wanted.

"This is a great day," said co-owner Michael Gearon Jr., who will succeed Belkin as the team's NBA Governor.

There was a party atmosphere at Friday's news conference on the Philips Arena floor, as Atlanta Spirit LLC employees applauded the team's new player and the winners of a power struggle for control of the team.

Johnson, who will earn about $20 million next season in the first year of a five-year deal worth about $70 million, become's the team's highest-paid player.

The Hawks sent guard Boris Diaw, two conditional first-round picks and a $4.9 million trade exception to the Suns for Johnson.

The deal was held up when Belkin wouldn't give his approval, promoting the other owners in the nine-man Atlanta Spirit LLC group to remove him as the team's governor.

Belkin went to court in Massachusetts to stop them. Finally, NBA commissioner David Stern ruled the Atlanta- and Washington-based owners, who control 70 percent of Atlanta Spirit, could remove Belkin.


* The widow of a worker killed in an accident has sued the Daytona International Speedway, accusing the track of having inadequate safety procedures.

Roy Weaver was picking up debris in February 2004 during the IPOWER Dash Series 150 when Ray Paprota, driving under a caution flag, struck and killed him.

Linda Weaver, of Ormond Beach, claimed in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that drivers continued to "strike, drive over, desecrate and mutilate" the body of her husband because officials didn't immediately stop the race. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

Weaver, 44, of Ormond Beach was the first track worker killed since the Speedway opened in 1959. He left behind his wife and three children ages 14 to 19.


* Wild card entry Robby Ginepri needed only 56 minutes Friday to knock Marat Safin out of the $2.45 million Cincinnati Masters. Ginepri advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the hobbled Russian.

Top-ranked Roger Federer also reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jose Acasuso. The rest of the field would be set after evening matches.

Three other top-seeded players advanced to the semifinals. No. 1 Roger Federer beat Jose Acasuso 6-4, 6-3 later Friday, setting up a match against Ginepri.

Fifth-seeded Andy Roddick overcame a sluggish start and an upset stomach to beat Mikhail Youzhny 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. He'll play third-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, who beat seventh-seeded Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-3.

* Defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France made the semifinals of the $1.3 million Rogers Cup when Russian Nadia Petrova withdrew due to an injured right chest muscle in their rain-delayed quarterfinal match Friday night.

Mauresmo and Petrova were tied 4-4 in the first set when they headed to the locker-room as a driving rain began to pelt the court. Mauresmo, the defending champion, eventually advanced to the semifinals after Petrova withdrew due to a strained right pectoral muscle.

Anastasia Myskina defeated Argentina's Gisela Dulko 6-4, 7-5 despite a splint on her sprained left ankle and advanced to the semifinals. Myskina, seeded ninth, will meet Kim Clijsters, the seventh-seeded Belgian who routed Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-0, 6-1.

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