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Tampa players come up short at Hall of Fame

Tampa's James Blake capped a bad day for top seeds at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships when he was eliminated by Gregory Carraz.

Blake, the top seed and last year's runner-up, was beaten by Carraz 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4 on Tuesday.

"He was going for it," Blake said of Carraz. "He had nothing to lose and played looser. He definitely had nothing to lose because he was expected to lose."

Defending champion Taylor Dent, the No. 2 seed, withdrew because of a pinched nerve in his right hand. No. 3 Mardy Fish, who trains at Saddlebrook and lives in Tampa Palms, lost to Dusan Vemic 7-6 (7-3), 7-5.

Dent was injured while practicing Monday.

The top seed never has won the title.

OTHER TOURNAMENTS: Roger Federer showed no signs of fatigue from his title at Wimbledon, beating Marc Lopez 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 in the first round of the Swiss Open. Federer is playing Gstaad for the sixth time. He never has made it past the second round. Teenager Rafael Nadal upset No. 3 seed Younes El Aynaoui 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round of the Swedish Open at Bastad. Top-seeded Magui Serna beat Conchita Martinez Granados 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in an all-Spanish match in the first round of the Palermo International in Sicily.

FED CUP: Daniela Hantuchova will miss the next round, meaning defending champion Slovakia will be without its top player in this month's quarterfinals. Hantuchova had decided to play for the team once a year so she can concentrate on her schedule, said Lubomir Palenik, international secretary of the Slovak Tennis Association.

GOLF Skins Game considers Sorenstam

Organizers of the Skins Game are trying to decide whether to offer Annika Sorenstam a sponsor exemption. It will be played Nov. 29-30. "I would be flattered," Sorenstam said about a possible exemption. "I would consider it, because it's not a PGA event, and I won't do another PGA event. But a special event like this is different."

WORLD MATCH PLAY: A sponsorship commitment might cause Tiger Woods to miss the Oct. 16-19 tournament. Woods has a "long-standing, nonplaying commitment" and has promised that if he can't play this year, he would like to do so next, HSBC spokesman Richard Beck said.

BRITISH OPEN: Ten golfers from Nigeria and four from Ghana failed to show for qualifying, but organizers believe it is not a repeat of last year's visa scandal. Before last year's championship, 47 Nigerians paid the $160 entry fees and then didn't arrive for qualifying. British government officials suspected they used it as a way of illegally obtaining visas. Organizers toughened the qualifying procedure and think the players simply found it too expensive to come.

AUTOS Pepsi 400 ratings up

NBC's coverage of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday at Daytona earned a 6.0 national rating, a 15 percent jump from last year's broadcast on Fox. It was the fifth time in three years that NASCAR has achieved a rating of 6.0 or better on the network. Last year's broadcast produced a 5.2. One ratings point is about 1.1-million homes.

SKINNER RETURNS: Mike Skinner was hired to drive the next two races in the Craftsman Truck series for Billy Ballew Motorsports. Skinner, the 1995 series champion, was fired from his Winston Cup ride at Morgan-McClure Motorsports last month.


BOXING: Welterweight Andre Berto of Winter Haven defeated Yasiavichus Rolandas 29-22, giving the United States its first win at the World Amateur Championships in Bangkok, Thailand.

HORSE RACING: General Challenge was retired after a career in which the Bob Baffert-trained gelding won several big stakes races and earned nearly $3-million.

OBITUARY: Donald Phelps, who as chairman of a sports council at the University of Texas helped oversee the hiring of coaches in football, baseball and basketball, died at 73. Mr. Phelps was the first black chancellor of the Seattle and Los Angeles community college systems.

2012 OLYMPICS: Six months after failing to win the U.S. candidacy, a Bay area bid team has alleged that the USOC conducted a biased election and routinely failed to follow or enforce its code of ethics. New York was selected over San Francisco.

_ Compiled from Times wires.