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Slovakian will appeal ban

Karol Beck of Slovakia plans to appeal his two-year ban imposed by the International Tennis Federation for a positive steroid test during last year's Davis Cup semifinal.

Tibor Macko, the president of Slovakia's tennis federation, said that Beck plans to appeal the ban imposed the day before by the international federation.

"We believe that (Beck) didn't use the substance consciously," Macko said.

Beck, 23, returned a positive test for clenbuterol after Slovakia's 4-1 win over Argentina on Sept. 24. Beck won both his singles and doubles for Slovakia, which reached its first final before losing to Croatia.

BANGALORE OPEN: Top-seeded Sania Mirza, playing in her home country for the first time in about six months, defeated Germany's Martina Muller 6-2, 6-2 during first-round action in India. Mirza, who last year became the first Indian to win a WTA Tour title, will next face Camille Pin of France. Third-seeded Mara Santangelo of Italy defeated Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2, but two other seeded players lost. Fourth-seeded Sybille Bammer of Austria lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 to Anastassia Rodionova of Russia, and eighth-seeded Emma Laine of Finland retired because of tonsillitis against Yuliana Fedak of Ukraine.

DIAMOND GAMES: Top-ranked Kim Clijsters returns from an ankle injury this week in Antwerp, Belgium, eager to face defending champion Amelie Mauresmo. Clijsters, of Belgium, will play before supportive fans in Antwerp when she faces No. 24 Tatiana Golovintonight. In match play, Russia's Elena Dementieva, ranked eighth and seeded fifth, beat Estonian qualifier Maret Ani 6-3, 6-2. Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, ranked ninth and seeded sixth, routed Dutch wild-card Michaella Krajicek6-0, 6-4. Golovin beat Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 7-6 (7-1).

OPEN 13: Top-seeded Rafael Nadal saved a match point in his first action in four months in beating Belgium's Olivier Rochus 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the first round in Marseille, France. Nadal, sidelined since injuring his left foot in October in his Madrid Masters win, led 4-2 in third set but Rochus rallied to reach match point at 5-4 before Nadal saved it with an ace. Also, third-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia defeated Rochus' brother, Christophe, 6-1, 6-2, and Russia's Evgeny Korolev celebrated his 18th birthday by beating Australian Open junior champion Alexandre Sidorenko of France 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

SAP OPEN: Qualifier Brian Wilson won for the first time on the ATP Tour, beating eighth-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5) in the first round in San Jose.

COPA TELM Fifth-seeded Carlos Moya of Spain rallied to beat Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-4 in the first round in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

SOCCER

MLS changing rules

Major League Soccer altered its game-day roster rules, deciding each team can dress 18 players for games this season. Teams had been able to suit up 20 players at home and 16 on the road. As before, up to three substitutes per game may be used. MLS also dropped its system of caution points, which were based on the severity of infractions. Instead, a player would be suspended for one game if he accumulates five yellow cards. Reaching eight and 11 yellow cards would result in additional one-game suspensions.

ET CETERA

AUTO RACING: Driver Katherine Legge said she was "shocked and overwhelmed" after being given a full-time ride in this year's Champ Car Series. A three-time winner last year in the Toyota Atlantic Series, she will drive a Lola-Cosworth for the PKV Racing team owned by 1996 series champion Jimmy Vasser, Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit.

RUGBY: Mike Ruddock, who last year coached Wales to its first sweep of rugby's Six Nations championship in 27 years, quit his post. Assistant coach Scott Johnson will replace him.

Compiled from Times wires.

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