Sports in Brief | U.S. soccer women top-ranked in world

Posted: March 17, 2007

The U.S. women's soccer team took over the No. 1 spot in the FIFA rankings after its win in this week's Algarve Cup.

The Americans, who won the Algarve title for the fifth time, knocked defending World Cup champion Germany into second place, according to quarterly rankings released yesterday.

The Americans had not held the top spot since August 2003, the last ranking before Germany won the World Cup and the United States finished third.

Norway was third, followed by Sweden, South Korea and Denmark, which lost by 2-0 to the United States in Wednesday's final. France was No. 7, trailed by Brazil, Japan, Canada, China, England, Italy, Australia and Russia.

The Women's World Cup starts Sept. 10 in China.

European soccer's ruling body said it would consider introducing a cap on player salaries, a plan that may force teams including English Premiership champion Chelsea to reduce spending on wages.

William Gaillard, a UEFA spokesman and adviser to Michel Platini, the organization's recently appointed president, said limiting salaries to about 60 percent of sales would improve the sport's financial well-being.

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo has orally agreed to join Real Madrid at the end of the season, the Manchester Guardian reported.

Tennis

Daniela Hantuchova, the 2002 champion, defeated Li Na, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, to move into the women's title match in the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Calif., where temperatures on the court topped 100 degrees.

Hantuchova, a native of Slovakia who lives in Monte Carlo, won here five years ago, upsetting Martina Hingis. It was her first and only win on the pro tour.

Novak Djokovic advanced to the men's semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over David Ferrer.

The women's final is today, and the men's is tomorrow.

In the semifinals of the women's doubles, the top-seeded team of Lisa Raymond of Wayne and Samantha Stosur of Australia defeated Lucie Hradecka and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-3.

Elsewhere: The French Open will award equal prize money to male and female players throughout the tournament, falling in line with the three other Grand Slam tournaments, the French Tennis Federation announced.

Colleges

University of Michigan regents have approved the spending of $750,000 for new scoreboards at Michigan Stadium.

The scoreboards, approved on Thursday, are to be finished by the start of the 2007 season.

Kathleen Tierney was named the director of athletics, physical education and wellness at Bryn Mawr College. She had been the AD at Lebanon Valley.

Horse racing

The chief operating officer of the New York Racing Association is leaving to work for the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Bill Nader, who held key positions at the association that operates Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks, has been appointed executive director of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, effective April 23.

Nader's departure comes as NYRA looks to renew its agreement to run the franchise when it ends Dec. 31. Five other bidders are in the running. NYRA has operated New York's three biggest tracks since 1955.

Boxing

Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez grew up in neighboring towns in Mexico.

Now the 33-year-old world champions are finally going to meet in the ring. Barrera and Marquez will fight in Las Vegas tonight for Barrera's WBC 130-pound belt.

Barrera (63-4, 42 knockouts) weighed in at 130 pounds, and Marquez (46-3-1, 35 KOs) at 129 in the Mandalay Bay casino.

Demetrius Hopkins, the nephew of world champion Bernard Hopkins, of Philadelphia, is on the card. Hopkins (25-0-1, 10 KOs) will meet Steve Forbes of Las Vegas (32-4, nine KOs) for the USBA 140-pound belt. Forbes was a finalist in the boxing reality series The Contender.

Winter sports

Strong wind forced organizers to postpone a World Cup ski jump in Lillehammer, Norway.

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