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ROETHLISBERGER HURT IN MOTORCYCLE CRASH Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl championship, broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash yesterday in which he was not wearing a helmet. Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition, Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital said before surgery. The player’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, described the injuries to the Associated Press and said he did not know if there was further damage.
“He was talking to me before he left for the operating room,” Jones said. “He’s coherent. He’s making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he’s very stable.”
The 24-year-old Roethlisberger has said he likes to ride without a helmet, a habit that once prompted a lecture from Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher. Roethlisberger was on his black 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa – the company calls it the world’s fastest bike for legal street riding – and heading toward an intersection on the edge of downtown Pittsburgh. A Chrysler New Yorker traveling in the opposite direction took a left turn, collided with the motorcycle, and Roethlisberger was thrown, police said.
AGASSI SHOWS RUST IN LOSS TO HENMAN Andre Agassi played his first match in more than three months yesterday, and it showed. The 36-year-old Agassi lost 6-4, 6-4 to Tim Henman in the first round of the grass-court tournament at Queen’s Club in London, a tuneup for Wimbledon.
Agassi had played only eight matches since the U.S. Open in September because of a bad back, with his last appearance coming at the Indian Wells tournament in March. Henman, who also has been struggling with a bad back, attacked at every opportunity and forced Agassi into either an error or to hit short.
Rafael Nadal, who won his second straight French Open on Sunday, is the topseeded player in his first Stella Artois Championship. Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia is seeded second. Nadal, who has a first-round bye, is scheduled to play Mardy Fish or Jamie Baker in the second round on Wednesday. Defending champion Andy Roddick, seeded third, is bidding to become the first player to win the event four times in a row. Lleyton Hewitt won three straight between 2000-02.
FEDERER TIGHTENS GRIP ON TOP RANKING Roger Federer strengthened his hold on the no. 1 ranking despite losing to no. 2 Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, while women’s champion Justine Henin-Hardenne jumped two spots to no. 3 on the WTA Tour.
Federer picked up extra points because he fared better this year than last at Roland Garros, when he lost to Nadal in the semifinals. Nadal won the title both years. They’re followed by the same men who were nos. 3-6 before the French Open: David Nalbandian, Ivan Ljubicic, Andy Roddick, and Nikolay Davydenko.
American James Blake, who reached the French Open’s third round for the first time, moved up one place to no. 7, tying his career high. Mario Ancic of Croatia rose three places to a career-best no. 9 thanks to his quarterfinal run. Andre Agassi, off the tour since March, moved from no. 23 to no. 21.
In the women’s rankings, French Open runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova rose four spots to no. 6. Amelie Mauresmo and Kim Clijsters stayed at nos. 1 and 2, followed by Henin-Hardenne, Maria Sharapova, and Nadia Petrova, who dropped from no. 3 after exiting Roland Garros in the first round. Lindsay Davenport, who missed the French Open, remained at no. 7, followed by Elena Dementieva, Mary Pierce, and Patty Schnyder.Venus Williams moved up from no. 13 to no. 12 by reaching the quarterfinals.
MLB SLAPS GRIMSLEY WITH 50-GAME BAN Embattled pitcher Jason Grimsley was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball yesterday, less than a week after federal agents raided his home during an investigation into performance-enhancing drugs. Commissioner Bud Selig’s office suspended Grimsley for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, based on his statements to authorities regarding human growth hormone.
– Associated Press