The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Safina loses another 1st-round match

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 04:47 AM PST

HOBART, Australia (AP): Former No. 1 Dinara Safina was beaten 6-0, 6-1 by Marion Bartoli of France at the Hobart International on Monday, her second consecutive first-round loss at a warmup tournament for the Australian Open.

The Russian, who is trying to recover her form after a serious back injury, was defeated by Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium in three sets at the Auckland tournament last week.

"She (Safina) was a very tough opponent tonight - if you look at the rallies we played I think it was a really great match," Bartoli said.

"Some days we are really tight and the result goes my way. The score could have much been much tougher."

Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States advanced to the second round when Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia retired with a hip injury at the start of the second set after the American won the first set 6-2.

The Australian Open in Melbourne begins Jan. 17.

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Valverde loses doping case at Swiss supreme court

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 04:46 AM PST

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP): Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde has lost his final appeal to Switzerland's supreme court to overturn a doping suspension.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal said Monday it dismissed Valverde's challenge to a Court of Arbitration for Sport decision which banned the 2009 Spanish Vuelta winner until January 2012.

The CAS ruled last May in favor of the International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency.

The two organizations wanted the 30-year-old Spaniard banned worldwide after he'd been excluded from racing in Italy.

The cases centered on Italian authorities being allowed to use evidence seized in Spain during the Operation Puerto investigation.

Italian anti-doping officials matched a blood sample taken from Valverde during the 2008 Tour de France with a blood bag containing EPO that was found in a Madrid clinic connected to a sports doping ring.

Swiss federal judges upheld the right to use the evidence in a previous ruling against Valverde.

Although Lausanne-based CAS is sport's highest court of appeal, the federal tribunal can order a re-trial if it believes the legal process was abused.

Last year, Valverde's legal team said he could take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Valverde was number one in the UCI's world rankings when CAS ordered him to serve a two-year ban. The ruling also stripped Valverde of his 2010 results, including victory in the Tour de Romandie and second place in the Paris-Nice.

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