December 30, 2012

Sports Digest

HOCKEY

Two sides talking via phone, but no official talks set up

Lots of questions, but still no answers in the NHL labor fight.

The league and the players' association spent much of Saturday talking to each other via conference call.

The conversations were strictly for the purpose of sharing information regarding the new contract offer the NHL made to the union late Thursday.

The initial thought was that the sides would get together Sunday in New York to hold official negotiations for the first time in weeks, but those hadn't been scheduled as of late Saturday afternoon.

SKIING

WORLD CUP: Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia upset the favorites at Semmering, Austria, winning a World Cup slalom for her first career victory.

She trailed overall World Cup leader Tina Maze by 0.55 seconds after the opening leg but overtook the Slovenian with a near-flawless final run.

Velez Zuzulova finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 37.28 seconds. Kathrin Zettel of Austria was 0.10 back. Maze was third, 0.20 behind.

The rest of the field finished more than a second behind Velez Zuzulova.

Teenager Mikeala Shiffrin of the United States, who led the slalom standings going into the race, straddled a gate and didn't finish her second run.

MEN'S WORLD CUP: Hannes Reichelt of Austria and Dominik Paris of Italy shared the victory in a tightly contested downhill in which the top four finishers were separated by two-hundredths of a second at Bormio, Italy.

Paris took the early lead by clocking 1 minute, 58.62 seconds for his first career win. Reichelt matched him to give Austria its first speed win of the season.

Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway finished third, 0.01 seconds behind -- the smallest possible margin.

Klaus Kroell of Austria was fourth, missing out on a podium finish despite being just 0.02 behind the winners.

CROSS COUNTRY: Kikkan Randall of the United States claimed her second cross-country World Cup victory of the season when she won the prologue event of the Tour de Ski at Oberhof, Germany.

Randall clinched the 3.1-kilometer sprint by leaving Charlotte Kalla of Sweden 4.4 seconds behind. World Cup leader Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland was third.

The tour consists of seven events over nine days in Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Randall finished last season's series in 10th place and was second in the sprint prologue.

Petter Northug of Norway won the men's 4-kilometer prologue to stretch his World Cup lead. Northug beat Marcus Hellner of Sweden by 6.1 seconds, while Alexander Legkov of Russia was 7.2 seconds behind.

Three-time tour winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland was fourth.

SPEEDSKATING

LONG TRACK: Heather Richardson dominated the U.S. Long Track Championships for the second day in a row, setting a national record in winning the 1,000 meters and wrapping up the sprint title at Kearns, Utah. Olympian Shani Davis won the men's 1,000.

HOCKEY

WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: Russia routed Germany 7-0 for its third straight victory at the junior ice hockey world championships at Ufa, Russia.

Earlier in the day, Viktor Arvidsson scored twice as Sweden beat Latvia 5-1 to secure a spot in the knockout round.

TENNIS

WORLD TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP: Novak Djokovic retained his title at the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi by rallying past Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4.

The top-ranked Serb swept past David Ferrer in straight sets to reach the final, but he got a tough test from the 11th-ranked Almagro.

HOPMAN CUP: Australia beat Germany 3-0 in mixed team competition after Andrea Petkovic had to retire from her singles match with a right knee injury at Perth, Australia.

Spain clinched a 2-1 victory over South Africa after winning the mixed doubles 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-8.

HUA HIN: Li Na of China won the annual Hua Hin exhibition event in Thailand, beating top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 2-6, 10-7 after a Champions tiebreaker.

-- From news services

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