January 8, 2013

Sports Digest

From staff and news services

SOCCER

History repeats; Messi wins FIFA Player of Year award

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi was named winner of the FIFA World Player award on Monday for a record-breaking fourth successive year.

The latest award will go a long way to confirming Messi as one of the all-time greatest players.

Second place went to Cristiano Ronaldo, who guided Real Madrid to the Spanish league title, and third went to Messi's Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta - who helped Spain to triumph at Euro 2012.

Messi took 41.6 percent of the votes, Ronaldo 23.68 percent and Iniesta 10.91 percent.

CANADA: Colin Miller was hired as interim coach of the national soccer team.

The position had been vacant since Oct. 18, when Stephen Hart resigned days after Canada was eliminated from World Cup qualifying following an 8-1 loss to Honduras.

GOLF

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: The PGA Tour season finally got under way, and Dustin Johnson took control at Kapalua, Hawaii.

Once Johnson got started, he didn't miss many shots with four putts at eagle on the back nine in the second round. He missed only three greens in regulation. When his 36-hole day ended, Johnson had rounds of 69-66 to take the lead into the final round Tuesday, with a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker.

Three days behind schedule because of high wind, the season started on the day its first tournament was supposed to finish.

LPGA: The women's tour has a new tournament this year that will be played in the Bahamas in May.

The 72-hole event will have a $1.3 million purse.

SKATING

OLYMPICS: The president of Lithuania refused to grant citizenship to American figure skater Isabella Tobias, who had hoped to compete for the Baltic country at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.

Since 2010, Tobias, 21, has partnered with Lithuanian skater Deividas Stagniunas, and in 2011 the pair won the bronze medal in ice dancing at Skate America.

TENNIS

SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL: Former champion Li Na advanced to the second round in Australia with a 7-6 (2), 7-5 win over Christina McHale to continue her winning streak to start 2013.

The fourth-seeded Li, 30, won the Shenzhen Open title last week

Former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic beat Tamira Paszek to set up a showdown with unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci, who upset eighth-seeded Nadia Petrova.

HOBART INTERNATIONAL: Top-seeded Hsieh Su-wei lost to former doubles partner Peng Shuai of China in the first round at Hobart, Australia.

Also, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

BASEBALL

SEA DOGS: Portland announced that Manager Kevin Boles, hitting coach Rich Gedman and pitcher Mike MacDonald will join Trot Nixon and former Sea Dog Josh Reddick at the 2013 Hot Stove Dinner & Silent Auction at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Sable Oaks Marriott in South Portland. This benefit for the Maine Children's Cancer Program is sold out, but will be streamed live on pressherald.com/sports.

MAJOR LEAGUES: Left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez, 34, and the Milwaukee Brewers finalized a $2.25 million, one-year contract.

Rafael Soriano still is looking for a job, but the Yankees rejected agent Scott Boras' overtures about potentially bringing the free agent reliever back on a one-year deal.

Soriano saved 42 games last year for the Yanks, prompting him to opt out of the remaining one year and $14 million on his contract.

BOXING

POSTPONED: Super middleweight champion Andre Ward had surgery on his injured right shoulder that will postpone his title bout against Kelly Pavlik for a second time.

The fight was originally scheduled for Jan. 26 in Los Angeles but postponed until March when Ward hit his shoulder while sparring.

 

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