Andre Agassi's second loss in the season-ending Masters Cup yesterday means Lleyton Hewitt will finish the year with the world No. 1 ranking.
Agassi double-faulted on match point, handing Juan Carlos Ferrero a 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6) victory in Shanghai. Shortly after the match, Agassi withdrew from the tournament with a hip injury. Thomas Johansson of Sweden will replace him.
Agassi came into the eight-player tournament with a chance to overtake Hewitt in the rankings and finish the year No. 1. But he failed to reach the semifinals after his second straight loss.
Hewitt then celebrated his top ranking by handing Marat Safin his third straight loss, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
"I think Lleyton obviously has had a great year," Agassi said. "He's again proven himself to be the best out there, and that's not easy to do."
Agassi's second straight defeat also clinched a semifinal berth for Switzerland's Roger Federer, who ran his record to 2-0 by stopping Jiri Novak, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2.
The round-robin portion of the tournament ends today when Carlos Moya takes on fellow Spaniard Albert Costa, Ferrero plays Novak and Federer meets Johansson.
Hall of Fame Moment
Ben Crenshaw has been linked with trusty teacher Harvey Penick for as long as he has played golf. His induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame will be no different.
Penick died a week before Crenshaw won the 1995 Masters, an emotional victory in which Crenshaw said he felt his teacher's hand on his shoulder, guiding him to the best golf of his life.
They will be together in spirit and name tonight at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., where Crenshaw and Penick are among six inductees to the Hall of Fame.
"It's extremely personal and sentimental to me," Crenshaw said.
The other inductees are two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, U.S. Open champion Tommy Bolt, British Open and U.S. Open champion Tony Jacklin and LPGA founder Marlene Hagge. . . .
The PGA Tour is returning to the Boston area for the first time in five years with a $5 million event that will end on Labor Day. The Deutsche Bank U.S. Championship, featuring Tiger Woods, will be played at the TPC of Boston in nearby Norton for at least the first two years of the four-year contract.
Cardinals Win in 2 OTs
Louisville's Nate Smith kicked a 27-yard field goal in the second overtime, and Kurt Jones missed his fourth kick of the night from 32 yards as the Cardinals defeated host Southern Mississippi, 20-17, in Hattiesburg.
The Cardinals (6-4, 4-2 Conference USA) beat the Golden Eagles (6-4, 4-2) for the third straight season.
Louisville's Dave Ragone was sacked by Rod Davis for an eight-yard loss on the first play of the second OT, but the left-handed quarterback managed to convert a first down with two passes to Damien Dorsey. The drive stalled at the 10, but Smith knocked through his kick to give Louisville its first lead of the game.
Southern Miss got to the 15 on its possession, but Jones, who missed a 46-yarder in the first overtime, pushed it wide right.
Jr. League Suspensions
The coach and a player from a team involved in a brawl-filled junior hockey league game were suspended by the league. A total of 23 players were ejected during Halifax's 9-2 victory over Baie-Comeau on Wednesday night in Longueuil, Quebec. At one point in the third period, all 12 players on the ice, including the goalies, were involved in the brawl.
Baie-Comeau's Louis-Philippe Martin was suspended for five games by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Coach Richard Martel was suspended for two games. The team also was fined $1,000.
Martin's suspension was automatic, since he left the penalty box to join the fighting.
Blackburn was eliminated from the UEFA Cup by Glasgow Celtic, which won, 2-0, as Chris Sutton and Henrik Larsson beat American goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Celtic advanced to the third round on 3-0 aggregate in the home-and-home, total-goals series.
Surgery for Miller
Olympian Bode Miller will have surgery today on his left knee but is expected to race a week later in the World Cup in Utah.