Argentina's Mariano Puerta tested positive for a banned drug following his loss in the French Open final and faces a possible lifetime ban for a second doping offense, the sports newspaper L'Equipe reported yesterday.

Puerta tested positive for the stimulant etilefrine after his four-set loss to Spain's Rafael Nadal in the June 5 final, the French publication reported, without citing sources.

Puerta's urine samples -- the A and B specimens -- were analyzed by the French doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry.

Puerta told associates he had taken medication to fight the flu at the time of the tournament, L'Equipe said. The 10th-ranked Argentine won a second-round match yesterday in the Japan Open, defeating U.S. qualifier Eric Taino, 6-3, 6-4. Calls by the Associated Press to Puerta's hotel room in Tokyo went unanswered. . . .

Defending champion Lindsay Davenport overpowered Italy's Francesca Schiavone, 6-2, 6-2, to reach the Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinals in Filderstadt, Germany.

* COLLEGE FOOTBALL: The Sugar Bowl likely is heading to the Georgia Dome on Jan. 2, forced out of New Orleans for the first time because of Hurricane Katrina.

Bowl officials declined to confirm the game was headed to Atlanta before a news conference tomorrow, when the announcement is expected. But USA Today, citing a person involved in the decision, said the bowl's executive committee gave its approval Tuesday night.

* AUTO RACING: Crew chief Todd Berrier plans to appeal his two-race suspension and will be in Kevin Harvick's pit for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

* CYCLING: The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Geneva hopes to reach a decision on American Tyler Hamilton's appeal of a suspension for blood-doping by the end of the year or the beginning of 2006.

* COURTS: The television cameraman hospitalized following a tirade by the Texas Rangers' Kenny Rogers in June has sued the pitcher and the team. Larry Rodriguez, who works for Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW, alleged in a personal injury lawsuit filed yesterday in Tarrant County that Rogers injured him in an unprovoked attack on June 29.

-- From News Services