Neither Croatia nor Slovakia was able to move closer to its goal of winning the Davis Cup for the first time.

The nations, both finalists for the first time, were tied at 1 after opening singles matches yesterday in Bratislava, Slovakia. That means the best-of-five series won't be decided until the reverse singles tomorrow.

Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia defeated Mario Ancic, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, to even the score after Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic beat surprise starter Karol Kucera, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Slovakia captain Miloslav Mecir put Kucera into the opening singles as a replacement for Karol Beck, who withdrew because of a lingering left knee injury which has sidelined him for more than a month.

* SOCCER: FC Kaiserslautern's stadium in Germany was closed because of cracks in the roof covering the stands, raising concerns the arena won't be ready for the World Cup.

The closure of Fritz-Walter Stadium forced a postponement of today's Bundesliga match against Frankfurt until Dec. 14.

* SWIMMING: Olympian Pieter van den Hoogenband won the men's 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Open Swimming Championships in Auburn, Ala., in his first meet back after hernia surgery in May.

Van den Hoogenband finished in a meet-record 1 minute 46.23 seconds.

Olympians Katie Hoff and Ryan Lochte each picked up their third titles in the competition.

Hoff scored wins in the women's 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while Lochte won the men's 100 backstroke.

* HOCKEY: The Washington Capitals dealt prospect Maxime Ouellet to the Vancouver Canucks for a fifth-round pick in next June's NHL entry draft.

At one time, the goaltender was being considered for the backup role in Washington this season, but he was demoted on Oct. 5 after yielding 18 goals in less than four full preseason games.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Philadelphia in 2002. . . .

Buffalo Sabres forward J.P. Dumont had a sports hernia diagnosed; it could require surgery and cost him a large portion of this season. Coach Lindy Ruff said the decision on surgery hasn't been made, and that Dumont might get another opinion. . . .

The Nashville-Detroit game, postponed because of Jiri Fischer's collapse last week on the Red Wings bench, was rescheduled for Jan. 23.

* COLLEGES: The Maryland women's volleyball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row with a 25-30, 30-26, 30-24, 30-23 victory over Kentucky in Louisville.

Maryland (28-4), which has never won a second-round match, will play ninth-seeded Louisville (30-2) tonight. Elsewhere, American lost to Duke, 30-14, 30-16, 30-16, in Lincoln, Neb. . . . Georgia Tech will appeal the two-year probation and other penalties placed on it last month by the NCAA. . . .

Matt Kubik threw three touchdown passes and Louisiana Tech capitalized on five turnovers to deny host No. 23 Fresno State a share of the Western Athletic Conference title with a 40-28 victory.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports