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Sampras No. 1 After Victory Over Agassi

February 19, 1996|From Staff and Wire Reports

Pete Sampras is No. 1 again.

Putting his big serve to good use, Sampras easily defeated Andre Agassi, 6-2, 6-3, Sunday to win the Sybase Open in San Jose and regain his ranking as the world's top tennis player.

Sampras entered the match ranked No. 2 and Agassi was No. 3. The winner was assured of overtaking No. 1 Thomas Muster, who lost Wednesday at the Dubai Open in his first match at the top.

The new rankings will have Muster No. 2 and Agassi No. 3.

Agassi's vaunted return game was no match for Sampras' overpowering and deceptive serve. Sampras won eight of the first nine points and broke Agassi in the second game, holding his serve and fighting off three break points the rest of the way.

Sampras holds a 10-8 edge over Agassi in their seven-year rivalry.

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Julie Halard of France upset top-seeded Iva Majoli, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), in the final of the Paris Open to stop the Croatian's bid for a second consecutive tournament victory. . . . Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia overpowered Alberto Costa of Spain, 6-4, 6-3, to win the Dubai Open in the United Arab Emirates. . . . Guy Forget extended Cedric Pioline's losing streak in finals, beating his fellow Frenchman, 7-5, 6-4, at the Marseille Open in France. Pioline is winless in nine finals since 1992.

Winter Sports

Irina Slutskaya completed a sweep of titles for Russian skaters with a victory in the women's competition at the Centennial on Ice at St. Petersburg, Russia.

Tied for the lead with fellow Russian Maria Butyrskaya after the short program, Slutskaya maintained the form that took her to the European title three weeks ago. Michelle Kwan of the United States finished third.

Kwan, fourth after the short, attempted five triples and landed four successfully. But the American skater, bothered by sickness all week, turned a planned triple lutz into a double and put a hand down on her final triple toe loop.

Ilya Kulik won the men's event, Oksana Gritschuk and Yevgeny Platov the ice dance and Yevgeniya Shishkova and Vadim Naumov the pairs.

Christine Witty became the women's champion at the 27th World Sprint Speedskating Championships at Heerenveen, Netherlands, setting a track record of 1 minute, 19.97 seconds in the 1,000 meters. Sergei Klevchenja of Russia won the men's title after winning his second 1,000-meter race.

Miscellany

Frankie Fredericks of Namibia became the first man to run 200 meters in less than 20 seconds indoors, finishing in 19.92 at the Lievin (France) International meet.

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Pittsburgh Steeler offensive tackle Leon Searcy to a five-year contract for a reported $17 million, which would make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.

Meetings in Phoenix did not produce a plan to tie the Rose Bowl into college football's bowl alliance. After several hours of discussion, officials from the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences, the Rose Bowl and ABC agreed only to meet again sometime in the future.

Tennessee football players Anthony P. Hampton and Greg Kyler, who allegedly beat and kicked a man in Knoxville, are facing assault charges.

Yugoslavia's return to international water polo ended with a 7-2 victory over Greece in the final of the men's Olympic qualifying tournament at Berlin. Following the final, officials conducted the draw for the Olympic tournament. Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Yugoslavia will be in Group A. Croatia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Ukraine and the United States will be in Group B.

Two major rules changes involving the behavior of Olympic athletes--random drug testing and a code of conduct--received preliminary approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USOC's governing executive committee agreed to order all Olympic sports to stage out-of-competition drug tests on short notice and it also gave a tentative OK to changes in the code of conduct for U.S. Olympic athletes. The revision would give the USOC control over America's Olympians up to 45 days before entry deadlines and would force all team members to accept the code without changes or be barred from the squad.

Carlos Queiroz, who last spring turned down a chance to coach the U.S. national soccer team, was fired by Sport Lisbon of the Portuguese League.

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