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Capriati's Comeback Bid Gets Quashed by Novotna

November 04, 1996|From Staff and Wire Reports

Jana Novotna stopped Jennifer Capriati's bid for her first title since 1993, winning the final five games Sunday to take a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory in the finals of the Ameritech Cup at Chicago.

Novotna, seeded second and the No. 5 player in the world, won her third title of 1996.

Capriati, who captivated the tennis world as a 14-year-old six years ago, returned to the tour this season after two years of personal turmoil that included two stints in drug rehabilitation.

Cheered loudly by a crowd at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion, Capriati, unseeded and ranked 50th, showed she still has the game to return to the tour's elite.

Capriati displayed the strong baseline game and timing on ground strokes that once had her ranked sixth. But she didn't have enough in the final set, losing to Novotna and her chip-and-charge tactics for the third time this year.


Thomas Enqvist, his serve whistling as high as 125 mph, beat French Open champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-2, 6-4, 7-5, to capture the Paris Open for the biggest payday of his career.


New Zealand's Frank Nobilo overcame a four-shot deficit with a six-under-par 66 to win the Sarazen World Open Championship for the second year in a row at Braselton, Ga.

Nobilo overtook third-round leader Scott Hoch with an eight-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole, and stretched the lead to two shots when he sank a five-footer for another birdie at No. 14. His lead swelled to the final margin of four shots when Hoch took a double bogey-six on the 17th.

Nobilo's 72-hole score of 272 bettered by one the tournament record set by Ernie Els in the inaugural Sarazen event two years ago.

"I just played great all day," said Nobilo, who received $342,000 for the victory. "My focus today was brilliant. I hit all the key shots right. I can't believe it was me, that was all."

Hoch earned $205,000 after closing with a 74.

Lee Trevino sank a 35-foot putt for a birdie on the first hole of a five-way playoff--the biggest in Senior PGA Tour history--to win the Emerald Coast Classic at Milton, Fla. Trevino defeated Dave Stockton, Mike Hill, David Graham and Bob Eastwood who each shot par-four on the 398-yard 18th hole during the playoff to win $157,753. Stockton was two strokes ahead and had a chance to win in regulation, but he bogeyed the last two holes to create the tie at three-under par 207 after 54 regulation holes.

Germany's Bernhard Langer won for the first time in 13 months, carding a six-under-par 65 to win the Dunhill Masters by two strokes over South Korean Kang Wook-soon at Hong Kong. . . . Mayumi Hirase birdied the 18th hole and then beat Laura Davies in a sudden-death playoff to win the Toray Queens Cup at Inashiki, Japan. Despite the loss, Davies took the LPGA money lead with earnings of $897,302.


Cal Ripken's competitiveness was never more evident than in a game against the Japanese Central all-star team at Toyko.

His hard slide into second base in the second inning was the key play in the major league all-star team's 4-2 win over the Japanese before a Tokyo Dome crowd of 45,000. The major league all-stars lead the eight-game series two games to one.

In the second inning, Robin Ventura of the White Sox singled and Ripken walked. Tom Pagnozzi of the Cardinals grounded to short, and Ripken's slide into second broke up the double play and forced a bad throw into right field. That allowed Ventura to score the game's first run.

On the play, Ripken injured his right hand when he deflected the throw into right field. On his his next at-bat in the fourth, he hit a solo homer to left.

Jon Miller, the radio voice of the Baltimore Orioles for 14 years, says he is leaving Baltimore to pursue offers from other teams because team officials are not interested in keeping him. Miller's agent, Ron Shapiro, said the decision to leave the Orioles was made last week after talks broke down with the club.

Motor Sports

Jack Sprague won the $720,000 Carquest Auto Parts 420K race at Las Vegas, while Ron Hornaday Jr. won NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series overall title.

Sprague, who had won four previous races on tracks of a mile or longer in 1996, drove his Chevrolet under Ernie Irvan's sputtering Ford on the 147th of 175 laps to take the lead for good. He held off the Ford of Bill Elliott to win by 0.382 of a second--about two truck lengths.

Sprague averaged 120.782 mph, making the 420-kilometer race the fastest in series history.

Hornaday never made a serious bid for his fifth victory of the season. His 10th-place finish, however, wrapped up the overall championship, worth about $200,000.

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