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THE INSIDE TRACK | NEWSWIRE

Italian Open Victory Has Corretja Thinking French

May 19, 1997|From Staff and Wire Reports

Alex Corretja won a showdown of the world's hottest clay-court players Sunday and established himself as a favorite for the French Open.

The 10th-seeded Spaniard outplayed No. 7 Marcelo Rios of Chile, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3, to win the Italian Open at Rome for the biggest title of his career.

Playing in his fourth clay-court final of the year, Corretja avenged his loss to Rios in the championship match at the Monte Carlo Open three weeks ago.

"It's unbelievable to win here," Corretja said. "The next step will be to win a Grand Slam."

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Mary Joe Fernandez captured her first championship in more than two years, winning, 6-4, 6-2, when Mary Pierce's power game vanished in the final of the German Open at Berlin.

Fernandez survived a flurry of winners at the start from Pierce, the 12th-seeded player who won last week's Italian Open.

Motor Sports

Elliott Sadler, last in the race a year ago, got the first NASCAR Busch series victory of his career in the CoreStates Advantage 200 at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway.

After starting from the pole, Sadler led 107 of 200 laps and held off a hard-charging Todd Bodine to win by only .209 seconds in a Chevrolet.

The wife of NASCAR team owner Leonard Wood was killed and he was among those injured in a crash on Interstate 85 shortly after the completion of a race at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Betty Webb Wood, 64, of Stuart, Va., was killed about 10:50 p.m. Saturday night when a southbound car jumped the median and hit the northbound van in which she was traveling, the state Highway Patrol said.

High school senior Cristen Powell of Portland, Ore., defeated Bruce Sarver for her first career Top Fuel victory at the NHRA Mopar Parts Nationals at Englishtown, N.J.

Soccer

After five league titles in six years and an eight-month ban for kicking a fan, talented yet volatile French soccer star Eric Cantona retired. Cantona, who played for Manchester United will be remembered in many parts of the world for jumping into the crowd at Selhurst Park and kicking a Crystal Palace supporter in the chest after the fan had been taunting the Frenchman three seasons ago.

Ben Iroha's goal in the fifth round of a shootout gave the Washington DC United a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution before 12,624 at Foxboro, Mass. . . . Antony De Avila ended New York-New Jersey's 361-minute scoreless streak, and the MetroStars snapped a two-game losing string with a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards at East Rutherford, N.J. in front of 15,109. . . . Jamaica, on a goal by Andrew Williams in the 23rd minute, defeated El Salvador, 1-0, at Kingston, Jamaica, reviving its hopes of qualifying for 1998 World Cup in France.

Miscellany

World record-holder Donovan Bailey made a triumphant return to Canadian track, winning the 100 meters at the Harry Jerome Classic at Vancouver. Running on his native soil for the first time since June 1996, Bailey clocked 9.99 seconds to beat a field of six.

The College of New Jersey women's lacrosse team's 102-game winning streak came to an end as Middlebury College defeated the Lions, 14-9, in the NCAA Division III championship game at Bethlehem, Pa. . . . Kenyan Joseph Kimani took the lead early and crossed the foggy finish line well ahead of fellow countryman Peter Githuka to win the 12K Bay to Breakers at San Francisco in 33:51. In the women's race, Kenyan Jane Omoro won in 39:55.

Randy Harvey is on vacation

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