Venus Williams ran into the same indefatigable force in the Sydney International final that her sister Serena did in the semifinals, an inspired Arantxa Sanchez Vicario delivering this message: "I'm still here."
Sanchez Vicario, a former No. 1 who slipped to No. 9 after a 20-month drought in 36 tournaments, outserved, outslugged and outran the 17-year-old Venus Williams, 6-1, 6-3, today.
Sanchez Vicario, 26, hadn't won a tournament since Hamburg, Germany, in May 1996.
"It's not easy to beat two Williams sisters," Venus said, giving Sanchez Vicario full credit. "Next time we'll just have to play better."
Mark Philippoussis will play Andre Agassi for the championship of the Colonial Classic after beating French Open titlist Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), in Melbourne. . . . Marcelo Rios of Chile captured a third-set tiebreaker to defeat Australia's Richard Fromberg, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), and win the BellSouth Open at Auckland, New Zealand.
The Florida Panthers acquired Dino Ciccarelli, the No. 9 scorer in NHL history, from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a four-player deal.
Florida sent disgruntled backup goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick and seldom-used winger Jody Hull to the Lightning, who gave the Panthers defenseman Jeff Norton.
Ciccarelli, a winger who played for Florida Coach Bryan Murray in Washington and Detroit, has 597 career goals. He has scored 30 or more goals in a season 11 times since starting his career in 1980 with Minnesota.
The Kings released minor league left wing Sean O'Brien, 25.
Washington Coach Jim Lambright signed a contract extension through the 2001 season that could earn him about $566,000 in 1998. That's about $167,000 more than he made this past season.
Lambright took over in August 1993 after Don James resigned. At the time, the program was in the midst of sanctions levied by the Pacific 10 Conference for several rules violations.
In five years as coach, Lambright has posted an overall record of 38-19-1, best among Pac-10 teams during that span.
Pasha Grishuk and Yevgeny Platov won the European ice dancing title--their 21st consecutive victory--with a dramatic free skate that earned four perfect 6.0 scores at Milan, Italy.
Trailing their Russian compatriots Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov because of Platov's fall during the original dance, the reigning Olympic and world champions were brilliant in skating to Michael Nyman's "Memorial Requiem."
Austrian Hermann Maier won his fifth consecutive World Cup race and eighth of the season, taking a men's downhill on the Lauberhorn course at Wengen, Switzerland, in 1 minute 44.89 seconds. The course was shortened 300 meters because of fog.
Nicolas Burtin of France was runner-up in 1:45.57.
Norway's Kim Christiansen had the top score in both runs down the halfpipe, 80.6 points, and took his first World Cup snowboarding victory of the season at San Candido, Italy. Runner-up Klas Vangen, also of Norway, had 79.8 points and retained the lead in the World Cup standings.
In the women's competition, Anna Hellman of Sweden put in a spectacular second run to win with 60.3 points. Germany's Sabine Wehr-Hassler placed second with a score of 58.7.
Weeks of heated debate and ardent campaigning will end today as Dallas voters decide whether to approve financing for a proposed downtown arena for the city's pro basketball and hockey teams.
Former University of Maine hockey goalie Bryan Masotta, 22, was fined $1,000 for leaving a racially charged telephone message containing death threats against Dwayne Wilmot, a black member of the football team.
Names in the News
Tom Gentry, who set several world offshore speedboat records before a 1994 crash left him hospitalized in a coma for years, has died at 67 in Honolulu. . . . Marion Jones, the track and field world's fastest woman last year, and John Godina, the No. 1 shotputter in the world, have been selected as the 1997 Amateur Athletic Foundation Southern California female and male athletes of the year.