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Wimbledon Titlist Novotna a Winner in Her Homeland

July 13, 1998

Top-seeded Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic defeated France's Sandrine Testud, 6-3, 6-0, Sunday to win the Czech Open clay court tournament at Prague.

In the first set, Novotna, the Wimbledon champion and No. 2 player in the world, broke Testud's serve in the first game, lost her own in the second, then broke Testud's serve in the seventh and ninth games.

Novotna prevented Testud, ranked 13th in the world, from winning a single game in the second set.

"Sandrine was playing very well, but the wind was causing problems," Novotna said. "I felt fine and that's perhaps why I did not mind the strong wind."

*

Alex Corretja defeated Boris Becker, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the Swiss Open at Gstaad, denying the German a landmark 50th career singles title and first ever on clay.

Corretja, a French Open finalist this year, earned his sixth career title and his second this season.

Becker, who has not won a tournament since taking the Grand Slam Cup in 1996, will have to wait at least until his next appearance at Stuttgart, Germany, starting July 20, for another chance at the clay-court title which has eluded him throughout his illustrious career.

Because of his downsized schedule, Becker's ranking dropped to 119th in the world last week, falling from the top 100 for the first time in 13 years.

Magnus Gustafsson of Sweden became the first player to win the Swedish Open four times, defeating Andrei Medvedev, 6-2, 6-3, at Bastad.

Gustafsson, who also won the clay-court tournament in 1991, 1992 and 1996, surpassed compatriots Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander in victories. Borg and Wilander each won three times.

It was the second Swedish Open final victory for Gustafsson over Medvedev and his 12th career ATP tour title. Gustafsson also beat the Ukrainian 6-1, 6-3 in the 1996 final.

Leander Paes of India defeated Neville Godwin of South Africa, 6-3, 6-2, to win his first tournament title, the Miller Lite Hall of Fame Tennis Championships at Newport, R.I.

Pro Hockey

Free agent forward Steve Thomas has come to terms with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NHL team he originally signed with in 1984.

The Maple Leafs would not reveal terms of the contract.

The 34-year-old left wing is returning to the team that first signed him 14 years ago when the eight-time 20-goal scorer went undrafted.

The Pittsburgh Penguins appear resigned to losing captain Ron Francis to a four-year, $20.8 million offer from the Carolina Hurricanes, the team he played for when they were the Hartford Whalers.

The Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres are bidding for the 35-year-old Francis, the ninth-leading scorer in NHL history with 1,434 points. The Penguins, who have lost an estimated $37.5 million the past two seasons, aren't bidding.

The Hurricanes are expected to announce Francis' signing this week.

Francis played his first 10 NHL seasons with Hartford before the Whalers traded him to Pittsburgh in 1991, the year the Penguins won the first of their Stanley Cup championships.

Miscellany

Belgium's Tom Steels, disqualified from last year's race for throwing a water bottle at a racer, overcame stiff winds and a crash involving a half-dozen riders to win the first stage of the Tour de France at Dublin, Ireland.

Steels survived the concluding circuit of Dublin's vast Phoenix Park to win the 112-mile course in 4 hours, 29 minutes, 58 seconds.

Germany's Erik Zabel took second place.

Chris Boardman, the time-trial specialist from Britain who won Saturday's opening prologue through downtown Dublin, retained the leader's yellow jersey for a second day, finishing 39th.

Defending champion Germany won three races on the Rotsee lake to capture the Lucerne regatta at Switzerland and the overall World Cup in rowing.

Germany, which came in with a five-point lead over Britain, increased its season point total to 137. Britain had 112 and Denmark 93.

The U.S. women's eight, which included Amy Fuller of Westlake Village and Sally Scovel of Orange, won the silver medal at the World Cup.

Michael Johnson's scheduled sprint double at the Goodwill Games at New York has been short circuited. Instead of competing in the 200 and 400 meters, the events he won at the 1996 Olympic Games, Johnson will compete only in the 400 because of injuries.

The track and field events at the Goodwill Games will be held July 19-22.

The U.S. blew past South Africa, 143-31, in the men's World Youth Basketball Games at Moscow. Casey Jacobsen, from Glendora, scored 26 points.

The U.S. women's team also destroyed their competition, defeating France, 126-29.

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