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Just Like Good Old Days: Graf, Sampras in Finals

November 08, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

Even Steffi Graf wasn't ready for the success of her latest comeback.

Graf reached the final of the Leipzig Open Saturday at Leipzig, Germany.

The former world No. 1 struggled past Belgium's Dominique van Roost, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0, in her first tournament in two months.

"I'm surprised," said Graf, who had an operation for a bone spur on her right hand after the U.S. Open. "None of these matches was easy.

"I'm trying to get back to the top. I've had a lot of injuries the past few months. But I keep overcoming them and coming back."

Graf, ranked 20th, will face top-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France in today's final. The Wimbledon finalist defeated Romania's Irina Spirlea, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.


Staying on course to retain his No. 1 spot at year's end, Pete Sampras defeated Todd Martin, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), to reach the final of the $2.55-million Paris Open. Sampras, the defending champion, will face Britain's Greg Rusedski in today's final. Rusedski defeated Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Auto Racing

Jack Sprague, who trails Ron Hornaday by 13 points in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship race, grabbed the pole for the season-ending Sam's Town 250 at Las Vegas with a record lap speed of 161.749 mph. . . . Dale Earnhardt Jr. virtually clinched the NASCAR Busch Series championship despite losing a late-race duel with Mark Martin in the Stihl 300 at Hampton, Ga. Earnhardt's second-place finish, combined with a fourth-place by series runner-up Matt Kenseth means he has only to start the season finale next week at Homestead, Fla., to win his first title.

College Basketball

A published report said Stevin Smith, one of two former Arizona State players who admitted to point-shaving, arrived on campus his senior year in 1993 driving a car registered to a Texas high school basketball coach.

The Tribune in suburban Phoenix cited unidentified sources who said the Ford Mustang GT was registered to former Roosevelt High coach Alex Gillum, who is serving a 15-year prison term for the sexual assault of a 16-year-old female student.

Smith pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit sports bribery conspiracy and faces sentencing Feb. 1, along with teammate Isaac Burton. Both admitted to point-shaving during the 1993-94 season.

Florida point guard Eddie Shannon and forward Major Parker were suspended for one and two games, respectively, for participating in summer basketball not sanctioned by the NCAA. Kenyan Weaks, the Gators' top returning scorer, is already suspended the first seven games after being charged with misdemeanor battery by a female acquaintance. . . . A.J. Guyton scored 23 points to lead No. 22 Indiana to an 83-69 victory over Seton Hall at Indianapolis in the opening game of the college basketball season. . . . Freshman Lubos Barton scored 27 points, including five three-pointers and four crucial free throws over the final 40 seconds, as Valparaiso defeated South Carolina, 67-61, in the second game at Indianapolis.


Hall of Fame track and field coach Stan Wright, who coached six Olympic gold medalists and was blamed for two U.S. sprinters failing to reach the starting line in time for the 1972 Olympic Games, died Friday night in Houston, his daughter, Toni Hartfield, said. He was 78 and had been hospitalized since last Sunday. About 12-15 years ago, he had a heart bypass operation, Hartfield said. . . . NBA owners and players appeared in no hurry to end the league's four-month lockout as the two sides made no effort to resume negotiations at New York, raising the specter that the season might not begin until 1999. . . . Virgil Hill dropped Jimmy Hays at 2:27 of the first round to win the IBC cruiserweight title at Bismarck, N.D. It was Hill's (44-3) first cruiserweight fight after 14 years in the light heavyweight division where he won three titles. Hays, who at 26 is eight years younger than Hill, fell to 22-2. . . . The United States defeated Estonia, 7-1, at Klagenfurt, Austria, and returned to international hockey's elite A-Pool. . . . The U.S. equestrian team won the Nations Cup at the National Horse Show at New York, but still needs to finish fourth or better at the 1999 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg to get an Olympic berth. . . . The top-ranked Long Beach State women's volleyball team (24-0, 14-0 Big West) defeated No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (22-5, 11-3), 15-9, 15-5, 15-6, to win the Big West's Western Division. A record 5,118 watched the game at Long Beach. . . . The Cal State Dominguez Hills women's soccer team won its third consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title, defeating Cal Poly Pomona, 1-0, in the conference championship at Bakersfield. . . . In women's volleyball, Pepperdine (14-9, 8-3 West Coast Conference) moved to within a game of first place San Diego (19-5, 9-2) with a 15-13, 15-12, 15-7 victory over the Toreros at Pepperdine.

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