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THE INSIDE TRACK | Newswire

Graf Completes Comeback by Winning German Event

November 09, 1998|From Staff and Wire Reports

Steffi Graf completed a comeback from wrist surgery and a two-month layoff by defeating Nathalie Tauziat of France, 6-3, 6-4, Sunday to win the $450,000 Leipzig Open in Germany.

Graf, unseeded for the first time in 13 years, won this event for the fifth time. It was the 105th title of her career.

Tauziat, seeded second, fell to 0-20 against Graf.

Graf, 29, ranked 20th in the world, said, "I never expected this win so I am very happy to have achieved it. After all the injuries it's not so easy to come back."

Graf now has a chance of qualifying for the season-ending Chase Championships in New York this month.

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In the biggest victory of his career, Greg Rusedski of Britain slammed 18 aces, including one on match point, and beat Pete Sampras, the world's No. 1-ranked player, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, to win the $2.55-million Paris Open.

The 13th-seeded Rusedski also volleyed well, hit laser-sharp passing shots and returned beautifully.

It was the first time he beat Sampras in seven meetings.

Sampras, the defending champion, didn't show any visible effects of a back injury earlier in the tournament. But he was not at top form--especially in the third set. He double-faulted six times during the match.

Basketball

Luke Recker scored 22 points to lead No. 22 Indiana University to a 76-55 victory over South Carolina in the NABC Classic at Indianapolis. The Hoosiers scored the game's first eight points and the Gamecocks never drew closer than five.

Valparaiso beat Seton Hall, 64-54, in the final game of the two-day event.

In women's professional action, Tari Phillips' layup with two-tenths of a second left gave the Colorado Xplosion a 72-71 American Basketball League victory over Portland.

Edna Campbell had 27 points for Colorado, which trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half.

In the wake of its coach's resignation, the Cal State Northridge women's team opened with an exhibition victory over Portland's AAU team, 103-72.

College Sports

NCAA athletes, with the exception of white females, are losing ground in the classroom.

Because of a particularly big dip among white male basketball players, Division I athletes who entered school in 1991 showed the first overall drop in graduation rates in four years.

According to NCAA statistics released during the weekend, 57% of Division I athletes who were freshmen in 1991 had graduated by 1997. For each of the three previous years, the rate was 58%. The NCAA noted that 57% for athletes was better than the 56% graduation rate of the general student body.

It was the first year the NCAA let the federal government collect the data instead of having the schools report directly.

In basketball, males dropped from 45% to 41%. White males dropped from 58% to 47% and black males from 39% to 37%. White female basketball players dropped from 74% to 71% and black females from 58% to 55%.

Among all male students, the graduation rate declined from 53% to 51%. Among all females, the decline was 68% to 67%. Black male athletes went from 43% to 41%, and white males from 57% to 56%. Black female athletes declined from 59% to 56% while white females held steady at 70% for the third straight year and were the only group not to decline.

Grambling graduated 72% of its athletes, while at the other end of the spectrum, Cal State Fullerton graduated 18%.

Soccer

After finishing in a three-way tie with California for the Pacific 10 Conference title, the UCLA and USC women's soccer teams qualified for the NCAA tournament.

The Trojans, 13-6-1 overall and 7-2 in the Pac-10, will play host to Washington (10-8-1, 6-3) on Wednesday, with the site and time to be announced today.

The Bruins (17-3-1, 7-2) received a bye in the first round and will play host to the winner between Stanford and Brigham Young on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the North Athletic Field.

Cal will play at Pacific on Wednesday.

Fiorentina of Italy was thrown out of this season's UEFA Cup because of an explosive device explosion hurled from the stands that injured an official and caused a game to be suspended last week at Geneva.

UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, said the punishment could have been more severe. However, UEFA determined the explosive device was aimed at the Fiorentina team and not at the Swiss club or game officials.

Miscellany

On opening day of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, November Snow, a multiple Grade I winner by the popular stallion Storm Cat, sold for $1.75 million at Lexington, Ky. . . . Speedskater Kim Dong-Sung of South Korea set a world record in the 3,000-meter short-track event with a time of 4 minutes 46.727 seconds in the World Cup at Budapest, Hungary.

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