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Agassi Beats Safin in Paris Open Final

November 08, 1999|From Staff and Wire Reports

Andre Agassi continued his outstanding year by winning the Paris Open with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Russian teenager Marat Safin on Sunday.

Agassi, who has already won the French and U.S. Open this year, had a little too much savvy for the unseeded Safin. In the 2-hour 32-minute match, Agassi raised his game when it mattered, winning five of seven break points, compared to only three of 13 for Safin.

"I thought we were both outstanding," Agassi said. "He kept it together very well today and made me earn it from start to finish.

"Against Safin, every point is important because a couple of swings of his racket and he breaks your serve."

Safin agreed that Agassi had won the tactical battle. "The problem was I started to play his game, running all the time," he said. "I prefer to play short points. I was also very nervous . . . I got very tired at running along the baseline."

Agassi also won the Paris Open in 1994. For this victory, he earned $393,000, bringing his 1999 earnings to more than $3 million.

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Nathalie Tauziat of France continued a late-season roll, winning for the second time in three weeks while spoiling Czech qualifier Kveta Hrdlickova's chance to make tennis history in the Sparkassen Cup at Leipzig, Germany.

The second-seeded Tauziat took advantage of the Czech's nervousness and fatigue in posting a 6-1, 6-3 victory at the $520,000 event.

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Resurgent Jennifer Capriati defeated Chanda Rubin, 4-6, 6-1, 602, in the final of the $180,000 Bell Challenge at Quebec City, Canada. It was her second victory of the year after going winless since 1993.

Motor Sports

Tony Stewart dominated the Checker Auto Parts-Dura Lube 500K NASCAR race at Avondale, Ariz., while Dale Jarrett, who barely avoided disaster after he slammed into the back of Mark Martin's car, took another step toward his first Winston Cup championship with a sixth-place finish.

Stewart won for the second time this season, matching the rookie record set in 1987 by the late Davey Allison. Stewart previously won at Richmond, Va., on Sept. 11.

Jarrett's mishap forced him to make an extra pit stop on lap 149 to replace right-side tires and left him a lap down, but he worked his way back to the lead lap before the end of the race.

Jarrett, who led 50 of the first 148 laps, will head into Sunday's inaugural Winston Cup race in Homestead, Fla., leading Bobby Labonte, who finished third, by 231 points.

Boxing

Two people were arrested and a boxing official was injured when a chair-throwing melee broke out after a heavyweight bout in Atlantic City, N.J. More than 50 people were involved in the fight, which came after Hasim Rahman was knocked out--and out of the ring--by Oleg Maskaev of Russia.

"It was a complete melee," a police spokesman said.

Steve Smoger, an alternate referee for the fight who was sitting ringside, was struck in the back of the head by a thrown chair. He was treated at the scene but did not require stitches.

There were no other injuries, police said.

Maskaev hit Rahman in the head with an overhand right 40 seconds into the eighth round, knocking him backward through the ropes and ending the scheduled 10-round fight televised by HBO.

Rahman fell out of the ring, landing on a scorer's table and falling off, hitting his head on the floor. Then someone threw a chair into the ringside seats, triggering a 10-minute free-for-all involving dozens of spectators and security guards in the Convention Hall ballroom.

Figure Skating

Michelle Kwan won the gold medal at Skate Canada in Saint John, giving her 16 wins in 18 figure-skating competitions in the last two years.

She fell during her free skating program, but she was so much better than the seven other skaters that she was the unanimous choice of the nine-member judging panel.

The 19-year-old skater competed first in the exhibition gala so she could get away early and fly home, where she has an exam at UCLA.

First place was worth $30,000. Kwan also won $30,000 one week earlier at Skate America in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Miscellany

Max Burdick, 76, of Salt Lake City who finished the Isuzu Ironman Florida Triathlon in 17 hours 1 minute 23 seconds, earned a berth in next year's Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Burdick missed the midnight cutoff by a little more than a minute, but organizers of the Panama City Beach event decided he was close enough.

International Olympic Committee vice president Richard Pound said at a Canadian Olympic Assn. board meeting in Mississauga, that the Olympic governing body is recommending he head the new worldwide anti-doping agency.

The unnamed drug-testing watchdog is due to start its work on Wednesday, but Pound said it probably won't be operating much before the IOC board meeting Dec. 10-11 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Pound said he would head up the unit for a year or so.

Distance Running

Joseph Chebet of Kenya won the New York City Marathon in 2:09:14, and Mexico's Adriana Fernandez won the women's division in 2:25:06.

In the last 200 yards, Chebet resisted a challenge by Portugal's Domingos Castro and held on to win by six seconds.

Fernandez beat Kenya's Catherine Ndereba by 2 minutes 28 seconds. Fernandez's 2:25:06 is the second fastest women's time in the race's 30-year history.

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