TENNIS ROUNDUP : Becker Regains Form on Clay Against Steeb

From Associated Press

After struggling on clay all season, Boris Becker finally won on that surface, beating fellow German Carl-Uwe Steeb, 6-4, 6-2, in the $1.7-million German Open at Hamburg.

Becker, 25, entered the tournament late in hopes of preserving his No. 4 ranking in the world. He was an early-round loser at recent clay-court events in Nice, Monte Carlo and Madrid.

'I've got my timing and my form back. It's taken a long time," said Becker, who had been off seven weeks because of an injury.

Top-seeded Stefan Edberg had no trouble against Uruguay's Marcelino Filippini, winning, 6-3, 6-3; No. 3 Ivan Lendl had to struggle to defeat Argentina's Alberto Mancini, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2, and last year's finalist, Michael Stich, got past Jordi Arrese of Spain, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.


Cheered on by a center-court crowd, Italy's Francesca Bentivoglio upset seventh-seeded Jana Novotna, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), in the Italian Open at Rome.

Bentivoglio is a 16-year-old qualifier ranked No. 329 in the world. The tournament has not been won by an Italian since Raffaela Reggi in 1985.

Jennifer Capriati defeated Italy's Sandra Cecchini, 6-3, 6-2, despite elbow problems. "I felt pain in my right elbow while serving," Capriati said. "It's not tennis elbow. I don't know what it is."

Others advancing were top-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, who beat Rosana De Los Rios of Paraguay, 6-2, 6-0, and No. 2 Martina Navratilova, who beat Debbie Graham, 6-0, 6-4.


Jeff Tarango advanced to the quarterfinals of the USTA Men's Clay Courts of Tampa when Alex O'Brien, his former teammate at Stanford, retired because of heat exhaustion. Tarango was leading, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4, 1-1, when O'Brien walked off the court for the tournament's fourth heat-related retirement in two days. O'Brien received two hours of intravenous treatment from tournament doctors and planned to play doubles Wednesday night.

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