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Sampras Meets Becker in Final of Paris Open

From Staff and Wire Reports

Today’s Paris Open championship will be a rematch of the Wimbledon final--Pete Sampras against Boris Becker, with Sampras trying to celebrate his return to the world’s No. 1 ranking with another victory.

Sampras, who defeated Becker in the Wimbledon final on grass, automatically will regain the top ranking from idle and injured Andre Agassi regardless of today’s outcome. Agassi, last year’s tournament winner, withdrew because of a recurrence of a chest injury.

In Saturday’s semifinals, Sampras topped Jim Courier for the 14th time in 17 meetings, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, with a double fault by Courier in the final set proving costly. Becker, who won the Paris Open in 1986, 1989 and 1992, defeated South Africa’s Wayne Ferreira, 6-2, 6-1.

With the loss, Ferreira lost his chance for the ATP finals Nov. 14-19 at Frankfurt, Germany. Seven players--Sampras, Agassi, Michael Chang, Thomas Muster, Becker, Courier and Yevgeny Kafelnikov--have qualified for the event. Goran Ivanisevic and Thomas Enqvist are in contention for the remaining spot.

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Second-seeded Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria rallied to defeat fourth-seeded Mary Joe Fernandez, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, in the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Oakland.

Magdalena will meet unseeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan, who advanced to her first final of the year when third-seeded Lindsay Davenport was forced to default because of a back injury.

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Top-seeded Jimmy Connors won and Bjorn Borg finally beat John McEnroe in the semifinals of the Champions Tour event in Tokyo.

Connors defeated Britain’s John Lloyd, 6-2, 6-4, to set up a title match with Borg today.

Borg unleashed his patented passing shots and big serves on crucial points to outlast McEnroe, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), before a near capacity crowd of 8,647 at the Ariake Colosseum.

Golf

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Jim Furyk shot a two-under-par 71 to hold off three challengers--Steve Pate, Hale Irwin and Jim McGovern--and take a two-stroke lead into today’s final round of the Kapalua International in Hawaii.

Pate made the day’s biggest charge with a 63 that featured eight birdies--including five in a row--and vaulted him from a five-way tie for 23rd to the three-man group at 203. Irwin and McGovern both had 68.

Barry Lane was alone at 204 after a 69, one stroke ahead of Tom Lehman (69), Ben Crenshaw (71) and Peter Jacobsen (71).

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a three-under-par 69 and held a two-shot lead over John Daly, Fuzzy Zoeller and Craig Stadler after two rounds of the $1.9-million Sarazen World Open Championship at Braselton, Ga.

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Jimenez, of Spain, is at eight-under 136 with one round to play in the rain-delayed event at The Legends at Chateau Elan.

Tied at four under were Scotland’s Sam Torrance (69); Emlyn Aubrey (70); New Zealand’s Frank Nobilo, who got to six under with a birdie at the par-four 16th but bogeyed 17 and 18 to finish with a 70; and Argentina’s Eduardo Romero.

Bruce Devlin and Isao Aoki shot three-under-par 68s and held a one-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Tour’s $1-million Emerald Coast Classic at Milton, Fla.

Raymond Floyd, who had a hole-in-one, was in a group of four one stroke behind the leaders going into today’s second and final round in the rain-shortened event.

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Tied with Floyd at two under were Snell Lancaster, DeWitt Weaver and Ed Sneed. Five others finished the round two strokes behind the leaders.

Sailing

Hal Ward’s turbo-sled Cheval II, driven by John Kolius, hit the starting line on a beam reach in 10 knots of wind to lead the faster boats into the Long Beach Yacht Club’s 804-mile race to Cabo San Lucas. Cheval II was the first monohull to finish last summer’s Transpac race to Hawaii.

The Peterson 66 Cheetah, sailing its last race with owner Dick Pennington, led the five ULDB 70s that followed five minutes later. Then Steve Fossett’s 60-foot trimaran Lakota, fresh from setting a series of Pacific record crossings, walked away from Bob Hanel’s catamaran Double Bullet as the multihulls got underway and soon overtook the monohulls.

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Among the 11 smaller boats that started Friday, David Johnson’s Peterson 48 Plan B held a narrow lead after covering 138 miles in the first 20 hours. Most of the boats were as far as 70 miles offshore looking for the strongest wind.

Jurisprudence

Jermaine O’Neal, 17, considered one of the top college basketball prospects in the nation, has been charged in Columbia. S.C., with having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

The 6-foot-11 Eau Claire High player, who faces up to 20 years in prison, was arrested Wednesday and freed on bail Thursday on his word that he would show up for court. No court date has been set.

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Miscellany

Dwight Gooden, hoping to jump-start his stalled career in San Juan, Puerto Rico, started for the San Juan Senators in their Puerto Rico Winter League game against the Caguas Criollos. He gave up two hits and an earned run in five innings and retired the first 10 batters he faced. The Senators lost, however, 16-3.

Gooden’s appearances in Puerto Rico, which ended what he called “17 months in hell,” will serve as a precursor to spring training.

De La Salle High of Concord set a California prep football record of 48 consecutive victories with a 41-8 victory over Logan on Friday. Santa Rosa’s Cardinal Newman won 47 in a row from 1972-1977.

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A high school football game suspended Friday when a referee died of a heart attack late in the first half won’t be replayed, officials said in Elk City, Okla.

Fred Christian, 48, of Norman, collapsed toward the end of the first half of the Elk City-Tecumseh game and was declared dead a short time later at an Elk City hospital. Christian was athletic director at Westmoore High in Moore, Okla.


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