Kafelnikov Will Become No. 1 Despite Sixth Consecutive Loss

<i> From Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Yevgeny Kafelnikov will become the world’s No. 1 tennis player next week. Now he needs to concentrate on winning a match.

At the Czech Open in Prague on Tuesday, the top-seeded Russian lost his opening-round match to Australian Richard Fromberg, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4--his sixth consecutive opening-round defeat.

Despite the loss, the Australian Open champion will replace Pete Sampras as the top-ranked player. Sampras is injured and not defending his title at Atlanta this week. He will lose 172 ranking points, allowing Kafelnikov to jump ahead.


Playing in her native country, Croatia’s Iva Majoli defeated Zuzana Heidova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-4, in the opening round of the Bol Ladies Open. The tournament lost one-third of its competitors to withdrawal because of its proximity to the NATO bombing in Yugoslavia. . . . German Boris Becker, playing his first tournament since the death of his father last week, lost to Wayne Ferreira of South Africa in the opening round of the BMW Open at Munich, Germany, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. . . . Undaunted by a 45-minute rain delay in the first set, unseeded Martin Rodriguez of Argentina upset two-time defending U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter of Australia, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) in the first round of the AT&T; Challenge at Duluth, Ga.

Pro Football

Continuing their trend of giving jobs to superstars in the waning moments of their careers, the Kansas City Chiefs announced the signing of Warren Moon to a two-year contract.

One of the NFL’s most prolific passers, the 42-year-old Moon will back up Elvis Grbac in the city where Joe Montana and Marcus Allen ended their hall-of-fame careers. Grbac missed 16 games the last two seasons because of injuries and ineffectiveness.

Moon, who started 10 games for Seattle last season, reportedly received a $200,000 signing bonus and $800,000 salary, plus incentives for 1999. He will get $2.2 million in 2000.

The Chiefs also signed veteran linebacker Marvcus Patton, a free agent, to a three-year contract.

The New York Jets signed free-agent quarterback Scott Zolak as backup for Vinny Testaverde, joining running backs Curtis Martin, David Meggett and Keith Byars, and punter Tom Tupa, as former New England Patriots following Coach Bill Parcells to New York. . . . The Cleveland Browns signed defensive tackle Jerry Ball to a free-agent deal, contingent on Ball’s passing a physical. . . . Wide receiver Qadry Ismail signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens.


Carl Eller, former star defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, said he had consensual sex with the woman who later told police he had assaulted her. The woman called police about 2 a.m. last Wednesday and said she had been sexually assaulted by Eller in his North Mankato motel room. Eller had been in the area talking to groups about substance abuse.


Frank Ford, a defensive end on Alabama’s undefeated football team in 1966, was killed when his car ran off a road and crashed early Sunday at Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was 51. Police said the crash is under investigation. . . . Canadian equestrian prospect Todd Sandler was killed in a car crash near Chatham, Canada, returning from a three-day event in Kentucky. He was 18.


Scoonie Penn, Big Ten co-player of the year who helped Ohio State to its first Final Four in 31 years, will return for his senior season. . . . Yale filled two coaching vacancies, signing James Jones as its new men’s coach, and Amy Backus to coach the women’s team.

One of four doctors accused of malpractice in the death of the Boston Celtics’ Reggie Lewis has reached a settlement with Lewis’ widow, a legal source told the Associated Press. Terms of the settlement, also reported Tuesday by the Boston Globe, were not disclosed. Lewis died at 27 while shooting baskets in July 1993, three months after having been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart ailment.


Daniel Nivel, a French policeman beaten into a coma by soccer hooligans after a World Cup game last summer, is still weak but may attend the trial of his four accused attackers, he said at a news conference. . . . Anna Inskip, an 18-year-old autistic girl who “dreams of earning an athletic letter” must be allowed to play softball for her high school under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal judge ruled in Portland, Ore.

Anthony Molina, a University of Evansville baseball player who was hit in the face by a pitch as he stood about 15 feet from home plate, has charged Wichita State pitcher Ben Christensen with assault. Molina, who had fractures of three bones around his left eye, said Christensen hit him intentionally while warming up before Friday’s game.


University of Hawaii officials said the Western Athletic Conference is considering asking the school to pay up to $500,000 in travel subsidies for visiting teams, a practice the WAC dropped in 1994 after expanding to 16 schools. It will be an eight-school conference next season.

Iowa State football player Clyde Sanders has been suspended from the team after being accused of writing $104.59 in stolen checks. . . . Linebacker Ramogi Huma and fullback Mark Verti, both seniors, quit the UCLA football team because of injuries. . . . Stanford senior Joel Kribel shot a seven-under-par 63 at Seattle to take an eight-stroke lead over Arizona State’s Paul Casey after the third round of the Pacific 10 golf championship.