Sabatini, Graf to meet in Slims of Fla. final
Gabriela Sabatini rallied from a break down in each set to beat Jennifer Capriati, 7-5, 6-2, yesterday and earn a berth against Steffi Graf in the final of the Virginia Slims of Florida in Boca Raton.
Graf beat Nathalie Tauziat of France, 6-1, 6-2, in the other semifinal match. Neither the top-seeded Graf nor No. 2 Sabatini has lost a set this week.
Sabatini wore down Capriati, 14, by hitting repeated deep ground strokes, first to one corner and then the other. Graf's impressive play comes as her record 186-week streak at No. 1 is about to end. Monica Seles will move to the top of the computer rankings tomorrow because her third-round loss last year at Boca Raton no longer will be part of the calculations.
* Top seed Jonas Svensson of Sweden reached his second ATP Tour title match in two weeks, beating No. 3 seed Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, in the semifinals of the Copenhagen Open. Swede Anders Jarryd stopped No. 6 Todd Woodbridge of Australia, 6-0, 6-4, in the other semifinal.
* Guy Forget of France eliminated top seed and defending champion Stefan Edberg of Sweden, 6-4, 6-4, in a semifinal match of the $1 million Champions Cup in Indian Wells, Calif. Forget will face No. 16 Jim Courier in today's final. Courier defeated 11th-seeded Michael Stich of Germany, 6-3, 6-2, in the other semifinal.
Track and field
Maicel Malone of Arizona State broke American, college and meet records in winning the 400-meter -- in 51.05 seconds at the National Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Indianapolis. Malone bettered the American mark of 51.77 set by Diane Dixon in 1989.
Louisiana State led the women's competition with 36 points after 10 events. Texas, which has alternated with LSU in winning the team title the past four years, was second with 30 points. Defending men's champion Arkansas, seeking a record eighth straight title, was struggling after 11 events. The Razorbacks were tied for sixth with 12 points. Washington State led with 26 points.
Peter Rono of Mount St. Mary's finished second in the mile in 3:58.19, .08 of a second behind Indiana's Robert Kennedy. Notre Dame's Raghib "Rocket" Ismail lost for the first time in his college track careeer when he was edged at the finish of the men's 55 by Nigeria's Augustine Olobia of Washington State. Olobia won in 6.17 seconds.
* Sergei Bubka made the first serious attempt to clear 20 feet in the pole vault, but did not come close in three tries at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Seville, Spain. Bubka did clear a meet record 19-8 1/4 .
Other winners at the meet included Greg Foster (7.45 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles) and 1,500-meter runner Noureddine Morceli (3:41.57), and world records were set in the women's 3,000-meter walk and triple jump.
Beate Anders bettered the world record in the 3,000-meter walk with a time of 11:50.90, breaking by more than five seconds the mark she set this year. Inessa Kravets of the Soviet Union set the other world record, soaring 47-4 1/2 in the women's triple jump, an invitation event at these championships. She set the previous record of 47-3 on Feb. 10.
The University of Pittsburgh scored a 1-2-3 in the all-around and upset visiting Towson State (11-4) in women's gymnastics, 186.65-185.50. The point total was a record for Pitt. The Tigers won three of the disciplines, as junior Wendy Weaver placed first in vault and beam, and senior Anne Sugden first in uneven bars.
New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio said the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers will not cross the Delaware River to make a new home in Camden, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Florio gave the first official confirmation that the teams will not leave Pennsylvania and that New Jersey has given up such hope. New Jersey officials familiar with the negotiations told the newspaper that the state did not want the lingering prospect of a move to give the teams leverage in closing their deal with Philadelphia.
Sled dog racing
Defending champion Susan Butcher took the lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race as mushers began moving up the frozen Yukon River in Alaska. Butcher spent just 22 minutes in the village of Anvik before heading upriver to Grayling, 18 miles away, at 6:37 a.m. She was followed one minute later by veteran mushers Lavon Barve and DeeDee Jonrowe, both top-five finishers for the past two years.
The mushers racing through Anvik passed Jeff King, who had arrived there first, at 2:23 a.m., to claim a $3,500 cash prize and a seven-course feast, courtesy of a race sponsor.
Italy's Alberto Tomba made a dominating first run stand up in Aspen, Colo., to clinch the World Cup giant slalom crown with his fourth victory of the season in that discipline. Tomba, who led Norwegian Lasse Kjuus by 1.19 seconds after the first run, struggled through a faltering second run that was only the seventh-fastest of the afternoon. But he still defeated Austria's Rudolf Nierlich by nearly a half-second in combined time.
Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg finished third and moved a step closer to his fourth World Cup overall title. Girardelli earned 15 points and needs only 13 more to clinch the overall crown.
* Sabine Ginther won her first World Cup race, beating Chantal Bournissen of Switzerland by nearly a second in a women's downhill over the 3-kilometer men's Olympic course in Lake Louise, Alberta. Ginther covered the course on Whitehorn Mountain in 1:49.85.
* Vladimir Smirnov of the Soviet Union clinched the World Cup cross-country ski title by finishing sixth in the men's 30-kilometer freestyle at the Swedish Nordic Games in Falun, Sweden.