Capriati knocks Seles from No. 1 spotJennifer...


Capriati knocks Seles from No. 1 spot

Jennifer Capriati knocked Monica Seles from the No. 1 ranking with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) victory in the final of the Mazda Classic yesterday in Carlsbad, Calif.

After Seles won three straight games to take a 6-5 lead in the third set, Capriati held serve in a 14-point game and then prevailed by taking the last five points of the tie-breaker.

Seles, making her first tour appearance since bypassing Wimbledon with a sore leg, will drop to No. 2, giving up the top spot she's held since March 11 to Steff Graf.

Graf, who had been No. 1 for 186 consecutive weeks before Seles took over, won Wimbledon last month.

By recording her second career title, Capriati moved from 10th to eighth in the world rankings. She last won at the Puerto Rican Open in October.

* Pete Sampras won his first championship since last year's U.S. Open, beating Brad Gilbert in three sets at the Volvo Tennis tournament in Los Angeles. Sampras, the second seed, defeated fourth-seeded Gilbert, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3.

"It was important for me to win today for my confidence," said Sampras, who has been sidelined for much of the year with injuries.

* Andres Gomez of Ecuador won his third U.S. Pro title with 7-5, 6-4 victory over top seed Andrei Cherkasov in Brookline, Mass. Gomez, 31, the seventh seed, took advantage of Cherkasov, who had played a rain-interrupted semifinal that began Saturday evening and did not conclude until noon. Cherkasov outlasted No. 5 Jimmy Arias, 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-4, two hours before the match against Gomez.

* Top seed Guillermo Perez Roldan of Argentina successfully defended his title in the San Marino ATP tournament, defeating Frederic Fontang of France, 6-3, 6-1.

* Magnus Gustafsson of Sweden and Karel Novacek wo semifinal matches at the rain-delayed Philips Head Cup in Kitzbuehel, Austria. The final will be played today.

* Gil Schuerholz, who won this year's Greater Baltimore Open, is the top seed in the Maryland state men's championships, which begin today at the Baltimore Country Club. Play continues all week, with the semifinals scheduled for Saturday and the final Sunday.

Mark Messier has given up hope of being able to play for Team Canada, his friend and former teammate Wayne Gretzky says.

Gretzky, who will captain the host country's team in the Canada Cup tournament, said Messier told him he's not healthy enough to play. The Edmonton Oilers star has been troubled by knee and thumb injuries.

Practice will begin today at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The tournament will begin Aug. 29.

Horse racing

Toffeefee upset heavily favored Safely Kept in winning the $156,100 Grade III Budweiser Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

Toffeefee, ridden by Wigberto Ramos, covered 1 mile, 70 yards in 1 minute, 40 seconds in beating Colonial Waters by 4 1/2 lengths. It was an additional neck back to Safely Kept in third in the test for fillies and mares ages 3 and up.

Toffeefee returned $38.60, $10.20 and $3.40, Colonial Waters paid $4.60 and $2.80 and Safely Kept was worth $2.40.


Bryan Caver, a 6-foot-4 guard from Seton Hall, scored six of his 19 points in final 1 minute, 21 seconds of overtime to lift the United States to a 90-85 victory over Italy in final of the World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta. The Americans trailed by 17 with 12 minutes remaining before the comeback began.


Brad Beven of Australia upset pre-race favorite Mike Pigg of the United States to win the Teleglobe World Cup triathlon in Toronto. Beven won in 1 hour, 50 minutes, 18 seconds, defeating Pigg, winner of three United States Triathlon Series Championships, and defending world champion Greg Welch.

In the women's division, defending world champion Karen Smyers of Boston earned her eighth straight victory.

Beach volleyball

Matt Sonniehsen of Spring, Texas, and Manny Agnant of Miami defeated the top-seeded team of Chris Hannemann and Rick Arce of California, 15-8, in the final match to win the Molson Pro East Volleyball Championship at the Talbot Street beach in Ocean City. Sonniehsen and Agnant won $10,000.


Phil Mickelson became only the fifth qualifying medalist to win the Western Open with a pair of match-play victories at Benton Harbor, Mich. Mickelson defeated Justin Leonard of Dallas, 2 and 1, in the final after beating Argentina's Diego Ventureira in the semifinals.

* Dave Barr won the Cadillac Golf Classic for the third straight year, taking $85,000 of $200,000 in the skins format event in Brampton, Ontario.

It could've been even more, but Barr missed a 2-foot birdie putt worth $50,000 on the 18th hole at Lionhead Golf and Country Club. Instead, Fuzzy Zoeller won the final skin and finished with a total of $65,000. Peter Jacobsen won $40,000. Arnold Palmer took home $10,000.

Drag racing

Joe Amato became the fifth Top Fuel driver to win three straight events, defeating Tom McEwen to capture the NHRA Jolly Rancher Northwest Nationals in Kent, Wash. John Force earned his fourth Funny Car title of the season. In Pro Stock, Warren Johnson also won his fourth event of 1991.

Amato joined Gary Beck, Shirley Muldowney, Dick LaHaie and Darrell Gwynn as the only drivers to win three straight NHRA events.


North Korean judo champion Li Chang Su arrived in Seoul yesterday after defecting through a third nation and was granted immediate political asylum in South Korea.

The defection comes only two weeks before rivals North and South Korea are to resume talks on fielding a joint team for the 1992 Olympic Games. The defection was likely to embarrass North Korea and could jeopardize the talks.

Motorcycle racing

Kevin Schwantz overtook fellow American Wayne Rainey twice with two laps to go to win the 500cc British motorcycle Grand Prix in Donington, England, for the third year in a row.

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