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By DAVE THEALL, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 15, 2001

Scrappy Coetzer gets notable win

The best match of the tournament produced one of the most important victories of Amanda Coetzer's career.

Roving the baseline with scrappy persistence Saturday, Coetzer, seeded fourth, rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Nadia Petrova in a riveting 2 1/2-hour semifinal in the Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island.

Coetzer plays sixth-seeded Amelie Mauresmo in the final today. Mauresmo won her 13th straight match, defeating seventh-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-3, 6-2 in the earlier semifinal.

The second semi was a struggle of physical stamina and mental toughness between a crafty veteran and an 18-year-old Russian, ranked 90th in the world and trying to take the next big step.

"I think this is probably one of the toughest matches of my whole career," Coetzer said. "I think this was one of those matches where it could make a big difference at the end of the year when you look back at it."

MORE TENNIS: Martina Navratilova teamed with Sanchez-Vicario to reach the Bausch & Lomb doubles final. They beat Coetzer and Lori McNeil 6-4, 7-5 to set up a match today against Conchita Martinez and Patricia Tarabini. ... Top seed Juan Carlos Ferrero crushed fellow Spaniard Albert Portas 6-3, 6-1 and will play countryman Felix Mantilla in the Estoril Open final at Oeiras, Portugal.

BASKETBALL: Gee Gervin, son of former NBA great George Gervin, had 19 points and nine assists to lead Detroit to a 107-91 victory over Chicago for the ABA 2000 championship at Kansas City, Mo.

COLLEGES: In baseball, host Miami led Florida State 5-1 after two innings and held off a Seminoles rally for a 5-4 win. Host Tampa split a doubleheader with Lynn, winning 8-6 and losing 11-7. Visiting South Florida lost to Saint Louis 5-4. Visiting Florida lost its second straight to Georgia, 9-3. Visiting Jacksonville split a doubleheader with Samford, 6-3 and 10-0. Host Eckerd split a doubleheader with Saint Leo, winning 12-6 and losing 21-4. ... In softball, Florida State swept a doubleheader with host Jacksonville State, 4-1 in 10 innings and 12-2. Host South Florida swept Louisville 7-0 and 9-5. ... In women's tennis, host USF ended its season with a 6-1 win over Stetson. ... In men's tennis, host Miami ended its regular season with a 4-3 win over Rice. ... In men's basketball, Chris Beard, former coach at Seminole State College in Oklahoma, joins Texas Tech as an assistant to Bob Knight.

RUNNING: Judy Maguire of Clearwater won the women's division of the Hare Racing Experience 10K in Tampa with a time of 36:30, 20 seconds better than Kim Schulte-Hager of Tampa. Armado Barcelos of Brazil won the men's division in 33:50. Jeff Delie of Palm Harbor was second in 34:16. Scott Habershaw of Lutz won the 5K in 16:26, and Kathleen Kaye of St. Petersburg won the women's in 19:16. ... The late Fred Lebow, longtime director of the New York City Marathon, and Olympians Lynn Jennings, Craig Virgin and Bill Dellinger were elected to the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.

SOCCER: Manchester United clinched its third straight English Premier League championship with five games left. Its 4-2 victory over visiting Coventry, coupled with second-place Arsenal's 3-0 home loss to Middlesbrough, gave the Reds their seventh title in nine years. This is the earliest the Premier League has been won, bettering United's record from last season by eight days. ... Australia virtually guaranteed advancement in World Cup qualifying by beating visiting Fiji 2-0 at Coffs Harbour.

WRESTLING: Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner advanced to the 286-pound Greco-Roman final with a 12-0 technical fall over Andy Bowlby at the U.S. national championships in Las Vegas.

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