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By BRIAN LANDMAN, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 17, 2001

Agassi, Safin ousted early; Capriati eliminated in Rome

Andre Agassi and Marat Safin, the top two remaining seeded players in the German Open, were upset in the second round Wednesday.

Agassi, seeded third, lost 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to Fabrice Santoro, and second-seeded Safin lost 6-0, 7-6 (7-0) to Gaston Gaudio.

That left four seeded players, with No. 7 Lleyton Hewitt beating Fernando Vicente 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the third round. Hewitt is the highest-seeded player left.

"A bit disappointing," Agassi said. "Today was one of those days you wish it was three-out-of-five. I found myself not playing the same high percentage that got me there."

Agassi's defeat came two weeks before the French Open. Agassi has had a slow start to his clay court season, losing in the opening round at the Italian open last week and losing in the first round at Atlanta before that.

"It would be nice to still be in the event," Agassi said. "But a couple of matches is better than one match. So I'll try to find the bright point in it, which isn't very bright, then move forward.

In other second-round matches, Hicham Arazi saved nine match points in a 2-6, 7-6 (10-8), 7-5 comeback victory against Tommy Haas.

In one of several matches interrupted by rain, 14th-seeded Jan-Michael Gambill beat Marcelo Rios 6-3, 6-4.

Eighth-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated Harel Levy 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 for his 13th consecutive victory.

MORE TENNIS: Jennifer Capriati lost her opening match at the Italian Open with one of her worst outings of the year, wasting a one-set lead against Rita Kuti Kis in Rome. The second-seeded Capriati looked strong early but lost 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5). No. 7 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario moved into the third round of a tournament she's never won by beating Bianka Lamade 6-2, 6-3 in 77 minutes. Nathalie Tauziat, seeded fifth, lost to Joannette Kruger 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Francesca Schiavone downed eighth-seeded Magdalena Maleeva 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1) to advance to the third round. ... Eighth-seeded Virginia Ruano Pascual beat Adrianna Gersi 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the Benelux Open in Antwerp, Belgium. Pascual advanced to a quarterfinal match against Ana Isabel Medina Garrigues. Eva Bes also advanced, beating Kristie Boogert 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. ... Mark Philippoussis withdrew from the May 28-June 10 French Open because of a knee injury, organizers said. Philippoussis, No. 11 in the world rankings at the end of 2000, hasn't regained fitness since surgery in March to repair cartilage damage to his left knee. Philippoussis, who last year beat No. 2 seed Pete Sampras in the French Open first round, was replaced in the 128-man draw by Lars Burgsmuller.

GOLF: Davis Love III withdrew from the PGA Tour's Colonial because of a problem with a disc in his neck that causes numbness in his left arm and fingers.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Although the NCAA will permit games to be televised on Friday night, ACC officials unanimously passed a rule prohibiting it, commissioner John Swofford announced. "High school football is extremely important to college football and it is vital that we work together on matters such as this," he said, adding the league will propose NCAA legislation to re-institute the television ban.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Trevor Harvey, a 6-11, 230-pound center from Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College, has signed to play at FSU. Harvey averaged 13 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 blocks last season.

COLLEGES: A federal appeals court in Philadelphia denied four black student-athletes another chance to sue the NCAA about test scores used to determine eligibility. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday decided a lower court did not abuse its discretion in barring the students from changing the legal grounds of their complaint. The same court earlier overturned a lower court decision striking down the test score component as discriminatory. The athletes said they were discriminated against by being denied athletic scholarships or eligibility because they did not score the minimum on the SAT or ACT. ... Greg Thiel was named acting coach of USF's cross country and track and field teams, replacing Kelly Phillips.

OLYMPICS: The World Amateur Golf Council, comprised of the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, formally applied for golf to be included on the program for the Summer Games in 2008, the IOC said Wednesday.

BOXING: WBU featherweight champion Cassius Baloyi had surgery after being shot in the leg during a carjacking. Baloyi was in stable condition, police Sgt. Amanda Roestoff said, but he will be unable to fight Justo Martinez on June 2.

SURFING: Indian Rocks Beach native Cory Lopez clinched the Billabong Pro title this week, narrowly defeating fellow Floridian C.J. Hobgood in a closely contested final of the World Championship Tour event in Teabupoo, Tahiti. Lopez won $30,000 and moved into first place on the Association of Surfing Professionals ratings. The Billabong Pro is the second leg of the eight-event ASP 2001 World Championship Tour featuring the top 44 male and female surfers in the world and four wild cards.

OBITUARIES: Ralph Miller, who coached Oregon State to four Pacific-10 basketball championships and eight NCAA Tournament appearances, died at age 82. ... Jerome Brody, a thoroughbred owner and breeder and prominent New York restaurateur, died after a long illness at age 79.

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