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Sports briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000

Agassi returns with a victory

Andre Agassi returned to action two months after his early exit from the U.S. Open and beat Thomas Johansson 6-4, 6-2 Tuesday to reach the third round of the Stuttgart Masters Series in Germany.

Agassi, who finished 1999 ranked No. 1, had little trouble ousting Johansson.

Breaking serve for a 5-4 lead, Agassi served out the first set. He dropped the first two games of the second but took the next six to close out the match.

"It's nice to feel nervous again.I was anxious; it's been a while," said Agassi, who had a bye through the first round. "It was quite a relief to win the first set. I came here feeling very ready, just lacking play. My game still feels there. I was very pleased."

Agassi lost to Arnaud Clement in three sets in the second round of the U.S. Open and had not played a tournament since.

Two-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten also advanced to the third round, beating Nicolas Escude 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-1).

Lleyton Hewitt, seeded eighth, stopped two-time Stuttgart champion Richard Krajicek 6-4, 7-5. Hewitt broke serve for a 6-5 lead and served out the match in the next game.

Stuttgart is the eighth stop on the nine-event Masters Series, the most important tournaments after the Grand Slams.

MORE TENNIS: Fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva and No. 8 Jelena Dokic had easy victories to reach the second round of Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, Germany. Dementieva, the Olympic silver medalist, ousted former French Open champion Iva Majoli 6-2, 6-3 in 52 minutes. Dokic beat Andrea Glass, recovering from a viral illness, 6-2, 6-2. ... Former Australian Open champion Petr Korda, who retired last year, will enter the Prague Challenger tournament in December.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: McDonald's All-American Travon Bryant will be eligible to play for Missouri next semester after earning a qualifying score on the SAT. Bryant signed a letter of intent with Missouri on May 2, but he had failed to meet NCAA requirements for freshman eligibility. "He called me up last night and said he passed the test," Bryant's mother, Sabra, said. "He couldn't believe it, and neither could I." ... UCLA guard Rico Hines, who started seven games for the Bruins last season, will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and is expected to be sidelined up to six weeks. Hines, a 6-foot-5 senior, tore cartilage in the knee during practice last week.

MORE COLLEGES: Michelle Collier had 16 kills as USF beat UCF 15-10, 15-7, 11-15, 15-13 in volleyball. ... South Florida soccer player Greg Krauss was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week after scoring five goals in three games. ... South Florida women's soccer player Siri Nordby was named to C-USA's all-conference first team. Tia Opliger was named to the second team. Brooke Beck made the third team, and Danielle Aldrich was on the all-freshman team.

GOLF: Jim Furyk withdrew from the Tour Championship because of a wrist injury. He will not be replaced in the field. Jesper Parnevik was at East Lake in Atlanta and hopeful of playing for the first time since hip surgery, but his prospects were unclear. He has until today to say whether he will play.

OLYMPICS: The Romanian Olympic Committee is suing the International Olympic Committee over the loss of Andreea Raducan's gymnastics all-around gold medal because of a positive drug test. Ion Badoi, head of the gymnastics school where Raducan trains, said that Ion Tiriac, who resigned as head of the Olympic committee because of the Raducan affair, initiated the lawsuit. Raducan, 17, lost the gold because she took two cold pills that contained the banned stimulant pseudoephedrine. ... Steve Redgrave, the only man to win five consecutive gold medals in an endurance sport, announced his retirement from international rowing. ... Scott Blackmun, the U.S. Olympic Committee's senior managing director for sport resources, was named acting chief executive officer less than a week after CEO Norm Blake resigned under pressure. The appointment, recommended by Blake, is effective immediately, USOC chairman Bill Hybl said.

HORSE RACING: Celtic Pride Stable, managed by Celtics coach Rick Pitino, sold breeding rights for Breeders' Cup Juvenile contender A P Valentine to Michael Tabor and Coolmore Stud for $15-million. Under terms of the deal, A P Valentine will continue to race in Celtic Pride's colors and be trained by Nick Zito through the 2001 season unless he retires to stud earlier by mutual agreement. ... Riboletta is the most heavily favored horse entered in Saturday's eight Breeders' Cup races, according to the British bookmaking firm William Hill. With final entries due shortly before today's 11 a.m. draw for post position, Riboletta is listed at 8-11 for the Distaff. ... Ray Cochrane, credited with saving the life of fellow jockey Frankie Dettori in a June plane crash, has retired because of back injuries sustained in the wreck.

CYCLING: The head of the International Cycling Union testified that officials have tried to prevent the use of banned substances to improve performance but that ultimate responsibility rests with the athletes. "The cyclist is responsible for what he takes," Hein Verbruggen said during five hours of testimony before a court in Lille, France. "It is his choice." Verbruggen was summoned to testify in the trial of Richard Virenque, of the Festina team, and eight of his former colleagues, who face a variety of charges stemming from a drug scandal during the 1998 Tour de France.

BOWLING: Doug Kent beat tournament leader Jeff Zaffino 253-236 in the title match at the PBA Tour's Indianapolis Open. It was Kent's fourth career title in 10 years on the tour.

BOXING: Virgil Hill and Fabrice Tiozzo have rescheduled their WBA cruiserweight title fight for Dec. 9 in France. A fight between the two was postponed in September after Hill hurt a hand one week before the fight.

MEDIA: Police in Tempe, Ariz., said they have found the car involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed sportswriter Steve Schoenfeld. Phone tips led police to the apartment complex where the 1986 Toyota Celica was parked. Investigators impounded the vehicle and are certain it was the car involved in the accident, police said. There were no arrests, however, and the investigation was ongoing. Schoenfeld was killed Oct. 24 while crossing a street in Tempe.

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