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Sport briefs

By DORAN CUSHING, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 27, 2000


Americans lose out in No. 1 tennis fight

The battle for the season-ending No. 1 ranking in men's tennis will not feature Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

With the two Americans playing a curtailed schedule, the fight is between Russia's Marat Safin and Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten. The top spot will be decided in the Masters Cup, which opens Tuesday in Lisbon, Portugal.

An appearance in the final of the Masters Cup will be enough to secure Safin, 20, the No. 1 spot. He would become the youngest player to finish the year No. 1 and first non-American since Sweden's Stefan Edberg in 1991.

Sampras finished No. 1 for a record six straight years -- until Agassi succeeded him last year. This time, Sampras must go undefeated and rely on Safin not winning a single match and Kuerten not reaching the final.

Agassi has a hip injury and has not played for three weeks.

MORE TENNIS: Tim Henman defeated Dominik Hrbaty 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the Samsung Open in Brighton, England. ... Thomas Johansson upset Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to win the Stockholm Open for the first time.

Brahms wins after leader is disqualified

Brahms won the $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Sunday after stewards ruled that first-place finisher Designed for Luck drifted out in the stretch drive under Laffit Pincay Jr.'s left-handed whipping.

Brahms was moved from second to first, while Designed for Luck was disqualified after crossing the wire 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Brahms at the Inglewood, Calif., track.

The stewards decided that Designed for Luck's drifting caused Zentsov Street and Walkslikeaduck into close quarters and forced those horses to take up and lose their positions.

Designed for Luck, a 58-1 long shot, was placed fifth, behind the two colts he impeded. The decision cost owners David and Holly Wilson $290,000.

David Copperfield was second. Zentsov Street was third.

It was the first disqualification in a major California race since the 1994 Santa Anita Handicap, in which a controversial ruling cost The Wicked North, making a winner of Stuka.

"The best horse was taken down by people sitting and watching on TV," Designed for Luck's trainer, Vladimir Cerin, said of the stewards. "He wasn't defeated on the racetrack."

In the day's other $500,000 race, Tout Charmant defeated Tranquility Lake by a head to win The Matriarch, giving jockey Chris McCarron his record fifth career victory in the race.

Tout Charmant earned $300,000 for her third victory in her final race of the year.

MORE HORSES: Brahms was declared the winner of the $500,000 Hollywood Derby, after stewards ruled that first-place finisher Designed for Luck drifted out in the stretch drive under Laffit Pincay Jr.'s left-handed whipping. David Copperfield was second and Zentsov Street was third. The victory was worth $300,000 to Brahms. In the day's other $500,000 race, Tout Charmant defeated Tranquility Lake by a head to win The Matriarch, giving jockey Chris McCarron his record fifth career victory in the race. Tout Charmant earned $300,000 for her third victory in her final race of the year. ... Groomstick Stock's led all the way in the $54,550 Reach For More Handicap and won by 43/4 lengths on a sloppy track at Calder in Miami. Western Honors came from last to edge Dancing Guy for second. ... Songandaprayer enjoyed a successful stakes debut Sunday by winning the $84,800 Huntington Stakes on a foggy track at Aqueduct. Native Heir was second in the field of 10, with Voodoo another 23/4 lengths back. ... T.M. Opera O won the Japan Cup horse race in Tokyo to receive the first prize of $2.28-million. The winner, ridden by Ryuji Wada, beat Meisho Doto and United Arab Emirates entry Fantastic Light. T.M. Opera O, winner of the spring and fall Emperor's Cup races, is the first horse in Japanese racing history to earn more than $9-million.

AUTOS: Marcus Gronholm of Finland won his first world drivers' championship with a second-place finish in the Rally of Britain in Cardiff, Wales. England's Richard Burns, the only driver who could have caught Gronholm, won the race for the third straight year.

LUGE: World champion Armin Zoeggeler of Italy won the singles at the Luge World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia, beating Karsten Albert to prevent a German sweep of the top three events. Zoeggeler made the two runs in 1 minute, 38.025 seconds; Albert finished second in 1:38.111. Americans Adam Heidt and Tony Benshoof finished sixth and seventh.

RUNNING: Kenya's William Musyoki won the Lisbon Marathon for the third time, while Portugal's Fatima Silva was the women's winner, beating former world champion Manuela Machado. Musyoki, who won in 1995 and 1997, was timed in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 10 seconds. Portugal's Antonio Sousa finished second at 2:16:15 and Tanzania's Angelo Peter was third at 2:18:12. Silva beat Machado by 29 seconds in 2:34:29. Russia's Anfissa Kossatcheva was third at 2:35:52. ... Italy's Angelo Carosi outsprinted Kenyans Philip Malakwen and Benjamin Kiptarus in the final straight to win the Florence Marathon. Carosi was timed in 2 hours, 14 minutes, 11 seconds. Malakwen placed second, five seconds behind, with Kiptarus third. Tiziana Alagia of Italy won the women's race at 2:32:18, ahead of the British duo of Jo-Anne Newcombe and Amy Stiles.

SAILING: After waiting for more than four hours for skies to clear, race officials at the Rolex 2000 ISAF Women's WorldMatch Racing Championship in St. Petersburg postponed all racing until today. Racing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 on two courses east of The Pier in downtown St. Petersburg. The event, with 24 teams from 17 countries, continues through Saturday.

SKIING: Norway, led by Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeseth, won the men's World Cup cross-country ski relay, finishing the 40-kilometer race 51.4 seconds ahead of Finland at Beitostolen, Norway. ... Austrian Hermann Maier won a World Cup Super-G race in 1 minute, 29.53 seconds at Lake Louise, Alberta. ... Lindsey C. Kildow held off a challenge by Canadian Anna Prchal to win the first Chevy Truck Super Series super-G on Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colo., by four-hundredths of a second. Kildow, 16, was timed in 1 minute, 40.02 seconds.

SOCCER: Guam was eliminated from World Cup qualifying with a 16-0 loss to Tajikistan in Esfahan, Iran.

SPEED SKATING Gianni Romme of the Netherlands smashed his world record at 10,000 meters, winning a World Cup event at Heerenveen, Netherlands, in 13 minutes, 3.40 seconds. Another Dutchman, Bob de Jong, was second in 13:26.62, ahead of Russia's Vadim Sayutin in 13:27.19. Germany's Anni Friesinger won the women's 1,500 in 1:56.73, edging American Jennifer Rodriguez (1:57.02).

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