Steffi Graf, the No. 1 seed, outlasted 14-year-old Jennifer Capriati, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, to begin defense of her Virginia Slims Championships title at Madison Square Garden last night. It took the world's top-ranked player six minutes short of two hours to overcome tennis' newest phenom.
The two used the entire the court, trading blasts from the baseline, rushing to the net at times, chipping and charging, hitting winning volleys. However, helped by three Capriati double-faults, Graf broke her young opponent to begin the final set. She held that margin until the ninth game, when she broke Capriati again to close out the match. Even then, it took her three match points to close it out.
In other first-round matches, Conchita Martinez of Spain upset seventh-seeded Zina Garrison, 6-3, 6-0, and No. 6 Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria ousted Czechoslovakia's Helena Sukova, 6-3, 6-3.
Garrison began by holding her serve at love, then broke Martinez from deuce to grab a 2-0 lead. But she would win only one more game and would not hold serve again. Garrison had dominated early in her match, taking the net at every chance, not letting Martinez get into the action. Then, without warning, she couldn't find the court with her shots while Martinez began zipping passing shots. Garrison double-faulted to close out the first set and she lost control of her serve in the second.
* Andre Agassi fired 10 aces and ousted U.S. Open champion Pete Sampras, 6-4, 6-2, in the ATP World Championships in Frankfurt, Germany. In other matches, Stefan Edberg overcame
a sluggish start and beat Emilio Sanchez, 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, and Ivan Lendl served seven aces en route to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thomas Muster in 78 minutes.
Sampras, suffering from shin splints that forced his withdrawal NTC from a tournament at Wembley last week, started well. Agassi, ranked fourth, was taken to four deuces before holding serve in the fourth game. But he broke Sampras in the seventh to take full control of the match. Sampras then sprayed shots wildly although he rallied briefly in the sixth game, breaking Agassi for the first time to cut the deficit to 4-2. But he dropped the next
game on a double-fault and Agassi served his 10th ace to finish off the match.
Forward Roy Tarpley will miss the rest of the Dallas Mavericks' season after ligament damage was discovered in his right knee during surgery yesterday. Tarpley was injured in the first quarter of Friday's 111-99 victory over Orlando, but the Mavericks thought it was just a dislocated kneecap. Tarpley was averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds in five games and was shooting 54 percent from the field.
Dr. Pat Evans said: "The arthroscopic surgery on Roy revealed a fresh tear of the anterior cruciate ligament with complete detachment in an area of previous tearing. It also revealed a tear in the back portion of the lateral cartilage. The procedure went well. We expect him to have full recovery and he could be ready for the playoffs in May."
* Dick Motta, coach of the Sacramento Kings, has been suspended for one game and fined $500 for bumping an official during Saturday night's 93-88 loss to the New York Knicks.
Mayor Jean Dore announced Montreal will invest $15 million to become a partner in the Montral Expos. Dore, who was re-elected last week, said he will propose to city council that the money be taken from a special investment fund rather than the municipal budget. He said the city's involvement will be on a strictly financial basis and it has no interest in the management of the team. The move follows a decision by the provincial government last week to provide $18 million in a low-interest loan package to ensure the 21-year-old franchise remains in Montreal.
* The Baltimore Orioles will hold a clinic, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at Cambridge High School on the Eastern Shore. It will be supervised by regional scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert and coach Elrod Hendricks will be among the instructors.
Boston Bruins teammates Ray Bourque and Cam Neely have taken the early lead in balloting for the National Hockey League All-Star game Jan. 19 in Chicago. Bourque, a defenseman who won the Norris Trophy and was second in the MVP vote last season, leads all players in the Prince of Wales Conference with 55,249 votes, and Neely, a right wing, is second in the balloting with 42,823.
* Defenseman Dave Manson of the Chicago Blackhawks faces drunken driving charges after his arrest not far from his suburban Chicago home. Manson was stopped at 1:19 a.m. Monday, said Naperville police officer Jerry Barker. The hockey player was given a Breathalyzer test, which showed he was legally intoxicated, Barker said. Charges were filed and Manson was freed on $3,000 bond, pending a Dec. 18 appearance in DuPage Circuit Court in Wheaton, according to police Lt. Mark Robbins.