Goran Ivanisevic lost a match in his sleep yesterday, giving Andre Agassi a tainted title.
On the morning of their final at the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla., Ivanisevic woke up with a stiff neck. He underwent three hours of treatment and tried to play but quit in the fourth game.
"To beat Andre you have to be 105 percent, and I was maybe 2," Ivanisevic said.
The tournament doctor said Ivanisevic probably slept wrong, and the ailment is unlikely to bother him for more than a few days.
Agassi, also the Lipton champion in 1990 and 1995, became the first player to win three men's titles at Key Biscayne. He received $338,000 following the 10-minute match, and Ivanisevic settled for $178,000.
"It's really a shame," Agassi said after winning his first title since August. "Goran is obviously playing the best tennis right now on the tour." Today was a big day for me -- I really wanted to come out here and get it on. And it didn't happen."
Agassi declined to accept a walkover yesterday, and the start of the match was delayed about 45 minutes while Ivanisevic received treatment. When the players finally took the court, Ivanisevic was clearly hampered. His first serve was clocked at 80 mph -- two-thirds his normal pace.
The sellout crowd of 14,000, unaware that Ivanisevic was hurting, began to jeer the Croatian. He won only five of 22 points before walking off the court with Agassi leading 3-0, 40-0.
Casablanca Open: Tomas Carbonell of Spain upset defending champion Gilbert Schaller of Austria, 7-5, 1-6, 6-2, for the title in Morocco.
Fallston's Harbison nears berth in shooting
Rob Harbison of Fallston had 692.7 of a possible 709 points in the men's air rifle competition, building a 1.2-point lead in the race for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Harbison, a captain with the U.S. Army Marksmanship unit, will try to win his berth on the team today when seven U.S. shooters will be chosen. Harbison, with a two-day aggregate score of 1,280.7, held his lead over Bob Foth of Colorado Springs, Colo., who had a 1,279.5 total.
St. John's denies offering job to FSU's Kennedy
Florida State coach Pat Kennedy was not offered the St. John's coaching job as was reported in the Newark Star-Ledger, athletic director Ed Manetta said.
Meanwhile, Newsday reported that Manetta interviewed Manhattan coach Fran Fraschilla and Marquette coach Mike Deane yesterday.
Report says Hostetler to re-sign with Raiders
The Raiders will announce in a press conference today that Jeff Hostetler has agreed to a new contract and will return to Oakland next season, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Hostetler, who turns 35 later this month, had floated in free agency for more than six weeks. But he ended up making only one official visit, to Philadelphia on Feb. 26.
Aruba, Antigua/Barbuda ousted from World Cup
Aruba became the first nation eliminated from qualifying for the 1998 World Cup and Antigua and Barbuda exited about one hour later.
Qualifying for the 32-team field began March 10, and at least 635 games will be needed to narrow the 168 teams in the qualifying tournament to the 30 who will join defending champion Brazil and host France.
The Dominican Republic ousted Aruba with a 3-1 road victory and Dominica beat Antigua and Barbuda 3-1 to advance.
Kenyan Nyakeraka wins Cherry Blossom run
Kenya's Lazarus Nyakeraka wound his way around the famous monuments of the nation's capital, taking the lead in the final mile to win the 24th annual Cherry Blossom 10-Mile run. to capture the women's competition in 53: 25.
High school baseball: Jennifer Whorton became the second girl in a week to join the boys on a high school baseball team. Whorton got the OK to play baseball at Allegany County's Flintstone School and will join the team this week. Last week, Anne Arundel County said could play for the Arundel junior varsity baseball team.
Swimming and diving: Navy senior diver Nate Smith, who will be competing at the Olympic Trials in June, was named an All-American for the fourth year in a row at the NCAA swimming and diving championships in Austin, Texas over the weekend. Senior captain Ian Johnston was named an All-American for the first time in his career after a sixth-place in the 200-yard breaststroke.
College football: Former South Carolina football player Marty Dye, 28, has died from what Greenwood, S.C., authorities say may have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Dye played defensive tackle from 1988 through 1991. Dye's brother, Ernest, is an offensive tackle for the Phoenix Cardinals.
Open and shut down
Name the only two Orioles who got hits in last year's season opener, a 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Hint: Neither is with the team in 1996. (Answer, 6C)
Leo Gomez, now with the Chicago Cubs, got the first hit, a weak ground single in the eighth inning after Royals starting pitcher Kevin Appier had left the game. Sherman Obando, now with the Montreal Expos, had the only other hit, a swinging roller.