No matter how bleak things looked yesterday, Amelie Mauresmo refused to let Jennifer Capriati beat her. Now Mauresmo heads to the French Open looking like a favorite.
Coming back from a set down, then saving a match point, Mauresmo beat Capriati, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), to win the Italian Open in Rome for her second straight title.
"It was so close," said Mauresmo, who also defeated Capriati en route to the German Open title a week ago.
"When you get to the third-set tiebreaker, you don't really know what is going to happen. You just hang in there, go for it if you have the opportunity, and I felt that's what I did."
The only other women to win the German Open and Italian Open consecutively -- Steffi Graf in 1987 and Monica Seles in 1990 -- went on to take home the trophy from Roland Garros.
So does that make Mauresmo the leading candidate to win in Paris, where play starts a week from today?
"I hope. We'll see. Of course it gives you a lot of confidence to win these kind of matches, especially in the final," the Frenchwoman said. "Next week, I want to rest a bit, and then there's Roland Garros. I hope to carry on like this." . . .
Top-ranked Roger Federer won the Hamburg Masters, beating Guillermo Coria, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, to end the Argentine's 31-match winning streak on clay.
Federer captured this title for the second time in three years.
Coria, the defending champion who was seeded second to Federer, had a clay-court winning streak dating from the 2003 French Open semifinals.
"It's fantastic," Federer said. "I am very proud to win here for the second time. I have been playing incredible tennis for the last 12 months. I am winning every third tournament I play -- that's crazy."
* SOCCER: Libya's bid to host soccer's 2010 World Cup was dropped by the sport's governing body because its government refused to confirm that it would allow Israel to travel there if the Israelis qualified for the tournament.
Chuck Blazer, the U.S. member of FIFA's 24-man executive committee, said that while the governing body of Libyan soccer said the Israeli team was welcome, FIFA required government assurances from the Libyans.
FIFA's executive committee voted Saturday to award the 2010 tournament to South Africa. . . .
Tens of thousands of Arsenal fans took to the streets to celebrate the team's Premier League title and undefeated season.
"I'll keep it simple," said star striker Thierry Henry, the league's player of the season. "In the season 2003-04, a team went unbeaten in the league. That team is Arsenal."
Sky Sports reported that 250,000 people attended.
* CYCLING: Germany won the overall title in World Cup track cycling in Sydney, finishing ahead of France and Australia.
Britain beat Australia and third-place United States for the Sydney World Cup title at the Dunc Gray Velodrome.
Jennie Reed of the United States won the women's Keirin overall title, and Australia won the women's team sprint. . . .
Italy's Alessandro Petacchi won the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia, and countryman Damiano Cunego kept the overall lead in Policoro, Italy. Petacchi recorded his fourth win in eight days, beating Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania, Olaf Pollack of Germany and the main group at the finish line. He covered the 130 miles from Giffoni Valle Piana to Policoro, in southern Italy, in 4 hours 52 minutes 49 seconds.
* BASKETBALL: Kings center Brad Miller was fined $10,000 by the NBA for making an obscene gesture toward fans after being ejected in Game 5 against the Timberwolves.
Stu Jackson, the league's senior vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine before Game 6 in the second-round series.
* RUNNING: Kenyan Benjamin Maiyo won the Bay to Breakers in his first try, completing the 7.4-mile race through San Francisco in 34:50.
His time was more than a minute slower than the record, but 11 seconds faster than three-time winner James Koskei of Kenya, who came in second with a time of 35:01.
Russia's Albina Ivanova finished first for the women with a time of 39:56.
-- From News Services