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Chang rises to 3rd in world with Legg Mason victory

Michael Chang advanced to a No. 3 world ranking _ highest of his career _ by winning the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington Sunday, 6-2, 6-4 over Wayne Ferreira.

Chang broke Ferreira in the 10th game of the second set and capitalized on his third match point.

Because of rain Thursday and Friday, Chang played his quarterfinal and semifinal on Saturday.

"After the first set, I started to feel a little tired," Chang said. "I think playing all those matches in the last few days may have started catching up with me. I'm glad I pulled it out there at the end because Wayne was just getting better and better."

The title was the 25th of Chang's career and his second this year following a win at Indian Wells, Calif., in March. He will overtake Boris Becker and Andre Agassi in the rankings, trailing No.

1 Pete Sampras and No.

2 Thomas Muster.

Ferreira, the No. 4 seed from South Africa, has lost all four times he has played Chang.

Ferreira broke in the third game of the match to lead 2-1. But Chang fought off three straight aces in the next game to break back, triggering a run of seven consecutive games.

"When I don't serve well, I struggle," said Ferreira, who made just 47 percent of his first serves. "He gets a lot of balls back and puts pressure on you to hit good shots. I wasn't aggressive enough today."

In the doubles championship, Grant Connell and Scott Davis earned their first title together with a 7-6, (7-3), 3-6, 6-3 win over Doug Flach and Chris Woodruff.

MORE TENNIS: Defending champion Muster never let Yevgeny Kafelnikov into the final, a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory in the Mercedes Cup at Stuttgart, Germany. Muster was at his best in the opening sets, breaking the Russian twice in each. The Austrian won the first set in 36 minutes, and the second in just 22. Kafelnikov managed to play Muster on even terms at the start of the final set. But a key break of service put Muster ahead 4-3, and he closed out the final set in 42 minutes. Muster's collected $157,000 and a new Mercedes sports car from a purse totaling $1.04-million. Barbara Schett upset No.

2 seed Sabine Hack 6-3, 6-3 to win her first WTA singles tournament at the Palermo Grand Prix in Sicily. At the A&P Classic at Mahwah, N.J., Amy Frazier upset second-seeded Magdalena Maleeva 6-4, 6-3. Prosecutors are preparing to drop a tax-evasion investigation against Steffi Graf because she has agreed to pay $2-million, the Hamburg-based Der Spiegel news weekly reported. The status of her father, Peter, who has been jailed in investigative custody for tax evasion, will not change.

HORSE RACING: Flag Down, ridden by Jose Santos, prevailed in a three-horse photo finish to capture the 1]-mile Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park in New York in 2:13 1/5.

HORSE RACING: Longshot Talloires outran stablemate Sandpit to win the $700,000 Caesars Palace Turf Championship at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Talloires was clocked in 2:23/, bettering the track record of 2:24/ for the 1{-mile grass course, set by Rivlia in 1987. The former stakes record was 2:24 by Sirlad in 1979. Awad was second, 2{ lengths back, followed by Sandpit. Also on the card, Victory Speech won the $500,000 Swaps Stakes, beating Prince of Thieves by 3{ lengths with Hesabull third. Jewel Princess won the $250,000 Vanity Handicap, finishing three lengths in front of Serena's Song. Top Rung was third. Flag Down prevailed in a three-horse photo finish to capture the 1] mile Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Broadway Flyer was second, Diplomatic Jet third.

MARATHON: Kenya's Daniel Shunga won the Patthaya Marathon in Thailand, one second ahead of beating two-time defending champ Timothy Moni by one second in 2:25.42.

NBA: Derek Harper, a Palm Beach native, told the Palm Beach Post he is willing to take a pay cut to play for the Heat. Coach Pat Riley recently convinced Hardaway and P.J. Brown to sign for starting salaries totaling $4.5-million. Miami, though, would need to come up with another $500,000 or load an offer with bonuses and some promise at the end of the contract for Harper. "Sooner of later people are going to have to sacrifice a little bit to win a championship," Harper said. Mark Price, once one of the best guards but limited to seven games last year because of an injured foot, signed with the Golden State Warriors. "He brings a tremendous competitive spirit, a great feel for the game and adds another clutch performer and outstanding shooter to our mix," Warriors general manager Dave Twardzik said. Price played his first nine seasons with Cleveland, then was traded to Washington before the 1995-96 season.

_ TIMES WIRES

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