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Sampras wins on clay

Top-seeded Pete Sampras gutted out a 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory over second-seeded Jason Stoltenberg to win the AT&T Challenge on Sunday in Duluth, Ga.

It was just the third title on clay for Sampras, who has 54 career victories.

"Well, I've won one every three years," said Sampras, who collected $45,000 for his two-hour, 40-minute effort. "It's been a tough week, and it was a war out there today. We were both very solid. He didn't give me any free points, and it could have gone either way."

Despite playing on a rain-soaked court, thanks to morning showers that caused a 50-minute delay, the players started strongly. Both executed well, but neither gained momentum by capitalizing on the few break points (two for Stoltenberg, one for Sampras) in the first set.

MORE TENNIS: Andre Agassi's surge back toward the top of the rankings was slowed when he was beaten on clay by Thomas Enqvist 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 in the BMW Open final. Beset by injuries and tired of living as a patient, Steffi Graf can envision leaving tennis soon. "I've come to the point where I can see clearly the end of my career because I have the feeling that I am not making any progress," Graf told the German magazine Focus. "I will prepare carefully for the next attempt. But if I can't establish any continuity in my practice or tournament schedule, I will give up. I've had enough of turning in circles." Martina Hingis defeated Jana Novotna 6-3, 7-5 to capture the German Grand Prix in Hamburg for her first clay-court title in Europe and her third title this year. Fernando Meligeni won his first ATP title in two years, defeating home-crowd favorite Slava Dosedel 6-1, 6-4 in the Czech Open in Prague. Mirjana Lucic defended her title at the Bol Ladies Open in Croatia by beating Corina Morariu 6-2, 6-4.

RUNNING: Keith Brantly of Fort Lauderdale won the U.S. championship and a $100,000 bonus _ one of the largest ever in the sport _ for setting the course record by an American in the City of Pittsburgh marathon. Brantly covered the course in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 31 seconds, breaking Ken Martin's 1985 course record by 26 seconds. Any runner who finished in 2:22 qualified for the 2000 Olympic Trials. In the women's division, Albina Gallyamova of Russia won in 2:36:49. Because prize money was paid only to Americans, virtually no international runners entered the men's division. Any women's runner under 2:50 also qualified for the trials. William Jaquiss, 60, died of a heart attack after running 22 miles. John Mwai beat Kenyan compatriot Daniel Kihara 48:44 to 48:48 for his second straight victory in the Broad Street Run, a 10-mile Philadelphia race. Another Kenyan, Teresa Wanjiku, won the women's title in 57:13, 32 seconds faster than Connie Buckwalter. Richard Lagocki, 45, of Philadelphia, died after collapsing between the fourth and fifth miles. Kenyans Hezron Otwori and Jane Omoro won the men's and women's titles at the Lilac Bloomsday race in Spokane, Wash. Otwori ran away from the pack about 4 miles into the 12K race to win by 11 seconds in 34:23. Omoro won by 36 seconds in 40:14. Prize money was doubled for Americans. Joseph Kahugu of Kenya and Tatiana Pozdniakova of Ukraine won the Cleveland Marathon in 2:11:30 and 2:30:15.

TRACK AND FIELD: Mark Croghan won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:19.86 seconds at the 14th Jesse Owens Track Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Joe Greene won the long jump at 25 feet, 8{ inches. Tony Dees won the 110 hurdles in 13.57.

SOCCER: Arsenal won its first league title since 1991 with a 4-0 victory over Everton in London as Frenchman Arsene Wenger became the first foreign coach to win England's top league. The Milwaukee Wave beat the St. Louis Ambush 18-10 in the National Professional League championship final.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Mount Union linebacker Christopher M. Schuh, 19, drowned early Sunday in a campus pond in Alliance, Ohio.

BOXING: Briton Spencer Oliver was in critical condition after brain surgery to remove a blood clot after his European super-bantamweight title fight against Ukrainian Sergei Devakov.

_ Compiled from Times wires.

Up next:Slammed

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