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Sampras, Agassi set up rematch

Pete Sampras advanced to the semifinals of the $2.45-million ATP Championship by beating nemesis Richard Krajicek 6-4, 6-2 Friday.

Krajicek had beaten Sampras four consecutive times.

Sampras' win set up a semifinal match against Andre Agassi, who beat Gustavo Kuerten 6-2, 7-6 (12-10).

Defending champion Patrick Rafter meets Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the other semifinal in Mason, Ohio.

Sampras leads the series 15-10 and has beaten Agassi both times this year. Sampras has won 20 consecutive matches, the third-longest streak of his career. He won 29 straight in 1994 and 21 in 1996.

MORE TENNIS: Martina Hingis rallied past No. 7 Barbara Schett 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3 in quarterfinals of the Acura Classic at Manhattan Beach, Calif. . . . Anna Kournikova withdrew from the du Maurier Open, which starts Monday, because of a minor stress fracture in her right foot.

NHL: Jaromir Jagr says he was misquoted in a Czech tabloid that reported he said the difference between his native country and Pittsburgh was "heaven and hell."

"I would never say anything bad about America," Jagr told Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette. "America made me what I am. Pittsburgh made me what I am."

He said that if he married an American woman, it would be difficult for her to live in the Czech Republic, and a language barrier would exist between his wife and family. His comments generated criticism in Pittsburgh. "I would be angry too, if I read something like that," Jagr said. "I would like to apologize to everybody in Pittsburgh, except that I don't have anything to apologize for, since I never said anything."

Pittsburgh avoided arbitration by signing All-Star center Martin Straka to a multiyear contract. Straka, 26, was 11th with a career-high 83 points last season. . . . Boston D Darren Van Impe won a two-year, $1.58-million deal in arbitration.

HORSE RACING: Victory Gallop was retired because of an injury to his left foreleg. . . . The Saratoga Select Yearling sale finished with a record-setting average of $261,456. A Mr. Prospector bay colt was purchased for $3-million, the third-highest price for a Saratoga yearling.

TRACK AND FIELD: Javier Sotomayor, the world-record holder and 1992 Olympic champion high jumper who tested positive for cocaine at the Pan American Games, has withdrawn from the World Championships because of a herniated disc. His withdrawal means the IAAF won't have to decide whether to suspend him.

COLLEGES: Duke led the All-ACC academic honor roll selections for the 12th straight year, placing 292 on the list. Florida State was fourth with 180. Students had to have a 3.0 grade-point average for the full academic year. . . . Vanderbilt forward Michael LeBlanc, a disappointment since transferring from Connecticut two years ago, has been dismissed.

_ Compiled from Times wires.

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