SPORTING DIGEST: TENNIS

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The Independent Online
FED CUP (La Manga, Sp) Europe/Africa regional qualifying games: Group A: Czech Republic 3 Great Britain 0 (H Sukova bt S-A Siddall 6-3 6-2; J Novotna bt C Wood 6-2 6-2; Novotna and Sukova bt J Durie and Wood 6-7 6-1 6-2. Pool B: Hungary 3 Russia 0; Ukraine 2 Georgia 1. Pool C: Belarus 2 Latvia 1; Switzerland 3 Finland 0. Pool D: Croatia 3 Israel 0; Belgium 2 Romania 1.

HONG KONG OPEN First round: M Chang (US) bt J Hlasek (Swit) 6-1 6-3; W Ferreira (SA) bt J Bates (GB) 7-5 6-4; J Courier (US) bt Y Yong-il (S Kor) 6-2 6-4; J Bjorkman (Swe) bt M Ondruska (SA) 7-6 1-6 7-6; A Volkov (Rus) bt O Sela (Isr) 6-3 6-3; K Carlsen (Den) bt J Grabb (US) 6-4 7-5; J Stark (US) bt H Holm (Swe) 6-3 6-4; D Prinosil (Ger) bt S Lareau (Can) 7-5 1-6 6-4; J Apell (Swe) bt L Rehmann (Ger) 6-4 6-2; G Rusedski (Can) bt A Jarryd (Swe) 6-4 7-6.

NICE OPEN First round: T Carbonell (Sp) bt O Delatre (Fr) 6-3 6-0; R Carretero (Sp) bt F Vitoux (Fr) 6-1 6-4; M Woodforde (Aus) bt H Skoff (Aut) 6-3 7-6; Y Kafelnikov (Rus) bt D Wheaton (US) 6-3 6-0; M Rosset (Swit) bt M Filippini (Urug) 6-4 6-2; H Leconte (Fr) bt G Ivanisevic (Croa) 4-6 1-0 ret; A Costa (Sp) bt A Berasategui (Sp) 6-7 6-6 ret; J Sanchez (Spain) bt A Chesnokov (Rus) 6-3 6-3.

BERMUDA OPEN First round: M Hadad (Colombia) bt B Steven (NZ) 0-6 6-4 6-3; R Vasek (Cz Rep) bt F Meligeni (Brazil) 1-6 6-4 6-3; B Ulihrach (Cz Rep) bt C Ruud (Nor) 3-6 7-5 6-2; M Tebbutt (Aus) bt H Gumy (Arg) 4-6 7-6 6-4; J Morgan (Aus) bt D Witt (US) 6-2 6-4; L Jonsson (Swe) bt A O'Brien (US) 1-6 6-2 7-5; B Shelton (US) bt A Mancisidor (Sp) 6-2 7-5.

Steffi Graf, the world No 1, says she is taking a four-week break from the game to avoid burning herself out and to stay healthy. In an interview with the Sport-Bild magazine yesterday, Graf said she would return at the German Open in Berlin from 15 to 21 May. "If I continued to play now, I'd burn myself out and I don't want to do that. The most important thing for me this year is to stay healthy and I'm going to take as much time off as I need," Graf said. Graf dismissed reports in some German newspapers that the back injury that her kept her sidelined for several weeks had returned. She extended her 1995 unbeaten match streak to 18-0 by winning her fourth title of the year at the Houston Women's Championship on Sunday, her first clay-court event since the injury.

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