Tennis: Injured Connors to play in US Open

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JIMMY CONNORS still intends to enter the US Open championship next week despite withdrawing from the Hamlet Cup tournament in Commack, New York.

Connors strained his thigh during his triumph over Sweden's Nicklas Kulti on Monday and had to scratch from his second-round match against Michael Chang, ruining his planned week of practice. 'I'm still hopeful,' Connors, who will be 40 on Wednesday, said. 'But it is frustrating not to be able to practise. The big thing the doctor wants me to do is to stay off my feet and rest for a couple of days.'

The five-times Open champion, who lit up the tournament a year ago when he reached the semi-finals before losing to Jim Courier, has drawn Jaime Oncins, of Brazil, in the first round and could expect to face Ivan Lendl at the next stage. Lendl faces Jaime Yzaga, of Peru, in the first round.

John McEnroe, seeded No 16 after reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon, drew the Dutchman Michiel Schapers in the first round, while Andre Agassi, who beat him on the way to the title, and Pete Sampras will face qualifiers.

The top seeds, Jim Courier and Monica Seles, will face American opponents in their first matches, Courier taking on the wild card recipient, Alex O'Brien, and Seles facing Audra Keller. Sweden's Stefan Edberg, who beat Courier in the final last year, opens against Luiz Mattar, of Brazil.

Michael Stich, who collapsed through dehydration on Tuesday, was beaten by Andrei Olhovskiy, 6-2, 7-6, at the OTB International Open in New York. The former Wimbledon champion said: 'I wasn't moving very well and he was serving very, very well. This is only my second match on hard courts in a while and my timing is still not there.'

He struggled in his first-round victory over Martin Blackman, of the United States, on Tuesday before feeling ill.