Around the Games

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ATLANTA: Mark Lenzi, the defending springboard diving gold medalist, heads into Monday night's finals in second place. Lenzi stood in 26th place on Sunday halfway through the preliminary session. He then rallied into ninth place entering the semifinals. Only the semifinal scores carry over to the final. "I knew from the first dive I had to get it going because I didn't expect this kind of a contest," Lenzi said Sunday. "After I missed two dives, I thought, well, I'm probably out because this is probably the greatest 3-meter field of divers you'll ever see in the world." Now Lenzi has a chance to top the field again. China's Xiong Ni stands in first place, Dmitry Sautin of Russia, the pre-Olympic favorite, is in third and American Scott Donie is in fourth. Lenzi retired after the 1993 season, suffering from post-Olympic gold stress. He fell into debt and briefly considered selling his gold medal to pay for flight school. He resumed his career in April 1995 and now has a chance to add a second gold medal. "My whole comeback year, prelims have been killing me every single time," Lenzi said, "but the final are great." In other events Monday, sixth-seed Jana Novotna bumped top-seeded Monica Seles from the Olympic tennis tournament, rallying from a 5-3 third-set deficit to win 7-5, 3-6, 8-6. "She played better than I did at crunch time," Seles said. The other U.S. women won, which means a semifinal showdown Wednesday between Mary Joe Fernandez and Lindsay Davenport, who are close friends as well as teammates. At least one of them will take home a medal. Novotna's opponent in the semifinals will be No. 3 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain. In women's basketball. the U.S. team finished the preliminary round with another rout, beating South Korea 105-64. Reserve Nikki McCray led five players in double figures with 16 points as the United States won its pool with a 5-0 record. Argentina qualified for the men's volleyball playoffs with a 3-1 win over Poland, putting more pressure on the United States in its final pool match tonight. Argentina had been tied for second place with the United States, Brazil and Bulgaria at 2-2 in Pool A. The United States plays Bulgaria tonight, while Brazil, the defending gold medalist that routed the Americans 3-0 on Saturday, plays pool winner Cuba (4-0). The top four teams in the two pools advance to the quarterfinals. -->