Originally created 07/12/98

Novotna beats Nagyova in semifinal



PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Home-crowd favorite Jana Novotna rallied to beat Slovakia's Henrieta Nagyova 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 Saturday and reach Sunday's final of the Czech Open.

The other semifinal between Natasha Zvereva of Belarus and France's Sandrine Testud was interrupted because of heavy rain and will be finished Sunday. Testud won the first set 6-3, Zvereva took the second 6-4.

Nagyova, ranked 23rd in the world, broke the Wimbledon champion in the fifth game to lead 3-2. Novotna failed to find her rhythm and lost the first set.

Nagyova broke the Czech's serve again to lead 1-0 in the second set, but Novotna fought back and scored consistently with her backhand to take the set.

Nagyova raced to a 4-0 lead in the third set, but Novotna regained her composure and won six games in a row and eventually took the set and the match.

Before the match, Novotna was invited to Prague Castle to meet with President Vaclav Vavel, who congratulated her on her performance at Wimbledon.

"Not everyone gets the chance to meet the President," Novotna said.