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Karatantcheva denies report of failed drug test

12/20/2005 - Tennis

PARIS -- Bulgarian teenager Sesil Karatantcheva failed a
doping test following her loss at the French Open, the French
sports newspaper L'Equipe reported Tuesday.

Karatantcheva tested positive for nandrolone after her three-set
loss to Russia's Elana Likhovtesa in the May 31 quarterfinals,
L'Equipe reported, without citing sources. She was 15 at the time; she turned 16 in August.

L'Equipe also reported that Karatantcheva appeared last week
before a panel of three judges appointed by the International
Tennis Federation. The newspaper said she told the panel she was
pregnant at the time of the test, but later suffered a miscarriage.

Karatantcheva told a Bulgarian news agency she was not informed
of the test result and denied appearing before the panel.

"I am shocked," Karatantcheva told the agency. "I have not
appeared before judges of the international federation."

Karatantcheva could not be reached for further comment.

Bulgaria's Tennis Federation said it was unaware of the case and
had not heard from either the ITF or the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"We do hope that the report by the French paper will prove
untrue," the Bulgarian federation said in a statement.

Karatantcheva, who beat Venus Williams in the third round of the
French Open, is currently ranked 39th on the WTA Tour.

L'Equipe's report is the latest allegation of positive tests
from this year's French Open.

The paper reported in October that Argentina's Mariano Puerta
tested positive for the stimulant etilefrine after his four-set
loss to Rafael Nadal in the June 5 final. Argentine doubles
specialist Mariano Hood has acknowledged that he tested positive
for finasteride at the tournament.

In August, L'Equipe reported that Lance Armstrong tested
positive for the performance-enhancing drug EPO during the first of
his seven Tour de France victories in 1999.

Armstrong angrily denied the charges, saying he was the victim
of a "witch hunt." He also questioned the validity of testing
samples frozen six years ago, and how the samples were handled.