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Tennis Roundup : Lendl Ousts McEnroe, Meets Connors for Title Today

January 11, 1986|From Times Wire Services

Ivan Lendl beat John McEnroe, 7-6, 6-3, at Atlanta Friday night to advance to the final of the $500,000 AT&T Challenge. He will play Jimmy Connors for the $150,000 top prize today. The runner-up receives $100,000.

Earlier, Connors ousted Stefan Edberg of Sweden, 6-3, 6-3.

Lendl, ranked No. 1 in the world to McEnroe's No. 2, had 11 aces in the match, including two in the first-set tiebreaker, which he won, 7-4.

Lendl lost his serve only once in the match, in the fourth game of the first set. But the Czech immediately broke back, and both players stayed on serve until the tiebreaker.

In the second set, Lendl broke McEnroe in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead and served out the match.

"I'm very happy with the way I played," Lendl said. "I never expected to play this well in the first tournament of the year."

McEnroe said: "I had a few chances, but he had the shots when he needed them. His serve has improved so much that it's hard to counteract."

The 33-year-old Connors flustered the 19-year-old, hard-serving Edberg with booming returns. He broke the Swede's service twice in the first set.

"He was serving really well, but all of a sudden, I hit some good returns, and one lucky one, and he seemed to get discouraged," Connors said.

The turning point of the second set came in the fourth game when Connors hit two passing shots for winners, and Edberg made a pair of unforced errors.

"I just came into his rhythm, which I cannot do and beat him," Edberg said. "It's tough when your feet won't move the way you want them to."

At Washington, Pam Shriver survived two tiebreakers to advance to the semifinals of a $150,000 Virginia Slims tournament by beating Bonnie Gadusek, 7-6, 7-6.

Shriver will play Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria Sunday. Earlier, Maleeva defeated Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 6-3, 6-4.

At the other end of the draw is top-seeded Martina Navratilova, who defeated Maleeva for the tournament title last year. Navratilova will meet fifth-seeded Zina Garrison in the quarterfinals.

In a second-round match, Bettina Bunge outlasted Kathy Rinaldi, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Bunge will face Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany in the remaining quarterfinal match.

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