Ivan Lendl, the world's No. 1-ranked player, put an end to Emilio Sanchez's string of upsets Sunday by defeating the 20-year-old Spaniard, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, to win the $435,000 Italian Open.
Sanchez, playing Lendl for the first time in his three-year career, had gained the reputation of giant-killer on the clay courts of Rome's Foro Italico.
On successive days, the unseeded Sanchez upset 12th-seeded Aaron Krickstein, third-seeded Boris Becker and second-seeded Mats Wilander en route to the final. But, once there, he was no match for Lendl.
Many in the capacity crowd of 10,000 found the final to be anticlimactic following Lendl's dramatic semifinal victory over defending champion Yannick Noah of France. The top-seeded Czech saved a match point to win in a third-set tiebreaker.
Against Sanchez, Lendl let his concentration, and the second set, slip away before suddenly exploding at 0-1 in the third set to take nine straight games.
In that exceptional half-hour, he took 36 points to Sanchez's six and ran the Spaniard all over the court before winning the $56,000 first-place prize.
The victory, which took 2 hours 50 minutes, brings Lendl's record for the year to 34-2.
Lendl had little trouble winning the first set and began the second by breaking serve. But then the noisy crowd and swirling dust seemed to get on his nerves. Sanchez then broke his service in the eighth game of the set.
But that was the end of a dream of another upset for the world's 34th-ranked player. In his string of nine straight games, Lendl never lost more than a point in each.
Lendl said he lost the second set because Sanchez took more chances and also because his right knee, troubled by tendinitis, was bothering him.
"I was checking it (the knee) and I lost concentration doing it," Lendl said.
He also said Sanchez exerted too much energy rushing around the court in the heat. "He won the second set on emotion," Lendl said.
"It was exciting for him to come back. But three or four sets of running around after backhands in this (90 degree) heat is almost impossible. He got tired."
At West Berlin, top-seeded Martina Navratilova defeated Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany, 7-6, 6-2, in 1 hour 32 minutes to gain the final of the women's $150,000 West German Open.
"I've lost to her before and I have a lot of respect for her game. I didn't expect an easy match and it wasn't," Navratilova said later.
Navratilova will meet second-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany, who advanced when her semifinal rival, fourth-seeded Hana Mandlikova of Czechoslovakia, withdrew because of a viral stomach infection.
Organizers said Mandlikova was suffering from a high fever and could not play.
Stanford and USC scored decisive semifinal wins to advance to the championship match in the NCAA national women's tennis tournament in Austin, Tex.
The Cardinal defeated Miami 6-3, while the defending champion Trojans clinched its berth with a 6-3 decision over third-seeded Trinity. Both teams are in the championship for the eighth time since 1975.