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Tennis Roundup : Steffi Graf Wins Pan Pacific Open

September 15, 1986| From Times Wire Services

Top-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany, keeping her opponent on the run with powerful ground strokes, beat second-seeded Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-4, 6-2, Sunday to win the $300,000 Pan Pacific Open, Japan's richest women's tournament.

Graf, ranked third in the world, won $47,000. Defending champion Maleeva, ranked ninth in the world, received $22,000.

A double fault by Maleeva helped Graf score her first service break in the fifth game of the first set, but Maleeva immediately broke back and took a 4-3 lead before Graf reeled off three consecutive games.

The two players exchanged strong, deep and accurate ground strokes at the start of the second set, but Graf then raced to a 5-1 lead on two service breaks as Maleeva looked tired, frequently committing unforced errors.

Maleeva rallied and took the seventh game without losing a point but then fell victim to unforced errors again in the final game.

"It was strategically an easy game for me as I knew Maleeva is poor at my backhand slice," Graf said. "I thought I could win when we were tied at 3-3 in the first set as Maleeva looked tired."

Graf later teamed with Bettina Bunge to beat the Bulgarian sister team of Manuela and Katerina Maleeva, 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, in the doubles final.

At Geneva, Switzerland, top-seeded Henri Leconte of France defeated Davis Cup teammate Thierry Tulasne, 7-5, 6-3, in the final of the $200,000 Martini Open.

It was Leconte's first victory over Tulasne in official men's competition.

Leconte is a serve and volleyer, while Tulasne is a baseliner who relies on heavy top-spin ground strokes.

"I went to the net at every opportunity so that he had to serve long and could not find his rhythm," said Leconte, who earned $40,600 and 200 Grand Prix points.

"That means that I go from 12th to 10th in Grand Prix rankings," he said, adding that he must be in the top eight to qualify for the Masters in New York this December.

Tulasne, ranked 13th in the world, was frustrated by the loss. "Henri made me play poorly but that's his strength. I never found my rhythm because the points were so short."

At Amelia Island, Fla., top-seeded Jimmy Connors overcame a poor start and 90-plus degree heat to defeat Aaron Krickstein, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, for the title in the Du Point All-American Championships.

The 34-year-old Connors gained control of the match after Krickstein, 19, won the first set and led, 2-0, in the second.

"It turned out all right, didn't it?" Connors said.

Zina Garrison beat Pam Shriver, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, for the women's title.

At Stuttgart, West Germany, Argentina's Martin Jaite overcame a slow start to defeat Jonas Svensson, 7-5, 6-2, to win the $188,250 Mercedes Cup Nabisco Grand Prix tournament.

Jaite, seeded third in the tourney and ranked No. 17 worldwide, collected $36,120 for the victory.

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