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Tennis Roundup : Noah to Meet Unseeded Svensson in Wembley Final

November 16, 1986|From Times Wire Services

Third-seeded Yannick Noah of France and unseeded Jonas B. Svensson of Sweden won their semifinal matches in the $375,000 Benson and Hedges tennis tournament Saturday at Wembley, England.

Noah defeated South African-born Kevin Curren, 7-5, 6-3, while Svensson beat Libor Pimek of Czechoslovakia, 6-3, 7-6.

"That was the best I've played for a long time," said Noah, who served 10 aces, volleyed with power and accuracy and executed several excellent groundstroke shots from the side and back of the court.

"I moved much better today. It was probably my best performance since the start of the year."

Noah, who missed much of the summer with an ankle injury that forced him to pull out of Wimbledon, delighted the capacity crowd of 8,000 by diving and scurrying all over the court.

Curren, last year's Wimbledon runner-up, played extremely hard but was unable to convert a number of chances at crucial points in the match.

"I'm tremendously disappointed," Curren said. "Physically, I thought I matched him, but it was a weak mental effort. I was intimidated by his speed at times.

"The mental thing has killed my whole career and it happened again today. I just can't seem to be tough enough to win the big points.

"I've got the tools but I also have the mental lapses. It's something that's plagued me all along. Maybe I think too much. If I could just put that final ingredient into my game, but at 28 I wonder if I ever will."

Svensson, who has risen from 105th to 28th in the world rankings this year, was less authoritative against Pimek than in the previous round against Australian Pat Cash. But he still had too much firepower for the Czech.

Top-seeded Martina Navratilova used hard first serves and passing shots to score a 6-2, 7-5 victory over eighth-seeded Zina Garrison in the semifinals of a $150,000 Virginia Slims tournament at Chicago.

The world's top woman player defeated the 22-year-old Garrison for the 16th consecutive time. It was the 1,005th win for Navratilova, who has won 48 straight matches since May 26.

In the final, Navratilova will meet second-seeded Hana Mandlikova, who beat fourth-seeded Pam Shriver, Navratilova's doubles partner, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

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