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Graf Makes Short Work of Sukova

February 23, 1987| Associated Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Second-seeded Steffi Graf needed less than an hour Sunday to defeat fourth-seeded Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 6-2, 6-3, in the final of the $250,000 Virginia Slims of Florida tennis tournament.

Sukova wasn't the only player to have trouble with Graf. The 17-year-old West German lost only 20 games in winning five matches on the way to the $50,000 paycheck she picked up Sunday.

Graf's victory, coupled with Chris Evert Lloyd's second-round loss here to Kate Gompert, will push her past Lloyd to No. 2 in the next computer rankings out March 2. Martina Navratilova is No. 1.

"It's the first time I'll be ranked No. 2," Graf said. "Now I must see if I can keep it up."

Graf had 10 break points against Sukova in the first set, and broke her service in the first and seventh games with speed, power and excellent passing shots.

Graf then scored service breaks in the fifth and ninth games of the second set while coasting in every one of her own service games, except one. Sukova, runner-up to Navratilova at last yea1915188000her celebrate her 22nd birthday today.

"I like the way I played for sure," Graf said after the 59-minute match. "I served very well."

Sukova, who has lost four straight matches against Graf, was disappointed but not shocked.

"She put a lot of pressure on me," Sukova said. "She served real deep. Steffi has been playing well for a period of time now. She has the best forehand in women's tennis."

Graf came into this tournament after taking 10 weeks off. But she gave an indication of things to come when she won her first two matches in a total 69 minutes with the loss of only two games.

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