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Tennis Roundup : Navratilova Gains Semifinals; Becker, Noah Advance in N.Y.

May 09, 1987|From Times Wire Services

Top-seeded Martina Navratilova beat West Germany's Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, 6-2, 6-3, Friday to reach the semifinals of the $150,000 Italian Open women's tennis tournament at Rome.

The victory set up a semifinal match between Navratilova and 16-year-old Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, who routed 15-year-old Arantxa Sanchez of Spain, 6-0, 6-0.

Second-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany and third-seeded Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia will meet today in the other semifinal.

Graf struggled past Bettina Fulco of Argentina, 6-4, 6-4, while Sukova defeated Judith Polzl of Austria, 6-4, 6-2.

Navratilova often was caught flat-footed by Kohde-Kilsch but, in the end, her booming serve and strong backhand proved too much for her opponent.

Navratilova has won all five of her matches against Sabatini. But Sabatini, who will be 17 next week, was optimistic.

"She's not playing well at the moment," Sabatini said. "I have a very good chance to beat her because I feel very good on these courts, and I have never played her on clay."

Top-seeded Boris Becker of West Germany and defending champion Yannick Noah of France led the way into the semifinals of the $615,000 Tournament of Champions at New York's West Side Tennis Club.

Becker defeated Guillermo Vilas of Argentina, 7-6, 6-4, and Noah beat 10th-seeded Aaron Krickstein, 6-2, 6-2.

Also posting quarterfinal victories were fourth-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador and 12th-seeded Slobodan Zivojinovich of Yugoslavia. Gomez ousted sixth-seeded Martin Jaite of Argentina, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, and Zivojinovich beat Paul Annacone, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.

Noah will face Zivojinovich, and Gomez will take on Becker today.

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