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Tennis Roundup : Becker Starts Slow, but Sweeps Fitzgerald

October 24, 1988| From Times Wire Services

If Boris Becker was missing anything at the start of the $617,500 Japan Indoor championship match Sunday, it was Stefan Edberg.

Rather than matching up against the top-seeded player from Sweden, Becker had to overcome surprise finalist John Fitzgerald of Australia, 7-6, 6-4, at Yoyogi Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

"It wasn't feeling like a final," said Becker, who has had injuries to both feet over the last 6 weeks. "It was different. That is nothing against John. He is a good player, but I was expecting to see Stefan. I think that is why, in the beginning, I was a bit slow to get started."

Fitzgerald set the tone early, breaking Becker's serve in the first game. But when Becker evened the first set, 3-3, on a break, he said he thought he had "control of the match."

Becker won the first-set tiebreaker, 7-4, with help from two net cords, the second coming on set point.

Austrian Horst Skoff defeated top-seeded compatriot Thomas Muster, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, in the $205,000 Grand Prix tournament at Vienna.

The players, both suffering from injuries, apologized to the crowd for the poor standard of play.

At Frankfurt, West Germany, Tim Mayotte needed 2 hours 20 minutes to defeat Leonardo Lavalle of Mexico, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, for the Frankfurt Cup Nabisco Grand Prix championship.

Mayotte, seeded No. 1, broke Lavalle's serve to go ahead, 4-2, in the third set.

The left-handed Lavalle fought off 3 match points before Mayotte gained his fourth tournament title this year.

Top-seeded Pam Shriver, relying on a strong serve that produced 4 aces on break points, overpowered third-seeded Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-3, 6-4, to win the $200,000 European Indoors tournament at Zurich, Switzerland.

"I've never served so well and struggled so hard to hold serve," said Shriver, 26, whose last singles championship was the Pan-Pacific Open at Tokyo in May. "It was bad luck for Manuela. I played as well as I could."

Maleeva wasted 4 break points in the first set. In the second set, she broke serve to even it, 4-4, but faltered on her own serve and didn't win a point on the next game.

Unseeded Malivai Washington, a University of Michigan sophomore, defeated Mike Brown of Arkansas, 7-6, 7-6, to capture the Volvo Collegiate Championships singles title at Athens, Ga.

Brian Garrow and Patrick Galbraith of UCLA beat California's Woody Hunt and Ted Scherman, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, to win the doubles title.

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