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Going Up, Seles Takes Down Graf : Tennis: Yugoslav teen-ager ends Steffi's winning streak at 66 to gain German Open title.

May 21, 1990|From Associated Press

WEST BERLIN — What's next for Monica Seles after beating Martina Navratilova one week and Steffi Graf the next?

Seles, the 16-year-old Yugoslav, ended Graf's 66-match winning streak on the West German's home soil Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory in the final of the German Open at West Berlin.

It was the fifth consecutive tournament victory for Seles, who has won 24 matches in a row. Last week, she routed Navratilova, 6-1, 6-1, to win the Italian Open.

She said confidence played a big part.

"I'm much more experienced now and I wasn't afraid of Graf as much as before," Seles said before adding, "This is just one match. I'm just happy that I'm playing well."

Seles handed Graf her first loss in nearly a year. Graf hadn't lost since last June 10, when Arantxa Sanchez Vicario beat her in the French Open final.

Graf's winning streak was the second longest in the modern era of women's tennis. Navratilova won 74 consecutive matches in 1984.

"I was so far away from playing my best tennis, it was difficult to get into it," Graf said. "If I play like that I can't expect to win."

Seles lost the first two games before breaking Graf's serve twice to take a 4-2 lead. From that point on, Seles controlled the match as Graf continued to be plagued by unforced errors.

It was Seles' first victory over Graf after three losses, the most recent in Brighton, England, seven months ago.

Asked what she planned to do with her $100,000 winner's check, Seles said: "Maybe after the French Open I'll buy a car. I'm the only one of the top players who doesn't have a car. My taste is a little exotic--I'd like a Lamborghini, but I'll settle for a red BMW."

After falling behind, 4-2, in the first set, Graf hit a long forehand on the first point of the seventh game and showed her frustration by slamming a ball into the net.

The West German recovered to win the game, but Seles never let up.

After both players held serve, Seles took a 40-love lead on Graf's serve to set up her first set point.

Graf saved the first set point with a forehand winner and Seles squandered the second with a wide backhand. But Seles then won the set with a blistering forehand winner.

Seles jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second set, breaking Graf's serve in the second game.

Graf broke back in the third game, but she couldn't hold serve. Seles broke two more times, including the final game when Graf hit a forehand over the baseline on match point.

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