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Enqvist Shows Ivanisevic One Way Out of Town

August 06, 1995|JULIE CART | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Goran Ivanisevic's self-fulfilling prophecy has come true. No longer will the Infiniti Open's top-seeded player have to endure boring L.A. Ivanisevic wrote his own ticket out of town in Saturday night's semifinal match after Thomas Enqvist eliminated him, 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 6-4.

Ivanisevic, ranked No. 7 in the world, leaves with his frustrating record intact--he has won only one tournament on hard courts in his career and never won a title in the United States, neatly cementing his disdain for this country.

Enqvist, ranked No. 16, will face No. 9 Michael Stich in today's final at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA. Stich defeated Jakob Hlasek, 6-2, 6-4.

Stich advanced to his fourth final of the year, all on different surfaces. Enqvist has made it to five finals in his career and won five titles--three this season.

Ivanisevic, who served well with 22 aces, nevertheless was unable to solve the 21-year-old Swede's serve.

"He served well," Ivanisevic said. "I had my chances, but I didn't take advantage. If you don't take advantage of your chances against good players, you're history."

Enqvist did not lose his serve during the 1-hour 45-minute match and had 16 aces.

"I have never served this good in my life," he said. "That's what I have to do against players like Goran."

The match was played at a rapid pace in the cool night air. For perhaps the first time in his career, Ivanisevic was given a warning for taking too much time, as he waited for a helicopter to pass over. The players' pace reflected their temperament: Enqvist plays briskly as a matter of efficient training. Ivanisevic plays quickly because he is constitutionally lacking in patience.

The two had met in a three-setter only last week and at first the match followed that pattern. As before, Ivanisevic won the first set in a tiebreaker.

The second set was dominated by hard serving, but each player found opportunities. Ivanisevic had double-break point against Enqvist in the eighth game but was unable to convert. Enqvist served an ace to hold the game.

Enqvist didn't squander his chance in the next game. Ivanisevic hit three forehands into the net and a backhand long to lose his serve. As he sat down during the changeover, Ivanisevic slammed his racket to the ground in frustration.

Ivanisevic is rapidly running out of equipment here. Friday night he ruined his last pair of shoes and, thanks to that brief outburst, he has only one racket left. He played Saturday night in shoes he bought at a sporting goods store in Westwood.

Apparently still disgusted with himself after the break, Ivanisevic chose not to contest Enqvist's next service game. The Swede served four consecutive aces as Ivanisevic remained on the baseline, making no effort to return the serves. For that, Ivanisevic was roundly booed by the attentive crowd.

Showing he was serious, Ivanisevic opened the third set with a 119 m.p.h. ace across the net and ended the game with an ace at 126 m.p.h. However, his serve failed him at the most inopportune moment, as he double-faulted to lose his serve in the fifth game.

Ivanisevic had a break point against Enqvist in the eighth game, but powerful ground strokes proved unreliable, including an ill-advised attempted drop shot from several feet behind the baseline.

Asked if his service break in the fifth game was the turning point of the match, Enqvist observed, "When you break Goran, it's always a turning point."

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