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TENNIS INSIDER | ROUNDUP

Graf's Back in Form With Second Title in a Row

November 16, 1998|From Associated Press

Steffi Graf is all the way back.

The unseeded Graf defeated top-ranked Lindsay Davenport, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, on Sunday in a grueling two-hour match to win her second consecutive tournament since returning from a two-month layoff because of wrist surgery.

The stunning victory came in the final of the Advanta Championships at Villanova, Pa.

The loss spoiled Davenport's first tournament on American soil since she became the No. 1-ranked player in the WTA's computer rankings. She had won her last seven matches, including a victory over Monica Seles in the semifinals Saturday and a win in the European Championships final over Venus Williams last month.

Sunday's match marked the first time Graf and Davenport have met in a final. Minutes after Davenport's return hit the net on match point, Graf smiled widely and shook her fist in the air. "It's been a tough road back, but I seem to be doing really well," Graf said after receiving her $79,000 winner's check. It was Graf's 10th straight match victory, including a win in the finals of the Leipzig Open, since returning from wrist surgery last month.

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Defending champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov beat Goran Ivanisevic, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), to win the $1.1-million Kremlin Cup at Moscow for his third title of the year. With the victory, Kafelnikov secured the eighth and final berth in the ATP Tour World Championship, which will be played Nov. 24-29 in Hanover, Germany.

"I missed the very easy overhead--impossible to miss," Ivanisevic said of his mistake at the end of the first set. "Yevgeny played a better match than me today when he needed to, and that's why he won."

In the second-set tiebreaker, Kafelnikov took advantage of a weak second serve by Ivanisevic to go up 6-5 and then made a powerful forehand volley to end the match.

"If I hadn't won the first set, it all could have been different," said Kafelnikov, who had been defeated by Ivanisevic in the 1996 final.

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Todd Martin capitalized on Thomas Johansson's sloppy serving and beat the Swede, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, to win the Stockholm Open.

Martin became the first American winner of this indoor event since John McEnroe in 1984 and '85. Martin made it to the final two years ago but lost to Thomas Enqvist. "I was very confident before the final, because I've played very well in the past few weeks," Martin said. "Neither of us played our best tennis, but I was fortunate to start each set well."

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Francisco Clavet of Spain beat Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco, 6-2, 6-4, to win the $320,000 Chevrolet Cup at Santiago, Chile. . . . John McEnroe beat Mats Wilander of Sweden, 6-0, 6-2, to reach the final of an ATP senior tournament at Zagreb, Croatia. McEnroe will meet Guy Forget in today's final.

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