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Tennis Roundup : Becker Serves Notice on Kriek, Wimbledon

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

Boris Becker, a 17-year-old rising star from West Germany, slammed 11 aces and routed Johan Kriek, 6-2, 6-3, to win the $250,000 Queen’s Club men’s grass court tennis tournament at London Sunday.

Becker, seeded 11th, clinched the first Grand Prix championship of his blossoming career in only 66 minutes as the South African-born Kriek was unable to cope with the West German’s serve.

Kriek, seeded fourth, was also broken twice in the first set and once in the second before Becker finished the match with an ace.

Watched by his parents, who made a surprise visit to Britain from their home in West Germany, Becker maintained a fierce attacking serve-and-volley game that had Kriek backpedaling throughout the match.

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Becker momentarily ran into trouble on his serve midway through the second set but saved the situation in spectacular style. Twice he double-faulted--once on a dubious line call--but each time he followed up the errors with an ace.

Becker broke Kriek’s serve in the eighth game of the second set. But he needed five break points as Kriek produced some brilliant midcourt returns in a vain bid to hold his serve.

The West German earned the final break point with a stop-volley at full stretch, and then Kriek surrendered the game when he hit a backhand wide.

Becker then finished off the match in devastating style.

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Three unreturnable serves gave him a 40-0 lead and he then sent a final ace ripping past Kriek. Seconds after his victory he realized his parents were in the crowd.

“I looked at my coach (Ion Tiriac) and he pointed to the balcony,” Becker said. “I looked into the crowd and he kept on pointing upwards until I saw them. I did not know they were coming over.”

Becker said he thought his ranking--No. 29 in the world before the tournament--would rise some nine places after the win. But he did not think it would be enough to put him among the seeded players at Wimbledon, which begins June 24.

Kriek was duly impressed.

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“If he plays like that every day at Wimbledon, Becker can win the tournament,” Kriek said. “On top of his serve, he hits some incredible shots.”

At Birmingham, England, top-seeded Pam Shriver defeated fellow American Betsy Nagelsen, 6-1, 6-0, to win a $125,000 women’s tournament.

Shriver, ranked No. 5 in the world, served five aces as she outclassed Nagelsen on the grass surface.

Nagelsen said: “She returned my service as if it were nothing. I think she played just about as well as she can.”

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Shriver won her five matches in the tournament without dropping a set. She said later she had managed to iron out a few problems affecting her serve and felt stronger as she progressed through the competition.

The victory was worth $20,320.


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