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Tennis Roundup : Lendl Beats Becker in ‘Anticlimax’

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

Ivan Lendl, reversing the result of July’s Wimbledon final, outgunned Boris Becker, 6-4, 7-6, Sunday to win the $315,000 Volvo International at Stratton Mountain, Vt.

Lendl was one point away from victory when, he said, he and Becker had a little chat.

“He says to me, '(Kevin) Curren had two match points, (John) McEnroe four. You think I can come back from six?’

“I said, ‘You’d better hurry back because otherwise you’ll get a penalty point.’ ”

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Becker didn’t get the penalty point, but neither was he able to get any point as Lendl ripped through the tiebreaker, 7-0.

The victory, worth $40,000, gave the 26-year-old Czech a 5-2 edge in career meetings against the 18-year-old West German, who had beaten him twice in a row. Becker won $20,000 for finishing second.

Becker said the final was anticlimactic after his 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory over McEnroe in Saturday’s semifinals.

“When I got out of bed this morning, I said, ‘Ooff, I’m still in the tournament.’ I thought it was the final yesterday, so it was very tough to come back today and play it again,” he said.

Preparing to defend his U.S. Open title, Lendl broke Becker in the third game of the opening set. But when Becker broke back in the sixth game, the match was even.

Lendl, aided by a double-fault, broke Becker again in the ninth game, then held at love. The first point was his sixth ace of the day and the last a booming service winner to close out the opening set.

It was more of the same in the second set as Becker again lost his serve in the third game, this time when he tried a backhand drop volley that ended up in the bottom of the net.

With the capacity crowd cheering for him, Becker found an opening when Lendl double-faulted two consecutive times to begin the sixth game. Lendl fell behind love-40 and eventually saved seven break points.

But there were eight break points, and on the last one, Becker finally converted for the service break. When Lendl netted a backhand, it ended a 20-minute game and evened the set at 3-3.

The two then held serve, forcing a tiebreaker.

Lendl was perfect, sweeping all seven points to close out the match.

When the two-hour match was over, Lendl had eight aces for the day and Becker six. Lendl also led in double-faults with four against two by Becker.

At Montreal, Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia capitalized on Pam Shriver’s inconsistency to win the $280,000 Player’s Challenge tournament in surprisingly easy fashion, 6-2, 7-5.

Sukova, seeded No. 2, won the top prize of $63,000, while Shriver, seeded No. 1, earned $28,000.

Shriver repeatedly hit short backhands and forehands into the net and failed on numerous groundstrokes during the 64-minute match.

Sukova had 5 aces to 1 for Shriver. Shriver committed 14 unforced errors to 7 for her opponent.

Sixth-seeded Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia rallied from a break down in the fifth set Sunday to upset second-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, and win the $150,000 Grand Prix tournament at Kitzbuehel, Austria.


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