International Players Championships : Connors, Lloyd Reach Semifinals

Associated Press

Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert Lloyd, both questionable coming into the $1.8-million International Players Championships because of knee problems, reached the semifinals Wednesday.

Connors, seeded No. 6, beat Derrick Rostagno, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Lloyd, the No. 2-seeded woman, continued her mastery of ninth-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany with a 6-2, 7-5 victory.

Meanwhile, Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander, the two Swedes who played in the semifinals here last year, were knocked out. Ninth-seeded Miloslav Mecir of Czechoslovakia upset the second-seeded Edberg, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, and fourth-seeded Yannick Noah of France ousted the fifth-seeded Wilander, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 2-6, 7-6.

In the night match, top-seeded Ivan Lendl steamrolled local favorite Jay Berger, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Lendl overcame tricky windy conditions and a hostile crowd rooting for Berger, from nearby Plantation, Fla.

"It was difficult out there with the conditions," Lendl said. "I felt that if I could jump out in front it would be all right because I would be able to cope with the conditions better than him."

In the women's semifinals today, top-seeded Martina Navratilova meets third-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany and Lloyd plays fourth-seeded Hana Mandlikova, who beat sixth-seeded Helena Sukova, 6-4, 6-3.

The 34-year-old Connors and the 21-year-old Rostagno staged a classic baseline duel for two long sets. But after the veteran lost his serve in the 10th game of the second set to even the match at one set apiece, he suddenly took charge.

"Once I went ahead and I was up a break in the third set, I got some confidence back," said Connors, who defaulted in the final of the U.S. Indoor tournament two weeks ago because of a knee strain.

Lloyd blitzed Kohde-Kilsch in the first set and then came from a 4-2 deficit to win the second set. She broke Kohde-Kilsch in the final game to keep her career record against the West German a perfect 12-0.

"The first set was real easy," said Lloyd, who lost in the third round last month in her first tournament after taking five months off because of a knee injury. "Claudia was making a lot of errors. In the second set, she was playing better and pressing me."

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