Tennis Roundup : Chang, 16, a Winner as Kriek Is Beaten

From Times Wire Services

Sixteen-year-old Michael Chang of Placentia won his first Grand Prix title Sunday, defeating Johan Kriek, 6-2, 6-3, in the finals of the $425,000 Transamerica Open tennis championships.

The unseeded Chang, ranked 36th in the world, used a change of pace from the baseline to beat the South African-born Kriek, the 64th-rated player. He earned earned $59,500.

"He's the kind of player who would always give me problems," said Kriek, of Naples, Fla., who defeated third-seeded John McEnroe in the semifinals. "He's another phenomenon. I tried my absolute best."

Chang isn't the youngest to win a Grand Prix title. Top-seeded Aaron Krickstein, who was upset in the first round, was five months younger than Chang when he won a tournament in Tel Aviv in 1983.

Chang, who turned professional in February, fell behind early in the first set. Kriek relied on a booming serve and seemed indestructible.

"I didn't know what to do," Chang said. "Two games, and I was getting blown off the court. But I decided to take some of the pace off the ball and not let him get any rhythm."

Chang broke Kriek in the seventh game and kept the pressure on. He finished strongly in the opening set and broke Kriek again in the first game of the second set with baseline winners.

Chang ended the match on his second match point, a forehand volley winner.

Kriek reached the finals for the second time. He lost to Sweden's Stefan Edberg in 1985.

Top-seeded Mats Wilander, the world's No. 1-ranked player, defeated fellow Swede Kent Carlsson, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, to win the $123,400 Sicilian Open in Palermo, Sicily.

It was the fourth time Wilander has defeated Carlsson in as many career meetings. Carlsson was seeded second and is ranked sixth in the world.

After playing poorly in the first set, Carlsson came on strongly in the second, controlling his shots and winning three straight games to take a 4-2 advantage. The play was marked by long volleys, aggressive smashes by Carlsson and Wilander's difficulty clearing the net.

After Carlsson pulled ahead, 5-3, Wilander measured the net with his racket and complained to judges that it was too high. They examined it and disagreed, and Carlsson closed out the set.

In the third set, Wilander broke in the ninth game to lead, 5-4, then recovered from a 15-40 deficit to win the last game.

The clay-court tournament marked Wilander's first appearance since he became the top-ranked player in the world by beating Ivan Lendl in the U.S. Open last month. He earned $20,000 for the victory.

The 24-year-old Swede decided not to compete in the Summer Olympics so he would not aggravate a minor leg injury he received in the U.S. Open.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World