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Tennis Roundup : Berger, Duncan Advance to U.S. Clay Court Final

From Associated Press

Sixth-seeded Jay Berger and unseeded Lawson Duncan advanced to the final of the $220,000 U.S. Clay Court men’s tennis championships at Isle of Palms, S.C., Saturday, setting up a meeting of two former Clemson stars.

Berger, the lone seeded player to make the semifinals, eliminated Javier Frana of Argentina, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Earlier, Duncan beat Tim Wilkison, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

Berger and Duncan--who attended Clemson at different times--will meet for the championship today. The winner will earn $38,000.

After splitting the first two sets in the 2-hour 37-minute match, Berger and Frana traded breaks in games two and three before Berger earned a second break at 15-40 to take a 3-2 lead.

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The two players held serve the rest of the way, with Berger winning the match when Frana hit a forehand long.

Top-seeded Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina and No. 4 Arantxa Sanchez of Spain scored straight-set victories to reach the final of the $300,000 Italian Open at Rome.

Sabatini, playing inspired tennis after several lackluster matches, overpowered Bettina Fulco of Argentina, 6-3, 6-1.

Sanchez, continuing the best stretch of her career, ousted No. 14 Nathalie Tauziat of France, 6-1, 6-3.

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Sabatini will be trying for her second consecutive Italian Open title today; Sanchez will be going for her first major championship.

Sabatini, ranked No. 3 in the world, had blamed her earlier listless performances on lack of incentive, citing the absence of rivals Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

“This was definitely my best match of the tournament,” Sabatini said. “I played like I usually do. I did everything well. I was concentrating, hitting and moving.”

Heavy rain halted the $692,500 German Open semifinal between Ivan Lendl and Carl-Uwe Steeb and prevented Boris Becker from playing Austria’s Horst Skoff at Hamburg, West Germany.

Weather permitting, the semifinals will be completed today. The final was moved to Monday and will be shortened to a best-of-three-sets match.

The No. 1-seeded Lendl lost the first set, 6-4, but was leading, 5-0, in the second set when the rain stopped the match.


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