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TENNIS ROUNDUP : Forget, Novotna Prevail at Sydney

From Associated Press

Guy Forget and Jana Novotna each wound up their preparation for the Australian Open by winning a singles title Sunday in the New South Wales Open tournament at Sydney, Australia.

Forget, seeded third, earned his first singles title outside of his native France with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Michael Stich of Germany.

The Frenchman did not drop a set all week in the $425,000 tournament.

“I think I’ve had the best possible preparation for the Australian Open,” said Forget, who has been in Australia since November when he played in the world doubles championships.

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The Australian Open begins today in Melbourne.

Earlier, Novotna upset second-seeded Aranxta Sanchez Vicario of Spain, 6-4, 6-2, to win the women’s singles final.

Sanchez Vicario led, 3-1, in the first set but then lost seven consecutive service games to the sixth-seeded Czech. The Spaniard had lost only 13 games without dropping a set in reaching the final.

Hana Mandlikova, Novotna’s coach, won the same title in 1979.

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“It’s my biggest win so far,” Novotna said. “During the tournament my form was improving and I played my best tennis today.”

Sanchez Vicario bounced back in the doubles, teaming with Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia to defeat the top-seeded pair of Novotna and Gigi Fernandez, 6-1, 6-4.

Forget needed only 73 minutes to beat Stich, who lost his second final in consecutive weeks in Australia. Stich fought off four match points on his serve in the ninth game of the second set, but couldn’t hold off Forget when the Frenchman served for the match at 5-4.

Forget won $32,500 and Stich earned $19,000.

Forget had won the world doubles title with Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland, competed in the Hopman Cup in Perth and then chose the New South Wales event for his final tuneup for the Australian Open.

Fourth-seeded Karel Novacek beat unseeded Frenchman Jean-Philippe Fleurian, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), to win a $175,000 tournament at Auckland, New Zealand.

Fleurian had beaten top-seeded Emilio Sanchez of Spain and fifth-seeded Luiz Mattar of Brazil on his way to the final.

Novacek, ranked 35th in the world, won his fourth singles title and his first on a hard surface. His three previous victories had come on clay.

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Fleurian, 25, downed Mattar, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the semifinal. Novacek clinched his spot in the final with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 victory over fellow Czech Marian Vajda.

The second-seeded team of Sanchez and Sergio Casal beat top-seeded Glenn Michibata and Grant Connell of Canada, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in the doubles final.


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