Woodforde Upsets Krajicek : Tennis: Australian knocks out defending champion, will face winner of Becker-Stoltenberg.
Mark Woodforde survived Richard Krajicek’s 120-m.p.h. serves and a three-set battle in 110-degree heat Saturday, advancing to the Los Angeles Open final with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
Woodforde reached his first final of the year and will play either No. 2 Boris Becker or No. 6 Jason Stoltenberg in today’s championship on the UCLA campus.
“Reaching a final is fantastic,” said Woodforde, an Australian ranked 53rd in the world in singles, but known primarily for his doubles success. “It’s a great feeling.”
Woodforde’s first victory over Krajicek in five career meetings was a replay of the 1992 LA Open final, which Krajicek won in three sets. Krajicek, the fifth seed from the Netherlands, also won here in 1993.
This time, Woodforde’s serve-and-volley game withstood Krajicek’s booming serve, which produced 13 aces to Woodforde’s 10.
“He has a good serve and a good volley and those are his biggest strengths,” Krajicek said.
Woodforde led 40-love in the sixth game of the first set before Krajicek saved one break point, then double faulted to lose the game. Krajicek had two break points in the final game, but failed to capitalize and lost the first set.
“Mark played pretty well,” Krajicek said. “It was very hot. I was struggling more today than yesterday. I should have done more serve-and-volley and pressured the guy.”
Krajicek, ranked 25th in the world, quickly recovered in the second set, taking a 4-2 lead before serving it out to tie the match.
In the third, Woodforde had three break points when Krajicek fired two aces to reach deuce. Another big serve and a backhand drop volley allowed Krajicek to tie it up, 2-2.
“I did get a bit discouraged when I got those three break points,” Woodforde said. “Before I used to show my frustration, but today I just wanted to concentrate. I couldn’t have played two better points, but then he made a fantastic backhand.”
Woodforde committed three double faults in the seventh game, but nailed a crosscourt backhand volley winner to go up 4-3.