Stich Gets His Place in the Sun : Tennis: German overpowers Jakob Hlasek, 6-2, 6-4, to reach finals at UCLA.

From Associated Press

Second-seeded Michael Stich used his powerful serve-and-volley game to overpower Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland, 6-2, 6-4, Saturday in a semifinal match of the $328,000 Infiniti Open.

Stich will meet the winner of Saturday night’s other semifinal match between top-seeded Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia and No. 5 Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in today’s championship match at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

Stich, ranked ninth in the world, had seven aces in holding service in each of the nine games he served in the 63-minute match. Stich broke Hlasek’s service twice in the first set and once in the second set--in the 10th and final game.

Stich won the first three games of the match and on 85 percent of his first serves overall. He made it through his fourth match in the tournament without losing a set.


“I played well today, hitting the ball clean,” he said. “My serve helped me a lot. He had trouble serving into the sun. I’m very happy with my performance. I put a lot of pressure on my opponent with my serve and I always rely in my second serve.

“I like his game. He plays flat, not putting any spin on the ball. He was just struggling on the sun side. I think the sun gave me the first set.”

Stich, 26, earned a berth in the finals of a tournament for the fourth time this year. He is looking for his first victory.

“I’m just taking one match at a time,” he said. “I try to improve with every match and I’ve been able to focus on every point here.”


Hlasek, 30, is ranked 90th in the world.