Graf wins, Novotna finds a royal shoulder to cry on

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The Independent Online
STEFFI GRAF yesterday came back from what looked like certain defeat to win her fifth Wimbledon title. In the 100th women's final - one of the most dramatic and emotional in the event's history - Jana Novotna, the No 8 seed from the Czech Republic, had Graf struggling to hold the title when she led 4-1 on her serve in the third set.

The normally dominant Graf had lost 10 of the previous 12 games, and Novotna's power and energy were threatening to produce an upset. But with victory in her grasp, Novotna's inexperience suddenly showed. She served a succession of double faults, and Graf recovered to win 7-6, 1-6, 6-4. For the 24-year-old Novotna it was too much: she was in tears as she collected the runner's-up trophy from the Duchess of Kent.

Graf later criticised her own game and praised her opponent's. 'It was disappointing for me in a way because she played so well and she didn't make it,' said Miss Graf. She said her serve was not as strong as usual, adding: 'It disturbed me that I didn't play good tennis the whole match through.' Her opponent had been the toughest she had met for some time. 'She comes in on pretty much everything and she's got a very good first serve.'

Graf said she was unprepared to celebrate her victory - 'I don't even have a dress for tomorrow night.'

Novotna described how she was comforted by the Duchess of Kent, who told her: 'Jana, I believe that you will do it. I know that you will do it, don't worry.'

In the third Test at Trent Bridge, England's cricketers dismissed Australia for 373 to trail them after the first innings by 52 runs. Martin McCague, England's Australian-reared fast bowler making his Test debut, ended with four wickets.

In New Zealand, the British Lions rugby tourists were defeated 30-13 by the All Blacks to loose the Test series 2-1. The New Zealanders scored three tries to one, and their fly-half, Grant Fox, kicked 15 points. The Lions' captain, Gavin Hastings, converted the try and kicked two penalties.

Sport, pages 24-30

(Photograph omitted)