Ascendant Majoli overcomes challenge of Sanchez Vicario


Iva Majoli, of Croatia, beat the third seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-4, 6-1 to win the Pan Pacific Open women's indoor title in Tokyo. Majoli, 18, took only 72 minutes to add Sanchez Vicario's scalp to that of the top seed Monica Seles, who she beat in the quarter-finals.

The Croat, who reached the final by overcoming the Swiss teenager Martina Hingis, overpowered the Spaniard to improve her world ranking from seventh to fourth. "It was the biggest week in my life. I still cannot believe I beat top players here," Majoli said.

Sanchez Vicario, who outlasted her compatriot Conchita Martinez in the semi-finals, was on the defensive throughout the match and was often reduced to lunging at balls simply to keep them in play after Majoli kept stretching her to the corners of the court and then moved in to smash away weak returns. "I made more errors than usual in the match and I was a little bit slow, but I think she played very well today, served very well and returned very well," Sanchez Vicario said.

Andrei Olhovskiy followed up his semi-final defeat of Britain's Tim Henman to win the Shanghai Open by disposing of Mark Knowles, of the Bahamas, 7-6, 6-2 yesterday. Olhovskiy, who was seeded No 4 and is 130 in the world, put the unseeded Knowles under pressure with his attacking, all-court style.

It was Olhovskiy's second singles final victory. His first was in 1993 at Copenhagen and he finished runner-up at Kuala Lumpur in 1994.

The Australian Open champion Boris Becker has pulled out of Germany's first round Davis Cup World Group match with Switzerland next week because of a calf strain.

n Steffi Graf admitted yesterday that mistakes had been made in the management of her finances but refused to blame her 57-year-old father, jailed in Mannheim by investigators since early August as part of a tax evasion probe. Prosecutors have blocked several attempts by his lawyers to get him released, fearing he could alter evidence or flee the country.

Graf told a German newspaper she remained grateful that her father, Peter, had taken responsibility for her money to allow her to concentrate on tennis. "I am not going to write off my father or say he is guilty or anything like that," she said. "I will do everything to make sure he is as near me as possible and I'll help him whenever I can."

She has deposited about 20 million marks (pounds 9m) with prosecutors to cover any unpaid taxes.