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Pioline wins Tour final at 11th attempt


After losing 10 finals on the ATP Tour since 1992, Cedric Pioline finally won his first singles title yesterday with a 6-2, 7-6 victory over Kenneth Carlsen in the Copenhagen Open.

The Frenchman, seeded third in the indoor event, reached his first final in 1992 when he lost to Pete Sampras in Lyon. In 1993, when he finished the year ranked No 10 in the world, Pioline again lost to Sampras in the US Open final, his only Grand Slam final appearance.

"I can't believe it. I'm now a winner and I hope I can win more titles from now on," said Pioline, who dropped just one set - to Britain's Tim Henman in the semi-final - in five matches.

Steffi Graf, the joint world No 1, overcame searing heat and a below-par performance to defeat Spain's Conchita Martinez 7-6, 7-6 in the final of the State Farm Evert Cup in California.

Graf, the top seed playing in her first tournament since undergoing foot surgery in December, came from behind to win each tie-break 7-5 on Saturday.