Tennis: Germany cruise into final

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

MICHAEL STICH served 31 aces yesterday to beat Guy Forget, of France, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6, and earn the No 1 seeds, Germany, a place against Spain in the final of the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament in Perth, Australia.

Stich dominated the first set and overpowered Forget 6-2, serving seven consecutive aces in his final two service games. 'It would have been tough for me to have served any better,' he said.

However, Forget fought back, to take the second set 7-1 in the tie-break. In the deciding set, Forget led 6-5 before Stich recovered and won the tie-break 7-2.

Earlier, Steffi Graf had won her singles against Nathalie Tauziat

6-3, 6-4 in a match which she dominated with her groundstrokes. She took the first set in only 24 minutes, and though Tauziat responded well in the second set, Graf never relaxed her grip. The German, who has never been beaten by Tauziat, clinched the match on her own serve on a second match point with a top-spin cross-court backhand drive.

As Stich's victory had given them an unbeatable 2-0 lead, Graf retired from the mixed doubles, forfeiting the last rubber to the French after slightly twisting her ankle when the German pair were leading 4-2. 'I twisted it a little bit to the side, and I felt a little bit of pain,' Graf, who was reluctant to risk aggravating the ankle before today's final, said.

Spain's Emilio Sanchez and younger sister Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, earned their place in the final with a 2-1 win against the Czech Republic on Wednesday.