Tennis: Graf inspires Germany

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The Independent Online
STEFFI GRAF, the Wimbledon champion, beat Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-4, 6-2 to give Germany a second Federation Cup success in Frankfurt yesterday.

Graf, the world No 2 who was in the German team when they last won in 1987, proved to be the key player of the tournament. She did not drop a set in her four singles matches and her victory over Sanchez Vicario gained her a psychological advantage with the players' Olympic rivalry about to start.

Graf's win took her career record against the Spaniard to

15-2. Sanchez Vicario, one of the most accomplished clay-court players, dropped her first service game to fall behind, 2-0. However, she immediately broke back to level the score, but Graf gained another break to go up 5-3 and then serve out the set. The second set went with serve until the sixth game, when Graf broke for a 4-2 lead, which virtually clinched the contest.

Anke Huber also played her part in relieving the holders of their title, winning all her matches including the first rubber against Conchita Martinez,

6-3, 6-7, 6-1, in two hours and 19 minutes. Martinez is ranked eighth in the world, two places above the German.

In the 'dead' doubles rubber, Sanchez Vicario and Martinez beat Huber and Barbara Rittner 6-1, 6-2.

FEDERATION CUP (Frankfurt) Semi-finals: Germany bt United States 2-1; Spain bt Australia 3-0. Final: Germany 2 Spain 1 (A Huber bt C Martinez 6-3 6-7 6-1; S Graf bt A Sanchez Vicario 6-4 6-2; Huber and B Rittner lost to Sanchez Vicario and Martinez 6-1 6-2).

Andrei Medvedev, an unseeded teenager from the Commonwealth of Independent States, earned his biggest pay day by winning the Stuttgart Open clay-court tournament yesterday. The 17-year-old beat the South African, Wayne Ferreira, seeded seventh, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7, 2-6, 6-1 in two hours 47 minutes to pick up a pounds 70,000 cheque. Medvedev, from Kiev, beat the top seed, Stefan Edberg, in the quarter-final.