Tennis: Moscow hat-trick for Kafelnikov

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YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV won his third consecutive Kremlin Cup beating Byron Black, of Zimbabwe, in straight sets in Moscow yesterday.

Kafelnikov, the top seed and ranked second in the world, earned his 20th career title with a 7-6, 6-4 win.

Black, the clear underdog, made an early break but Kafelnikov bounced back to level the first set 5-5 before clinching the tie-break 7-2.

In the seventh game of the second set Kafelnikov broke serve after Black, ranked 80th in the world, missed several golden opportunities to seize the lead.

In contrast Kafelnikov put in a precision performance to clinch the title. "It would have been my inexcusable sin if I'd missed the victory," he said.

Black added: "I was playing against Yevgeny for the third or fourth time here in Moscow. And I would like to play with him somewhere else because it's too tough to resist him with all those people behind him."

Thomas Enqvist beat Magnus Gustafsson 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in an all-Swedish final of the Stockholm Open yesterday.

Enqvist, ranked seventh in the world, start superbly, allowing Gustafsson only one of the first 13 points. Gustafsson slowly worked his way into the match but Enqvist made short work of the fightback, taking the first set 6-3.

The 25-year-old was unstoppable in the next two sets, earning two match points from a forehand winner to the corner and sending down an ace to end the encounter after 90 minutes.

The No 1 seed, Martina Hingis, and the No 2, Lindsay Davenport, were last night due to battle for the Advanta Championships after posting impressive semi-final victories in Philadelphia on Saturday. Hingis defeated France's Nathalie Tauziat 6-4, 6-2, while Davenport had a surprisingly easy time in beating Venus Williams 6-1 6-2.

The final will serve as preparation for next week's season-ending Chase Championships in New York. "It will be exciting to play Lindsay," Hingis said. "I haven't played her in such a long time. Either she hasn't made it to the finals or I haven't."

Hingis will be seeking her eighth title of 1999 in her 12th final of the year. Davenport will be playing her seventh final, having won five of the six she has contested.

Hingis and Davenport have only played each other once this year, in the final at Sydney in January won by Hingis in straight sets.