Tennis: Novacek eases to third title

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KAREL NOVACEK won the Dutch Open for the third time with a straight-sets victory over Richard Fromberg yesterday. Although Fromberg fought hard, Novacek was never really stretched as he won 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 in just over two hours.

Novacek, ranked 76 in the world before the match and without a title in 18 months, never dropped his serve, although each point was hard- fought. On the few occasions when Novacek's service was threatened, he powered his way to safety, serving 13 aces against eight from Fromberg.

'I feel I am playing really well again. It has taken some time but it feels great to win in Hilversum,' Novacek said. 'Maybe I should apply for Dutch citizenship.' The Czech had previously won at Hilversum in 1989 and 1992.

The first set went with service until the 11th game, when Novacek's superior ground- strokes and searing returns secured him the match's first break of serve.

He swiftly broke Fromberg again in the third game of the second set and contained the Australian's assault on his own service to take the set in under 40 minutes. Fromberg fought to a third-set tie-break but a lapse of concentration cost him two double-faults.

In Austria, Anke Huber, the No 1 seed, brushed aside Juith Weisner 6-3, 6-3 to win the Styria Open. Huber cruised to victory in just under 80 minutes as both players struggled against temperatures nearing 40C.

Although Wiesner staved off three set points at 2-5 and broke Huber's serve, she lost her own service game and the first set. Wiesner was weak at the start of the second set, when Huber took a 4-0 lead. But she clawed back three games before again dropping serve and losing the match.