Tennis: Sanchez brings Graf run to an end

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The Independent Online
STEFFI GRAF, the world No 1, was beaten for the first time since last November when in Hamburg yesterday she lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the final of the Citizen's Cup, a tournament overshadowed by death threats and last year's stabbing of Monica Seles.

The Spaniard recovered from a set down to win 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 to end Graf's 36-match winning streak. 'That was not bad. Because today is Mother's Day in Spain, I dedicate my victory to my mother Marisa,' said Sanchez Vicario, who slumped to the court in delight after the three-hour marathon.

This was Graf's 19th consecutive WTA Tour final stretching back to March, 1993, at Delray Beach, Florida, during which time she had one defeat, to Spain's Conchita Martinez in Philadelphia last November.

The match was littered with errors, typified by the fourth game of the second set which stretched to 30 points, contained 12 deuces and six break points before Sanchez Vicario held serve with her eighth game point.

After losing one tie-break 7-3, Graf had another chance to win at 5-4 in the final set but the Spaniard came off the baseline to scramble back to 5-5.

The German broke back again to go 6-5 up but Sanchez Vicario refused to wilt and forced another shoot-out which she won 8-6.

Sergi Bruguera, could not emulate his Spanish compatriot, losing 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Austria's Thomas Muster in the final of the Madrid Open. Muster's win gave him the record of 16 clay court victories since the beginning of the ATP Tour in 1990. Bruguera, the French Open champion, is second with 10.

Michael Stich, of Germany, won the 14th title of his career with a 6-2 2-6, 6-3 win over Petr Korda, of the Czech Republic, in the final of the Bavarian Open yesterday.