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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Becker Plows Past Top 3 to Gain Title

STOCKHOLM -- It's easy to understand why Boris Becker loves playing tennis in the Swedish capital.

He had a dream weekend, beating the top three players in the world and losing only one set in the process.

"I don't think I've ever done that, beating the best three players in a row over three days," Becker said. "It's something I don't completely understand at this moment."

The German's 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) triumph over second-ranked Goran Ivanisevic in Sunday's final on the Globe Arena's fast carpet gave him four titles in Stockholm, tying John McEnroe's record (1978, 1979, 1984, 1985).

Becker, 26, won his first title here in 1988 at the Royal Tennis Hall and also won at the Globe in 1990 and 1991.

No other player can boast a better match record (24-3) in Stockholm than the German, who won straight-set matches over fellow German and third-ranked Michael Stich in the quarterfinals and top-ranked Pete Sampras in the semis.

"It must be something in the air in Stockholm that makes me play great," said Becker.

The fast surface also suits Becker's aggressive serve-and-volley style to perfection. He fired 22 aces past the Croatian in the final, although Ivanisevic held his own with 21.

Only 5,018 fans saw Sunday's final, bringing the total to 56,024 for the week, the lowest since 1989.

"Unfortunately, there were not as many fans today as I hoped for," Becker said. "But they support me all the time even if I play Swedes."

Becker moved up to third in the new rankings Monday. But he is not thinking about the No. 1 ranking, a position he held for three months in 1991.

"That is not on my mind now," he said. "I want to keep on doing what I love. If I have weeks like that it shows I'm doing the right work."

Becker got back in Sunday's final late in the second set, breaking Ivanisevic's serve and winning 6-4 when the Croatian double-faulted.

"It was terrible out there for me in the first set and a half," Becker said. "He served incredibly. But he had one bad shot, the double-fault on set point."

And Becker also started serving better under pressure. Behind 1-2 and 0-40 in the final set, he faced triple break point. He responded with three straight aces, then hit a sharp forehand volley to hold his serve.

The final set went with service all the way. Becker won the tie break 7-4 after taking a quick 4-0 lead.

Becker collected $244,000 for his fourth ATP singles title of the year. He also received 235 ATP Tour points and is now assured of a berth in next month's ATP World Championship in Frankfurt. The other players who have qualified for the elite eight are Sampras, Ivanisevic and Sergi Bruguera.

Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde of Australia won their third straight Stockholm Open doubles title, prevailing 6-3, 6-4 over the Swedish Davis Cup duo of Jan Apell and Jonas Bjorkman. The winners shared $97,600.

Ivanisevic, Sampras and Stich will all have their chances at revenge against Becker in the Paris Open. The $2.25 million tournament featuring nine of the top 10 players in the world began Monday, with the 16 seeds getting a first-round bye in the 48-man field.


Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic didn't let a cold get her down, rolling over Croatia's Iva Majoli 6-2, 6-4 for the title at the $400,000 Nokia Grand Prix tennis tournament in Essen, Germany.

The world's No. 4 player walked away with the victory Sunday after her second match point, driving the ball off to the left and out of the reach of Majoli, 17.

Novotna, 26, is having a good year. She also won at Brighton and Leipzig.

"I trained very hard during the year. And now it's paid off. I'm in top form again," Novotna said after her win.

On Friday, Martina Hingis' bid to reach the first semifinal of her young professional tennis career ended in a three-set loss to Karina Habsudova, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. Habsudova lost to Novotna in Saturday's semifinals, 6-1, 7-5.