Gabriela Sabatini is playing better than anybody else these days, but she refuses to be drawn into a debate over who's No. 1 in women's tennis.
Monica Seles is No. 1, Steffi Graf is No. 2 and Sabatini will move up to No. 3 when the computer rankings are released by the Women's Tennis Association today."We're all very close. We're all playing well," said Sabatini, who battled from behind in both sets Sunday to beat Graf and win the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Fla.
"I think I'm on the right way," she added. "I have more confidence in my game. I feel I'm getting closer (to the top)."
The 20-year-old Argentine has made the final of her last five tournaments, winning four of them. She's 4-0 against Graf in 1991 and has won six of their last eight meetings in the hottest rivalry on the tour.
"I've beaten her before, so I knew I could do it again," Sabatini said of her 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) clay court victory. "It's great to be feeling this confident and playing the way I am."
Sabatini assured herself of moving up to No. 3 in the world rankings by reaching the final. She improved her record to 29-2 this year and has won 25 of 26 matches since losing to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the Australian Open.
The only setback during that stretch was a loss to Seles in the final of the International Players Championships.
Graf took command in both sets, only to falter before the pressure tactics of Sabatini. The German right-hander led 5-3 before Sabatini reeled off four consecutive games to capture the opening set. Then, Graf lost a 5-2 advantage in the second set when Sabatini again ripped off four straight games to take control of the 2 hour, 10-minute match.Top-seeded Stefan Edberg routed second-seeded Ivan Lendl 6-1, 7-5, 6-0 in the final of the Japan Open on Sunday in Tokyo. Edberg earned $137,000 for his fourth Japan Open title and improved his career record against Lendl to 10-12.