For Gabriela Sabatini, beating Chris Evert in the finals of a big tournament a few blocks from home was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
The top-seeded teen from Argentina, who lives on Key Biscayne, withstood an Evert rally for a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 victory in the women's finals of the International Players Championships."I'm more than happy," Sabatini said. "This is the best feeling you can have. I wanted to win this tournament very badly."
Sabatini, 18, earned $100,000 for her 10th tournament title, her first this year and her first championship in a two-week tournament. After winning the last nine points, Sabatini went to the stands and hugged her coach and parents.
Sabatini is 3-6 against Evert, but has won three of their last four matches.
"I know my game bothers her," Sabatini said. "I hit a high ball with a lot of topspin. With her two-hand backhand, it bothers her."
The match was filled with long rallies, usually Evert's specialty, but Sabatini won most of them. Her high-bounding forehand shots pushed Evert several steps behind the baseline.
"I felt like a yo-yo. She had me so far back," said Evert, the No. 2 seed. "I felt like I was working harder than she was."
Jakob Hlasek and Anders Jarryd won the men's doubles finals over Jim Grabb and Patrick McEnroe. Grabb retired with a strained right shoulder after Hlasek and Jarryd won the first set, 6-3.