When Boris Becker had a chance to move closer to the top spot in men's tennis, he went to his power.
The reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion overpowered top-ranked Ivan Lendl 6-2, 6-2 Sunday to capture the Eurocard Championship in Stuttgart, West Germany."Breaking him in the first game of the match was very important," Becker said. "I knew the key was to serve very well and take the ball early and not to rally too much. I played the perfect match."
It was the first time the world's top two players had met since the U.S. Open in September. Becker won there, also.
Lendl captured this year's first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, in January. He had won 21 consecutive matches and was seeking his fourth straight tournament title Sunday when he ran into Becker.
The West German needed just 73 minutes for his fifth straight victory over Lendl, who got into trouble immediately when he dropped his serve to begin the match. With Lendl attempting, uncharacteristically, to charge the net on almost every shot, he became an easy target for Becker.
"He was serving and volleying many times. I don't understand why he did it," Becker said. "But it felt very good to have won like that.
Becker broke Lendl's serve for the second time to lead 5-2, then wrapped up the first set in just 32 minutes, holding his serve at 15.
"I had to come into the net a lot because the court is so quick," Lendl said. "If I didn't come in, then he would have done it."
Becker was down two break points in the second game of the second set, but two easy Lendl errors gave him the chance to fight back. He then broke Lendl's serve again in the third game before serving three successive aces to hold serve for a 3-1 lead.
That appeared to be the end for Lendl, who allowed Becker to score his easiest win over the Czechoslovak in 14 attempts.
At Philadelphia, Pete Sampras scored his first career victory in the city where he played in his first professional tournament, mixing well-placed serves and accurate volleys to beat Andres Gomez 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 Sunday for the U.S. Pro Indoor championship.
Sampras broke Gomez's service in the first and seventh games of the third set, then finished the job in the eighth with an angled volley that Gomez barely reached and hit out. He reached match point with a serve that Gomez cross-courted off the net cord and over the sideline.
And at Washington, Martina Navratilova won the Virginia Slims of Washington Sunday, improving her record against Zina Garrison to 27-1 with a methodical 6-1, 6-0 victory.
Navratilova, the No. 2 ranked player in the world, is 9-0 this year after winning last week's Virginia Slims of Chicago. She has yet to lose a set in 1990.
Navratilova's serve-and-volley tactics frustrated Garrison throughout the 50-minute match. Garrison continually hit the ball wide, deep, or into the net in a futile effort to pass the charging Navratilova.