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Korda beats Krajicek to win Eurocard Open in Stuttgart

October 26, 1997

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) _ Petr Korda returned to the Top 10 for the first time in more than four years when he beat Richard Krajicek in straight sets Sunday to win the Eurocard Open.

Korda, whose career has been plagued by injuries, won 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, 6-4 over the 1996 Wimbledon champion to post his first victory on the tour since January 1996.

The victory, the eighth of his career, was worth $350,000 and vaulted Korda nine places in the rankings, to No. 8.

``That’s what I was working for, that’s what I was living for,″ the 29-year-old Czech said of the Top 10, where he was ranked before injuries took their toll.

``What I do in tennis in the future is just a bonus,″ said Korda, who celebrated by executing a triple scissors kick.

``One for my wife, one for my daughter and one for myself,″ he said.

In 1992, after reaching the French Open final, Korda was ranked No. 5 in the world. The last time he was in the Top 10 was in August 1993, when he was No. 9.

``It was a long, long time ago,″ Korda said. ``I’ve been working very hard for this dream and I am very pleased and proud of myself.″

Korda, who improved his career record against Krajicek to 5-2, came into the tournament ranked No. 17 and seeded 15th.

The Dutchman, seeded 16th, was outclassed in the final and never even held a break point against the stylish, left-handed Korda.

``I have trouble with left-handed players. He can hit winners from anywhere, he comes up with some big shots and he’s improved his serve a lot,″ Krajicek said.

With both players winning their service games with ease on the fast carpet surface, the first set went quickly to a tiebreaker. Korda won it when Krajicek put a simple volley into the net.

The big-serving Dutchman made another volley error to drop his serve in the opening game of the second set.

``Those three shots changed the match. First I missed a return, then a backhand volley and then a forehand volley,″ Krajicek said.

Korda, playing superb tennis, gained another break with a sizzling return winner. He served out the set, hitting a spectacular forehand passing shot on set point.

The third set stayed on serve until Korda hit another of his return winners to take a 3-2 lead and go a break up. He ended the match after one hour, 33 minutes with a backhand passing shot.

``After I won the first set, I felt I was on a roll,″ Korda said.

Krajicek picked up $185,000 and moved up four places in the rankings to No. 11. His victims in the tournament included top-ranked Pete Sampras and Boris Becker.

``It’s disappointing not to finish off the week with a win after beating Boris and Pete,″ he said.

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