Torben Ulrich lost a second-set tie breaker but defeated former Australian Davis Cup star Neale Fraser, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1, to win the Grand Masters championship of the Washington Star International tournament last night.
The 50-year-old Ulrich broke Fraser's serve to take a 1-0 lead in the first set and broke again in the ninth game.
The pony-tailed, bearded Ulrich held each of his service games to win the first set as the two lefties traded strokes on the Rock Creek Stadium court.
Ulrich was making quick work of the second set as well, leading, 5-2, before Fraser, Wimbledon singles champion in 1960, began to strain Ulrich's legs by alternating hitting deep and drop shots.
"Neale was always famous for getting behind in the match and serving well when he's down," Ulrich said. "Then he starts hitting hard and firm volleys that seem to be always near the line."
It was Fraser's big serve that put him back in the match. He blasted two aces and a service winner to cut Ulrich's second-set lead to 5-4. Then for the first time in he match, Frazer began rushing to the net after returning Ulrich's second serve. He volleyed into the tie breaker.
Ulrich led, 4-2, in the tie breaker as Fraser double faulted for the first time in the match. But Fraser got his game together in time to take a 5-4 lead.
Fraser served an volleyed his way to 8-8 in the 12-point tie breaker, and as Ulrich hit a deep first serve, his racket slipped out of his gloved hand onto the court. Fraser simply punched the return over the net for a 9-8 lead.
Ulrich then banged a top-spin forehand into the top of the net, giving Fraser the tie breaker, 10-8, and the second set, 6-7.
"I just wanted to take him three sets," Ulrich said. "Neale is carrying around a little more weight than I am, so I wanted to see if he could hold on for a third set."
In the consolation singles match, 51-year-old Frank Sedgman defeated 49-year-old Rex Hartwig, 6-1, 6-1.
Jim Delaney of Potomac led eight qualifiers into a field of 32 players for Monday and Tuesday's opening round matches of the Washington Star International tennis tournament.
Delaney defeated Maurice Hunter of California, 6-3, 6-2, to move into a first-round match Tuesday against Bruce Manson of Farnsworth, Texas.
Other qualifiers: Tim Garcia over Ali Madani, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1; Jai Di Louie over Eric Fromm, 6-4, 6-1; Jay Lapidus over Larry Stefaniki, 6-4, 6-1; Jay Lapidus over Larry Stefaniki, 6-4, 6-2; Mike Grant over Juan Nunez, 6-4, 6-3; Warren Maher over Tim Mayotte, 7-5, 6-0; Robert Van't Hof over Gene Hamilton, 6-4, 6-0, Fritz Buehing over Bruce Nichols, 6-0, 6-3.