Ivan Lendl ended Emilio Sanchez's upset run today when he scored a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory in the final of the $435,000 Italian Open.
The unseeded Spaniard, who played Lendl for the first time in his three-year career, took a reputation as a giant-killer into the two-hour 52-minute match at the Foro Italico Center Court.
Sanchez, 20, surprised third-seeded Boris Becker and second-seeded Mats Wilander the two previous days before he ran into Lendl, the world's top-ranked player.
"He won the second set on emotion," said Lendl, who earned $56,000 for the championship. "It was exciting for him to come back. But three or four sets of running around after backhands in this [90-degree] heat is almost impossible."
Lendl said Sanchez's unorthodox style of trying to hit most shots off the forehand bothered him at first. But he soon found his rhythm in front of a capacity crowd of 7,500.
"Lendl has more experience than me," Sanchez said. "But if I keep playing like this, I think I can achieve some more good results."
Sanchez, ranked 34th, played a rugged first set. He took a 3-0 lead with a break of Lendl in the second game.
Lendl won the next three games to draw even and took the first set, 7-5, with the help of drop shots.
Sanchez came back to take the second set, 6-4, but Lendl romped to a 6-1 third-set victory and continued his surge through the fourth set, which he also won, 6-1.