Stan Smith and Bob Lutz have played a lot of tennis together, much of it on the same side of the net. Although not necessarily as partners, they have played in a combined total of 167 doubles finals since open tennis began in 1968.

Last night, they were on opposite sides of the net, meeting in the singles final of the Prudential-Bache Grand Champions tournament before a sellout crowd of 5,500 at Rock Creek Tennis Stadium. In a match that almost seemed scripted for maximum excitement, Lutz defeated his longtime partner, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Jaime Fillol and Tim Gullikson defeated Harold Solomon and Ross Gase, 6-3, 7-5, for the doubles title.

Trailing, 4-2, in the third set, Smith broke Lutz and then held serve in a dramatic, 12-point game that was the longest of the match. Then, after Lutz held serve and went ahead, 0-40, in the next game, Smith saved four match points before netting a short volley and hitting an overhead wide that ended the match.

"When you get to the finals of one of these events," Lutz said, "you want to win. But obviously, it doesn't look as good if one guy plays a lot better than the other or one of the guys gets hurt and can't finish.

"Still, after I won the first set I wanted to get off to a good start in the second set and I didn't. Then, when I got to 5-4 in the third, I just wanted to get it over with. After it was 0-40 and I didn't get any of those match points, I definitely wasn't thinking about {how it looked}. I just wanted to win."

Lutz and Smith said, however, that even though they wanted to win, the opportunity to play with and against each other was just as important.

"We get together for a few corporate events," said Smith, who lives in Hilton Head, S.C. "But other than that, it's primarily these events that bring us together."

"It's always fun to get together with the boys," said Lutz, who lives in San Clemente, Calif. "We really don't see that much of each other between January and June, but there are a few events before Wimbledon and then we see a lot of each other during the summer. Unfortunately, we play in a lot of places where the climate either gets you in shape or turns it into survival of the fittest.

"I didn't enjoy playing Saturday afternoon at all," said Lutz, who had to retire from his doubles match with Smith that afternoon because of heat exhaustion that eventually landed him in the hospital. "After what I went through that night, to be in the final, much less to win, was the farthest thing from my mind. I never could beat that Washington heat."

Smith and Lutz, however, could -- and did -- beat just about anything else. They beat hostile foreign crowds as U.S. Davis Cup stars in the late 1960s and early '70s. They beat surface changes at the U.S. Open, winning the doubles championship four times on four surfaces. They also, until late in their careers, beat tennis' trend toward almost exclusive use of the serve-and-volley game. At Wimbledon, they made it to the doubles final in 1980 and '81 only to lose to Peter McNamara-Paul McNamee and Peter Fleming-John McEnroe, respectively.

"We've always had fun winning," Lutz said, "and when we play together, we win more than we lose."