Martina Navratilova needed just 62 minutes yesterday to vanquish Larisa Savchenko of Russia, 6-1, 6-2, and capture the $250,000 Virginia Slims of California tennis tournament in Oakland.
The victory followed Navratilova's triumph last week in Dallas and was worth $50,000 to the world's No. 2 ranked woman player. She is the No. 1 seed as the Virginia Slims tour moves to the George Mason Patriot Center this week.
Savchenko, 21, ranked 24th in the world, had vaulted to the final with upset victories over seventh-seeded Mary Joe Fernandez, third-seeded Hana Mandlikova and second-seeded Gabriela Sabatini. Navratilova, however, beat her for the third time in as many meetings.
"My game plan was to put a lot of pressure on her and force the action," Navratilova said. "She was playing back, as she did against Sabatini, and I couldn't let that happen to me. I had to get the first serve in."
"Most of the time I played the ball right, but Martina played it even better," said Savchenko. "She played to a higher level."
Andre Agassi relied on his powerful ground strokes to dispose of Sweden's Mikael Pernfors, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5, in the final of the $415,000 championship at The Racquet Club of Memphis.
Agassi, 17, the tournament's sixth seed, outplayed No. 9 Pernfors from the base line for the bulk of the 2-hour 13-minute match to become the youngest player to win the title since the tournament went to an open format in 1968.
"The match was really closer than the score shows," said Agassi, who won $53,550 while leaving Pernfors with the second-place check of $26,775.
Both players had problems holding serve in the match, especially in the third set when Agassi broke through four times and Pernfors three.
Yannick Noah of France, seeded fifth, made an easy $74,500 when Jimmy Connors was forced to withdraw from the final of the indoor tournament in Milan with a torn back muscle.
The injury prevented Connors, 35, the tournament's second seed, from trying to win his 106th Grand Prix title.
The first set was tied, 4-4, 30-all, when Connors quit.
The crowd of 7,500 at Palatrussardi Stadium whistled derisively when Connors left the court in obvious pain, but he turned the whistles into cheers and sustained applause when he returned to center court, took the microphone and told the crowd, "I owe you one. This means I have to play for another year and come back to Milan."