Gabriela Sabatini found Japan more enjoyable than Australia.
Having lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Sabatini swept through a strong field and won the Pan Pacific Open yesterday in Tokyo with a three-set victory over Martina Navratilova.
Sabatini, who beat top-ranked Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals and fifth-ranked Mary Joe Fernandez in the semifinals, defeated Navratilova, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, to earn the $70,000 first prize.
"The whole week was very good," fourth-ranked Sabatini said. "It's great to start the year with this win. . . . I was very eager to win a tournament."
Navratilova, back after missing three months because of surgery on both knees, breezed through the first five games as Sabatini struggled to adjust to the artificial surface.
Sabatini, who had seven double faults, began the second set with an ace and won the next three games with strong passing shots and well-placed returns.
Though Navratilova, ranked third, broke Sabatini in the third set's first game, she was broken in the sixth and again in the eighth after leading 40-0.
Elizabeth Smylie and Kathy Jordan came back to defeat Australian Open winners Fernandez and Robin White, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, for the doubles title.
Boris Becker rallied and Michael Stich recovered, rescuing Germany for a 3-2 victory over Italy in the first round of World Group competition in Dorimund, Germany.
Becker beat Omar Camporese, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3, giving Germany a 2-2 tie in the best-of-five match. Stich then defeated Paolo Cane, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (1-7), 7-5, 6-1, to settle matters.
Germany, playing for the first time since reunification, faces Argentina in the next round.
Second-seeded Australia, meanwhile, completed a 5-0 sweep of Belgium in a first-round match. Richard Fromberg and Wally Masur completed Australia's triumph with singles victories in Perth. Fromberg, the top-seeded Australian, beat Eduardo Masso, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; Masur beat Filip Dewulf, 6-1, 6-2. Both matches were reduced to three sets since Australia, which next plays Israel or France, had clinched the match the day before.
"We are ready to play any team anywhere on any surface," Australian Captain Neil Fraser said.
Two World Group matches -- United States at Mexico and Israel at France -- were postponed because of the fear of terrorism stemming from the Persian Gulf War and have been tentatively rescheduled for March 29-31. Six zonal matches were postponed because of the war: Bahrain-Bangladesh, Sri Lanka-Syria, Singapore-Kuwait and Malaysia-Saudi Arabia in the Asia-Oceania group, and Egypt-Senegal and Algeria-Ivory Coast in the African Zone.
Yugoslavia completed a 4-1 victory over Sweden 4-1 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, with Goran Ivanisevic beating Stefan Edberg, 6-4, 6-2, in the final match after Yugoslavia had secured victory Saturday. Magnus Gustafsson earned Sweden's only point by defeating Goran Prpic, 6-2, 6-3.
Yugoslavia next plays Czechoslovakia, which completed a 4-1 victory over Austria in Prague. Milan Srejber beat Alex Antonitsch, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (6-3). Argentina won as well, also by 4-1, over host New Zealand, when Javier Frana beat Brett Steven, 6-3, 6-3.
In its first World Group appearance, Canada lost to Spain, 4-1, in La Manga, Spain. Andrew Sznajder provided Canada's only win, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 over Emilio Sanchez.