PHILADELPHIA, FEB. 17 -- It was not a match of wits or minds. Instead, Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras danced across the net from each other for 3 hours 20 minutes in a splendid choreography of power tennis.

In the end, top-seeded Lendl defeated second-seeded and defending champion Sampras, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, to win the U.S. Pro Indoor title at The Spectrum. Lendl earned $135,000, Sampras $72,600.

"I thought I played well, but he played better," said Sampras, whose first singles title as a professional came here last year. "I accept defeat."

For Lendl, the win was partial revenge for a five-set loss to Sampras in the U.S. Open quarterfinals in September. Sampras went on, at 19, to become the youngest male U.S. Open champion. "Sometimes you get an opportunity {for a rematch}, right away," Lendl said. "When you get it you have to grab it."

The match was also a reminder that a younger generation of tennis upstarts has not fully taken over. Lendl, nearing his 31st birthday, is third in the world, and has designs on regaining the No. 1 spot he held from 1985 until 1988 and again for part of 1989.

To accomplish that he will have to fend off the steady advance of players such as Sampras, as well as topple top-ranked Stefan Edberg, 25, and second-ranked Boris Becker, 23. "It would be nice," Lendl mused. "It wouldn't bother me too much."

In contrast to the frayed emotions on display in the semifinals, bloodless intensity was the hallmark today. There was only one mild dispute over a line call, and Sampras conceded an ace to Lendl when a linesman called the ball out.

"I enjoy {playing Sampras} because it's no nonsense," Lendl said. "You just keep playing and slug it out and the best man wins." It was a good early season showing for Sampras and Lendl, both power players. At moments the match was a servefest; at other times, a baseline war.

Lendl, whose serve has gotten less attention than Sampras's, dissected the court with 23 aces. Sampras, whose top serve was clocked at 122 mph, had 14.

Neither player gave the other many opportunities to exploit. In the first set, Sampras held off three break points with booming serves. It wasn't until Lendl served at 5-6 that Sampras got a break point of his own. He won the set when Lendl's passing shot just missed the baseline.

Sampras jumped to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but continually had problems with his backhand, which he later attributed to "playing too loose." Lendl also raised his game. "He ripped some passing shots," Sampras said, adding that Lendl played better today than in the Open. Taking advantage of Sampras's lapse, Lendl surged back to 5-4, and with two set points, he nailed an ace to even the match.

The opening point of the third set was a barometer of the high caliber of play. Lendl scampered around the baseline to fend off two overheads and several volleys before Sampras finally won the point.

But Sampras became distracted by a baby crying in the crowd of 15,724 and was broken in the seventh game, the only break of the set, to trail, 2-1.

In the fourth set Lendl, whose bedrock is a baseline game, ventured in to the net now and then to pressure Sampras on his ground strokes. But that tactic proved ineffective, with Sampras taking the set after breaking at 2-3.

Sampras had his best chance to take control of the match with three break points in the first game of the final set. But again, the veteran lifted his game, hitting a flurry of volleys to save the game.

Lendl took the lead for good by breaking Sampras in the fourth game. His finale was a barrage of aces to win the last three points of the match. Asked if this signaled the beginning of a long rivalry, Lendl replied: "I'll be 31 next month and Pete is 19 or 20, so it's hard to have a long rivalry unless I hang around for 15 years or so.

"But I'm sure we'll have many more matches before I call it quits."

Virginia Slims of Chicago:

Top-seeded Martina Navratilova, 34, won this title for the 11th time in 14 years, beating Zina Garrison, 6-1, 6-2. The $70,000 first prize boosted Navratilova's career winnings to $16.78 million. Fifth-seeded Garrison got $35,000.

Navratilova improved to 30-1 against Garrison, whose only win was in the 1988 U.S. Open quarterfinals. They last met in the 1990 Wimbledon final. "I was nervous because I haven't played for a while and haven't won in a long time," said Navratilova, who's coming off knee surgery. "If I ever need a win, I'll create a tournament in Chicago."

Navratilova broke Garrison in the first game. With strong net play she added breaks in the fifth and seventh games. In the final set, Garrison lost service in the fourth game, but immediately broke back, cutting her deficit to 3-2. Navratilova broke and held for 5-2. A drop shot winner in the eighth game gave her the match.

Donnay Indoor:

Guy Forget, playing attacking tennis and relying on his booming serve, beat Andrei Cherkasov, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), in the $600,000 Brussels tournament.


Top-seeded Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere beat Petra Langrova, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), in Linz, Austria. A service break for 5-4 gave Maleeva-Fragniere the first set. After trading breaks in the second, they held to 4-4. Langrova broke for 5-4, but lost her next serve and fell in the tiebreaker.