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Navratilova coasts into title match

Top-seeded Martina Navratilova won her semifinal match in the Eastbourne grass-court tournament Friday and will try for her 164th career title against a player who has never been to a final.

Navratilova, a 10-time titlist at Eastbourne, swept to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over fellow American Patty Fendick.

The nine-time Wimbledon champion will play Miriam Oremans for the Volkswagen Cup today. Oremans upset defending champion Lori McNeil 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-3).

McNeil was playing her second match of the day, having defeated Nathalie Tauziat 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the rain-plagued tournament.

"It was pretty miserable out there," Navratilova said. "I can't believe so many people stayed and watched in the cold. It wouldn't happen anywhere else. Perhaps they are used to this kind of weather."

Fendick, seeded 14th, held serve to open the match before Navratilova rolled off eight consecutive games to take a 6-1, 2-0 lead.

Navratilova lost her serve in the third game but it was only a temporary lapse.

With Fendick making a succession of errors, Navratilova captured the next three games but then at 5-1 failed on her first match point and then lost her serve.

But Navratilova made no mistake two games later, hitting a forehand winner on match point to end with a love game.

"Every single shot was an adventure, but I thought I played really well," Navratilova said.

Oremans kept the pressure on the ninth-seeded McNeil by charging the net at every opportunity, including on her second serve. It was a tactic that gave her the edge in the tiebreakers.

"I knew that I had to attack her to win," said Oremans, who ousted fourth-seeded Helena Sukova in the quarterfinals.

The final will be her first meeting with Navratilova and her first final on the women's tour.

"It has always been my dream to play Navratilova on grass," Oremans said. "It would have been nice if this was Wimbledon though."

Elsewhere

Manchester Open: Wally Masur and Jason Stoltenberg won their semifinal matches in Manchester, England, to set up an all-Australian final for the grass-court tournament. Masur, the No.

4 seed, dispatched second-seeded Henrik Holm of Sweden 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), and Stoltenberg beat Stephane Simian of France 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 6-3. The match featured the rare sight of two players wearing spectacles on the court. Simian knocked out one of his lenses when he deflected the ball into his face during the seventh game of the second set. He calmly picked the glass off the court and refitted it before carrying on. Masur and Stoltenberg have met three times, and the 23-year-old Stoltenberg is still looking for his first victory over Masur. "There's always a first time," Stoltenberg said.

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