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MARTINEZ TAKES BAUSCH & LOMB; CONNORS WINS

Conchita Martinez capitalized on an overpowering first set to win her second straight tournament, routing Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 6-4 Sunday in the finals of the Bausch & Lomb championship.

Martinez, who a week ago won the Family Circle Magazine Cup at Hilton Head Island, S.C., sent the Argentine star to her third consecutive loss in the Bausch & Lomb finals.Martinez won in 74 minutes, with the first set taking but 25 minutes.

"It was important to get off to a fast start, especially with the crowd behind her," said Martinez, the top seed who is ranked No. 4 in the world. "I don't mind the fans cheering for her, but it does bother me some when they cheer my mistakes."

Sabatini, ranked seventh in the world, appeared ready to take the second set when she broke the Spaniard in the eighth game to make it 4-4. But Martinez broke the following game and held serve to win the match after Sabatini's backhand lob landed in the net.

"I played a couple games too passive in that second set and she took advantage of that," said Martinez, who has beaten Sabatini three times in a row. "After she won my serve at love, I tried to get more aggressive and challenge her more, especially her backhand."

The last two years Sabatini lost to another Spaniard, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, in the finals of this event. Sabatini won the title in 1989, 1991 and 1992.

"That first set went really fast, I just never got into it," Sabatini said. "I played better in the second set and was able to move her around more and score points. Then I lost my concentration at the end and she took those last two games and the match."

Sabatini said Martinez could well become the world's premier female player.

"She has the game and the mental toughness to get to No. 1," Sabatini said. "If she stays consistent and continues to play like she has, she could move into the top spot."

The second-seeded team of Amanda Coetzer of South Africa and Ines Gorrochategui of Argentina won the doubles championship with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over top-seeded Nicole Arendt of Princeton, N.J., and Manon Bollegraf of the Netherlands.

At Boca Raton, Fla., Jimmy Connors beat Johan Kriek 7-5, 6-3 Sunday to win the $150,000 Corel Champions men's over-35 tournament.

Kriek broke early for a 2-1 lead, but Connors won the next four games and held on to take the first set.

Connors, 42, then cruised through the second set to win the $40,000 first prize. Connors' strong serve was his main weapon.

Jose-Luis Clerc and Eddie Dibbs beat Roscoe Tanner and Peter Fleming 6-1, 6-2 to capture the doubles championship.

Corel Champions was 1995's first event of the Champions Tour.

At Lisbon, Portugal, Thomas Muster cashed in on his physical resistance and circuit experience to defeat Alberto Costa 6-4, 6-2 in the final Sunday of the $575,000 Estoril Open.

Despite a queasy stomach, the 27-year-old Muster was able to show consistent play for 1 hour, 20 minutes under a blazing sun to win the $77,000 first prize.

"I think I should have played better. I had an upset stomach," Muster said. "But I'm very happy."

The Austrian, ranked 17th by the ATP Tour, collected his 25th career title and second this year. He won at Mexico City in early March.

Muster, seeded third, also earned his 19th clay-court title, the most won by a player since the new Tour circuit began in 1990.

Costa, a 19-year-old Spaniard ranked 58th in the ATP and European Junior Champion in 1993, fared well against Muster early in the match on the center court of the National Stadium.

At Johannesburg, South Africa, Martin Sinner of Germany overpowered Frenchman Guillaume Raoux 6-1, 6-4 Sunday to win the financially troubled South African Open.

Only a last-minute decision by the ATP Tour to provide the prize money permitted Sinner to collect all of the $43,000 top prize.

Sponsors failed to raise the $333,000 for the tournament, and negotiations continued Sunday on whether the ATP would sell the tournament away from South Africa.