BRIGHTON, England -- Steffi Graf of Germany defeated Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 7-5, 6-3, Sunday to win the $350,000 Midland Bank women's tennis tournament for the third consecutive year.
Graf needed only 68 minutes to win the Brighton title for a record fourth timeoverall and earn a winning check of $70,000.
'I love being here,' said the world's top-ranked player and the No. 1 seed here. 'The tournament is superb, I like walking around the shops and I've made a lot of new friends and fans this year.
'I'll be back every year as long as I play.'
The 21-year-old Graf has had numerous problems both on and off the court this year but produced some of her best tennis at Brighton this week.
Peter Graf, Steffi's father and coach currently involved in a paternity suit in Germany, watched Sukova take an early 3-2 lead in the first set. However, an array of poor volleys and double faults from the tall Czechoslovak presented Graf with the first set after 38 minutes.
Sukova, seeded third and playing in her first final since June, has lost 16 consecutive matches to Graf since last beating her in 1983, winning merely three sets in that stretch.
'I had my chances but my own stupidity cost me the match,' said Sukova, 25.
Graf's victory ensures a 167th successive week with the world No. 1 ranking. She will now focus her attention on the Virginia Slims Championships in New York next month. Her preparation will include practice on Ivan Lendl's home court in Greenwich, Conn.