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Maleeva rallies to beat McGrath in Moscow Ladies Open

MOSCOW (Sep 22, 1995 - 12:54 EDT) -- Top-seeded Magdalena Maleeva rallied for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over little-known American Meredith McGrath on Friday to advance to the final of the indoor Moscow Ladies Open.

The Bulgarian, ranked eighth in the world, will defend her title in the WTA tour event Saturday against Yelena Makarova of Russia.

The seventh-seeded Makarova, whom Maleeva edged in last year's semifinals, breezed past Italy's Adriana Serra-Zanetti 6-1, 6-1 in Friday's other semifinal.

McGrath, battling the flu and ranked only 104th in the world, said she surprised even herself by breezing through he first set. But Maleeva's steady groundstrokes pulled her even, and the third set was no contest.

"After I lost the second set, I think I lost spirit," said McGrath of Midland, Mich., who has twice beaten players ranked in he top ten. "I was just feeling too miserable to fight back the way I needed to."

"I am happy just to have gotten to the semifinals," she said.

Maleeva said she felt "incredibly lucky" to win after falling behind early.

The tournament is being played on hardcourts adjacent to the Davis Cup semifinal between the German and Russian men's teams.