Week of December 31-January 6
MARLBORO AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Dates: December 24 1979 to January 6
Venue: Kooyong, Melbourne, Australia
Prize Money= $50,000
Mary Sawyer d. Virginia Ruzici (Rom)  0-6 6-2 6-4
Naoko Sato (Jpn) d. Elizabeth Little 7-5 6-4
Judy Chaloner (NZ) d. Linda Cassell 2-6 6-0 6-3
Janet Newberry (US)  d. Diane Evers 6-4 6-4
Sharon Walsh (US)  d. Marcella Mesker (Neth) 6-7 6-2 6-4
Jutta Diesslin (Ger) d. Jenny Dimond 7-5 6-4
Michele Gurdal (Bel) d. Cathy Griffiths 6-4 4-6 6-1
Keryn Pratt d. Chris Newton (NZ) [Q] 6-1 6-3
Renata Tomanova (CZ)  d. Nerida Gregory 7-6 7-5
Pam Whytcross d. Mimi Wikstedt (Swd) 5-7 6-3 6-2
Sue Saliba d. Susan Leo 4-6 6-4 6-1
Cynthia Doerner  d. Kim Ruddell 6-1 6-4
Barbara Jordan (US)  d. Kaye Hallam 6-3 6-2
Leanne Harrison d. Bernadette Randall 4-6 6-2 6-3
Anne Minter [Q] d. Brenda Catton 6-3 6-1
Hana Mandlikova (CZ)  d. Jenny Walker 6-1 6-2
Sawyer d. Sato 6-3 6-4
Newberry  d. Chaloner 6-2 3-6 6-1
Walsh  d. Diesslin 6-1 6-4
Gurdal d. Pratt 6-1 6-4
Tomanova  d. Whytcross 6-4 4-6 6-1
Doerner  d. Saliba 5-7 7-6 6-3
Jordan  d. Minter [Q] 7-5 6-1
Mandlikova  d. Harrison 6-4 7-5
Sawyer d. Newberry  7-6 6-3
Walsh  d. Gurdal 6-0 6-3
Tomanova  d. Doerner 6-2 6-1
Jordan  d. Mandlikova  6-2 6-2
Walsh  d. Sawyer 7-6 6-3
Jordan  d. Tomanova  5-7 6-3 6-3
Barbara Jordan (US)  d. Sharon Walsh (US)  6-3 6-3
Barbara Jordan (US)/Kym Ruddell d. Carol Draper/Gwen Stirton 6-3 7-6
Elizabeth Little/Kerryn Pratt d. Jenny Dimond/Lisette Senn (Can) 6-1 6-1
Cynthia Doerner/Sharon Walsh (US) d. Nerida Gregory/Michele Gurdal (Bel) 7-6 6-3
Leanne Harrison/Marcella Mesker (Neth) d. Linda Cassell/Sue Leo 3-6 6-3 6-3
Sue Saliba/Mary Sawyer d. Naoko Sato (Jpn)/Pam Whytcross 6-4 7-5
Judy Chaloner (NZ)/Diane Evers d. Kaye Hallam/Cathy Griffiths 6-0 6-2
Chris Newton (NZ)/Jenny Walker d. Debbie Freeman/Karen Gulley 6-2 7-5
Renata Tomanova (Cz)/Mimi Wikstedt (Swd) d. Brenda Catton/Anne Minter 6-3 7-6
Little/Pratt d. Jordan/Ruddell 2-6 6-2 8-6
Harrison/Mesker d. Doerner/Walsh 7-6 6-2
Chaloner/Evers d. Saliba/Sawyer 6-1 3-6 6-2
Newton/Walker d. Tomanova/Wikstedt 6-2 6-2
Harrison/Mesker d. Little/Pratt 7-6 7-6
Chaloner/Evers d. Newton/Walker 3-6 6-1 10-8
Judy Chaloner/Diane Evers d. Leanne Harrison/Marcella Mesker 6-2 1-6 6-0
For the first time in 18 years the top two seeds in the women’s draw at the Australian Open were overseas players. Neither top-seeded Virginia Ruzici of Romania, nor No.2-seeded Czechoslovakian Hana Mandlikova, lived up to their top billings, the former failing in the first round, the latter in the third round to No.5 seed Barbra Jordan of the USA. Hana was hindered by a number of footfaults in her losing QF.
In the end it was Jordan and fellow American Sharon Walsh who made it through to the final, Jordan’s 6-3 6-3 victory making her the first international woman to win the title since Virginia Wade in 1972.
This was the first edition of the Australian for 1980. Due to a calendar shift a second edition was held in November.
COLGATE SERIES CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dates: January 2-7
Venue: The Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland, US
Surface: Indoors on Sporteze Carpet
Prize money= $250,000
*Note: Though contested in 1980 this event ended the 1979 season.
Red Group (Round Robin-Double Elimination)
RR: Tracy Austin d. Wendy Turnbull (Aus) 6-1 6-0
RR: Chris Evert-Lloyd d. Dianne Fromholtz (Aus) 6-1 6-4
RR: Tracy Austin d. Chris Evert-Lloyd 6-1 6-3
RR: Wendy Turnbull (Aus) d. Dianne Fromholtz (Aus) 4-6 6-1 6-4
[Austin advances to semis with 2-0 record. Fromholtz eliminated; Evert-Lloyd and Turnbull in Playoff round]
Blue Group (Round Robin-Double elimination)
RR: Martina Navratilova d. Kerry Reid (Aus) 6-3 6-0
RR: Evonne Goolagong (Aus) d. Regina Marsikova (Cz) 6-1 6-1
RR: Martina Navratilova d. Evonne Goolagong (Aus) 6-3 6-2
RR: Regina Marsikova (Cz) d. Kerry Reid (Aus) default (tendonitus)
[Navratilova advances to semis with 2-0 record. Reid eliminated; Goolagong and Marsikova in Playoff round]
RR: Evert-Lloyd d Marsikova 6-3 6-0
RR: Turnbull d Goolagong default (Sprained finger)
Austin d Evert-Lloyd 6-3 6-0
Navratilova d Turnbull 6-2 6-0
Martina Navratilova d Tracy Austin 6-2 6-1
3rd place: Evert d Turnbull 6-1 6-1
5th place: Marsikova d Goolagong default
7th place: Fromholtz d Reid default
Billie Jean King/Martina Navratilova d Ilana Kloss/Bettyann Stuart 6-3 6-2
Rosie Casals/Chris Evert-Lloyd d Betty Stove/Wendy Turnbull 6-2 6-2
Billie Jean King/Martina Navratilova d Rosie Casals/Chris Evert-Lloyd 6-4 6-3
Despite the date this event really wrapped up 1979 in nice bow, deciding the burning issue of who was "the real #1" for the year: Navratilova, Evert, or Austin.
The event was beset with numerous issues. Most matches were utterly one-sided, especially for an event featuring all top-tenners. Of 11 matches played only 1 went to 3 sets. Other problems were defaults by Reid and Goolagong, a major snow storm, and a convoluted format.
Navratilova plowed throw the field and cemented her first consensus #1 year end ranking with a dominant performance. Only 13 games went against her in 4 matches. Her play was so close to perfection in the final that she drew gasps of amazement from the crowd. Even half-volleys off her shoelaces dropped over for winners. Afterwards Tracy confessed that "Martina's never played better."
Lannsdorp, Austin's coach: "She [Martina] played devastating."
Navratilova. "I hope this puts aside all doubts as to who is the #1 player." It certainly did. Tracy had high hopes coming in, winning her previous 4 matches vs Martina. In 48 minutes all her dreams of ending #1 went up in smoke.
The confusing double elimination format led to Tracy Austin playing Chris Evert twice. First Tracy drubbed Chris in the Round Robin before 9,100. Austin played the villain, ignoring the crowds cheers for Evert.
After gaining the semis in a playoff match opponents were determined by a coin flip. Evert won her playoff and drew Tracy again for what some writers dub a "looking glass" match. Austin said she had a "premonition" she would face Evert again. Did tell you you would win?, reporters asked. "I don't have those kind of premonitions" she shot back with a smile.
9,800 came for the semis despite a huge snowstorm delaying matches until 3 PM. Chris stayed with Tracy until 3-3. "That stupid forehand", Chris muttered when she sent a forehand long for 3-3. She never got another game. Even shouts of "Wake up!" and "THAT's the Chris Evert I know" from fans couldn't reverse the tide. Evert: "she just got better and better." Austin: "Maybe people will believe I can beat her now." Tracy was also peeved by the USTA ranking Chris above her at #2 in the national rankings. "In the public's mind, Chris is still #1. I guess I'll have to keep doing this [beating her] over and over again."
Navratilova on Austin: "Tracy was never sweet, not even when she was 14." "She was always tough."
Evonne Goolagong withdrew due to badly sprained finger. She stumbled and fell on her hand vs Navratilova in the third game of 6-3 6-2 defeat. Evonne played on wearing bandages as blood seeped out her finger. X-Rays after the match indicated no bones were broken, but her hand was scratched up on the carpet. Parrafin treatments were tried,but when it came time to face Turnbull for a place in the semis she could not grip the racquet
Kerry Reid qualifies for the series champs and retires expecting her first child. Kerry has been a fixture in women’s tennis since she defeated Billie Jean King as a teenager in the ’66 US Championships.
Finals drew 9,200 (best attendance for semis at 9,800)
January 1-8 Benson & Hedges New Zealand Open
, Auckland, New Zealand (Grass)
A non-tour level event
FI: Janet Newberry (US) d Judith Connor 6-2 6-1
January2-6 Australian Hardcourts
, ????, Australia (Clay)
A non-tour level event
FI: Nerida Gregory d K Gulley 7-5 6-2