GARRISON WINS, PLAYS GRAF TODAY; SABATINI ADVANCES
The Palm Beach Post - Friday, March 6, 1992
Author: PATRICK McMANAMON
It was a day of few surprises at the Virginia Slims of Florida Thursday.
Most of the top seeds advanced, most of the lower-ranked players didn't and nobody talked about nude sunbathing photographs.
Today's quarterfinals feature the top five seeds, and six of the top seven.
The mildest upsets came when No. 16 seed Barbara Rittner beat No. 5 Leila Meskhi 6-2, 6-3, and unseeded Amanda Coetzer beat No. 8 Judith Wiesner 6-3, 6-1 at the Polo Club.
Other than that, the tournament followed form.
Second-seeded Gabriela Sabatini, No. 3 Mary Joe Fernandez, No. 4 Conchita Martinez, No. 5 Nathalie Tauziat and No. 7 Zina Garrison advanced to join top seed Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals.
Most of the winners had little trouble, but Garrison needed three sets to beat Brenda Schultz 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
That win sets up today's most attractive match, with Garrison facing the unenviable task of playing Graf. (Carling Bassett-Seguso made the player draw, and when she saw Garrison could meet Graf, Bassett-Seguso said: "She's going to be mad at me.")
Graf has won eight of 10 matches against Garrison, including the last three. Garrison beat Graf the first time they played in 1985, and her only other win over Graf came in the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1990.
"The court's pretty slow and we're both pretty quick," Garrison said. "We've always had real good matches with some really good points and I'm looking forward to playing her."
Sabatini beat 16-year-old Chanda Rubin, the tournament's youngest player, 6-2, 6-2 in a match Sabatini said was tougher than it appeared.
"She was not making many mistakes," Sabatini said. "She was very consistent. I had to play very well each point to win."
Sabatini saved her best shot for the last, sending a running backhand down the line to win the match.
"That was a good point," Sabatini said.
Rubin, from Lafayette, La., left disappointed with the loss, but happy with her tournament.
"It was a good experience," she said. "I had a good time."
Today, Sabatini will face Coetzer, a 22-year-old South African ranked 61st in the world.
Martinez, who will play Rittner, had to go to a tiebreaker in the second set to beat Kimiko Date, but prevailed 7-3. Martinez (ranked No. 8) has played well recently. Last week, she lost to Monica Seles in the finals in Indian Wells, Calif.
"I feel comfortable," Martinez said. "Everybody is difficult but I think I have a chance to do something."
Fernandez played her old friend and practice partner, Laura Gildemeister, and won 6-3, 7-5.
In the second set, Fernandez led 5-3, but Gildemeister came back, breaking Fernandez's serve, then holding hers to tie the match at 5 before Fernandez won the last two games.
"She can go for streaks where she hits winners and gets all her shots," Fernandez said, "but then she makes unforced errors."
Fernandez faces Tauziat, ranked No. 14, who last year beat Fernandez in the quarterfinals.
"Hopefully," Fernandez said, "I'll get her back."