ZRUBAKOVA NOT TOO SICK TO WIN
The Times Union
Thursday, August 27, 1992
Imagine suffering a fever, sore throat and a cough on a day when the humidity would choke a giraffe. Then imagine trying to go out and play a tennis match.
Radka Zrubakova of Czechoslovakia not only did it, she won it. The No. 2 women's seed at the OTB Open sucked it all up and then blew away Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2 on a sweltering Wednesday afternoon in which many of the players wilted at Central Park.
"Today was the worst," said Zrubakova, who downplayed her discomfort. "I felt real bad. But I got through it somehow."
The Czech right-hander is not only laboring with the flu but also in the shadow of countrywoman and top seed Helena Sukova here.
"That's OK," Zrubakova said. "Once before, in Brussels, Helena was also the No. 1 and I was the No. 2 seed. It worked out good for me. Helena lost in the quarterfinals and I won the tournament."
It could happen here. Zrubakova possesses the talent, and certainly the intestinal fortitude, to beat anyone in the draw. And if she could take out Oremans on a sick day, think what she'll do when she's in top form.
"I have tomorrow (today) off, so that should give me a chance to get better," said Zrubakova, who flew in Sunday from Czechoslovakia.
She is married to Ladidan Karabin, a member of the Czech national hockey team.
"We get to see each other enough," she said. "I usually go home every two or three weeks. That's more than enough. I'm usually ready to leave again by then."
While she was gutting out her victory over Oremans, Sukova had the day off and spent it watching the horses at Saratoga.
Meanwhile, No. 3 Barbara Rittner of Germany and Sandrine Testud of France were just the latest victims in the oven, better known as the Stadium Court.
"Well, I wouldn't want to play it again," said Rittner, who held on for a 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3 triumph. "We played like three hours."
The two looked like wet rag dolls when they trudged off the court.
"My big mistake was I let her play her game," Rittner said.
But Testud saw it differently.
"Those (high lobs) made it difficult for me," Testud said. "I changed my game. My game is to come to the net."
Actually, she did. Yet probably not enough. Testud smacked some beautiful volleys off the lines. In the end, though, she flubbed a sitter on her final service game. It would have given her the game. Rittner eventually broke and the match was over.
"I made big mistakes at bad moments," Testud said.
That clambake was similar to the marathon bake-off at the sizzling Stadium earlier when Helen Kelesi staggered off with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 decision over Meike Babel. Kelesi somehow staved off dehydration to advance to the quarterfinals.
The other two women's singles matches were also grueling three-setters. Last year's finalist, Alexia Dechaume, finally put a stop to qualifier Shi-ting Wang's run. Dechaume eliminated the Taiwan top-spinner, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Wang had raced through three qualifying matches over the weekend and then upset No. 8 seed Rachel McQuillan of Australia in the first round.
In Wednesday's other women's singles affair, Florencia Labat of Argentina survived a stiff challenge from Chanda Rubin of Louisiana, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The women will complete their second round with three matches today. Sukova will face two-time finalist Marianne Werdel of California in the headliner.