JAEGER TOPS MANDLIKOVA IN AVON FINAL
The Miami Herald
Monday, January 31, 1983
The shrill sound of a burglar alarm going off accidentally in the Mercedes parked across the street may have been what awakened Hana Mandlikova in the second set of Sunday's Avon Cup final with Andrea Jaeger.
Or maybe the second-seeded Mandlikova was fed up with making unforced errors and decided to play up to her considerable potential. Whatever, the 20-year-old Czechoslovakian rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie at 3-3, then had two break points on the top-seeded Jaeger.
But Mandlikova lost form again, hitting two backhands long, a lob long and a backhand into the net to allow Jaeger to hold serve. Jaeger then regained command to capture the championship, 6-1, 6-3, before a capacity crowd of 2,204 at Marriott's Marco Beach Resort.
It was the first championship for the 17-year-old Jaeger since she won an Avon tournament in Oakland, Calif., last February. Already the youngest player ever to earn $1 million on the tour, she pocketed $18,000.
Jaeger picked up another $3,000 later in the day when she teamed with Mary Lou Piatek to win the doubles final, 7-6, 6-4, over top-seeded Rosie Casals and Wendy Turnbull.
In the singles final, which lasted only one hour and nine minutes, Jaeger's steady groundstrokes kept Mandlikova pinned to the baseline for much of the match. When Mandlikova did venture to the net, Jaeger often passed her with shots deep to the corner or with lobs floating just inside the baseline.
"I figured I had to make her stay back and not serve and volley and hit a lot of service winners," said Jaeger. "For my first match on clay in a long time, I was really pleased with the way I was playing. The first time I ever played Hana on clay , she wiped me off the court, 6-0, 6-3."
As balmy breezes blew in from the Gulf of Mexico a block away, Jaeger did the wiping Sunday afternoon. But Mandlikova contributed to her own downfall with numerous unforced errors, usually at crucial points.
"I think I was missing many, many balls," Mandlikova said in an understatement. "It looked like I had a chance at 3-3 in the second set, but I just played badly."
That seems to be the story of Mandlikova's life. Showing a repertoire of shots in the mold of Czech native Martina Navratilova, she rose to world's No. 5 ranking in 1981. But instead of reaching the top three as predicted last year, she dropped to No. 9.
She suffered several embarrassing early-round losses and also was hampered by a nagging back injury. Mandlikova, who owns a home at Boca West in Boca Raton, would look like a world- beater one day and Raggedy Ann the next.
"She's a streaky player," said Jaeger, who is now 5-5 lifetime against Mandlikova. "She plays well or poorly. In one game, she'll have three great shots and go up, 40-0, then lose the game.
"She has so much talent, but maybe it's not good to have so much. On a short ball, she can hit five different ways, but maybe she doesn't know which one to use."
Mandlikova doesn't dispute that. She figures it's just going to take longer for her to refine her talents than it would, say, a baseline player like Jaeger.
"I like the way I have my game," Mandlikova said. "It takes a little longer to develop, like Martina's game. I still have time. People like my style of play, and I do, too. I don't have to stay on the court three or four hours."
Both players are entered in the $150,000 Murjani Cup, also on clay, that begins today at Palm Beach Gardens.
"I hope I don't have to play Andrea until the semifinals or final," said Mandlikova. "She plays her best on clay. She has more time to prepare for every ball. If she's on grass or a faster surface, she doesn't have as much time for her big swing."
Jaeger, a senior at Adlai Stevenson High in the Chicago suburbs, is ranked third on the Women's Tennis Association computer behind Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd. Navratilova is not entered at Palm Beach Gardens, though she was in town Sunday for meetings of the WTA, of which she is president.
Evert is entered at Palm Beach Gardens and is top-seeded. Jaeger and Evert, who waged a fierce rivalry last year, could meet in this week's final. Jaeger upended her three times early last year, including a 6-0, 6-3 victory in the French Open semifinals.
But Evert struck back to win the last four meetings, including a 6-1, 6-0 verdict in the Australian semifinals. Jaeger says, however, that knocking off Evert is not necessarily one of her goals.
"I haven't really set any goals for this year," said Jaeger, who is looking for her first Grand Slam title (Wimbledon, U.S. Open, French Open and Australian Open). "I will play a lot of tourneys. But after next week, I'll go back and try to finish high school [where she's an A student]."