EVERT RIPS TURNBULL
The Miami Herald
Sunday, February 6, 1983
Wendy Turnbull knew she was doomed before she ever walked onto the tennis court Saturday.
She was exhausted physically because she had played three matches Friday -- two doubles and one singles, including a three-set doubles match ending late at night. And she felt beaten mentally, because she would be facing Chris Evert Lloyd on clay, the surface Evert loses on about as often as John McEnroe says "have a nice day" to an umpire.
Turnbull didn't have a nice day. Evert blasted the Australian they call "The Rabbit' right into a hole, 6-1, 6-1, before an estimated 2,500 fans in the semifinals of the $150,000 Murjani Cup at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens.
That advanced top-seeded Evert to today's 2 p.m. final against second-seeded Andrea Jaeger, who defeated No. 4 Hana Mandlikova, 6-2, 6-4. The final, which is sold out, will be telecast nationally by the USA cable network via tape delay at 7 p.m.
This will be the fifth consecutive South Florida tournament in which Evert and Jaeger have met in the final. Last year, Evert won three in a row at Deer Creek and one at Palm Beach Gardens in the Citizen Cup and dropped only one set to Jaeger in the process.
"I've played a lot lately, and this is her first tournament [of the year], so we'll have to see what happens," said Jaeger, who defeated Evert twice on clay last year. "We've played a lot of three-set matches. I can stay out there all day, but to do so, I'll have to play well."
Turnbull wished she could have changed everything in her game.
"I left my forehand back at my condominium and my backhand on the bridge coming over the water," said Turnbull, a 30-year- old who was seeded third. "No, actually Chris is just so tough on clay.
"I was just so mentally and physically exhausted. And to beat Chris, you have to be playing well and be mentally and physically prepared."
Evert extended her 12-year-old winning streak on clay in South Florida to 60 matches. And since turning pro in 1973, she hasn't lost anywhere in the state on clay, compiling a 69-match streak.
If those facts weren't intimidating enough to Turnbull, her lifetime record against Evert was. She was 1-16 going into the match, including 0-4 on clay. She hasn't even won a set on the surface. Her lone triumph over Evert came indoors in Atlanta in 1979.
Evert pinned Turnbull to the baseline with hard and deep groundstrokes. And when The Rabbit managed to hop to the net, Evert usually passed her.
"Wendy can put together a few good points on clay but not keep it up," said Evert. "She has a good chip shot on grass, but on clay, that's not a weapon.
"Against me or any other good clay player, she gets psyched out. She knows we're going to stay out longer and hit deep and take away her best shot. And she's not patient. She likes to get it over with."
Although the points lasted longer than Turnbull likes, the match didn't -- Evert won in 51 minutes. She has yet to be tested in this tournament, although she expects to be today.
Last spring, Jaeger defeated Evert on clay at Hilton Head, S.C., in three sets and in the French Open semifinals in straight sets. But Evert won the next four meetings, including their most recent in the Australian Open semifinals by 6-1, 6-0.
Jaeger's victory over Mandlikova was nearly a replay of their encounter in last Sunday's Avon Cup final at Marco Island, Fla. Jaeger won that one, 6-1, 6-3, but it was somewhat harder Saturday night, because Mandlikova made fewer errors and displayed flashes of the brilliance she had shown in reaching the No. 4 ranking in the world in 1981.
"I need a couple more matches against the top players," said Mandlikova, who was sidelined four months last year because of nagging injuries. "I've beaten them before, so I know I can again."
In a moment of frustration, Jaeger displayed a new finger gesture, but she says it's not meant to be obscene. She raises the little finger on her right hand and points it at someone or something.
"A lot of times, I get aggravated at myself, and instead of yelling at the top of my lungs, I do that," she said. "It doesn't mean anything. It relieves tension when I'm mad at myself or someone in the stands. I'm not trying to start anything."
In the doubles semifinals, Barbara Potter and Sharon Walsh sidelined Lea Antonoplis and Barbara Jordan, 7-5, 7-5. They'll play after today's singles final against Kathy Jordan and Paula Smith, who defeated Mandlikova and Virginia Ruzici, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4.