KIDS IN EARLY SPOTLIGHT AS LIPTON TENNIS OPENS
The Miami Herald
Monday, February 10, 1986
Chris Evert Lloyd and Jimmy Connors can wait. It's Kids' Day at the $1.8 million Lipton International Players Championships.
We have 14-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez of Miami -- who opened eyes in last year's event as an amateur -- making her pro debut.
We have a match between West German Steffi Graf and Californian Melissa Gurney, who were born 10 days apart in June 1969.
We have 18-year-old West German Boris Becker, who was a no- name at last year's Lipton and returns as the reigning Wimbledon champion/tennis heartthrob.
When the two-week tournament starts today at Boca West, Fernandez will play Czechoslavakian Andrea Holikova in the second match of the 10 a.m. session on Court 1. Graf and Gurney will meet in the 7 p.m. match on the stadium court, followed by Becker and qualifier Tom Nijssen.
As an amateur in last year's tournament, Fernandez upset Bonnie Gadusek before losing to Hana Mandlikova. Gadusek, seeded fifth this year, can avenge that loss in the second round if she beats Mimi Jausovec and if Fernandez wins. In the face of all this infantry is 30-year-old Texan Steve Denton, who's just happy to be in the tournament.
Denton couldn't qualify last year, because he and doubles partner Kevin Curren were in the finals of the U.S. National Indoors in Memphis, Tenn.
Fortunately, they made a quick exit from Memphis this time. Denton made it in time to roll through the qualifying and take a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory from Californian Randy Nixon Sunday.
"I would've missed this again if we hadn't lost early," Denton said. "I guess it turned out for the better."
Denton was one of 24 players who qualified Sunday. Among the South Floridians who did were Jay Lapidus, a 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 6-1 victor over Hans Simonsson; Craig Campbell, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Andre Agassi; Dan Cassidy, who defeated Panko Ivanov, 6-4, 6-2; Pilar Vasquez, who beat Elna Reinach, 6-2, 6-3; and Penny Barg, who sidelined Maria Lindstrom, 6-4, 0-6, 6-1.
Denton could pose the first big upset of the tournament. His first match will be Wednesday against third-seeded Connors, a late entry.
Ivan Lendl and Evert, the top seeds, will play their first matches Tuesday.
Denton is attempting a comeback, and a surprise against Connors would be an ideal start. He dropped from 10th in 1982 -- when he reached the rounds of 16 at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open -- to 247th in the latest Association of Tennis Professionals' rankings
Although still a standout doubles player with old college roommate Curren, Denton saw his singles career nose-dive after a series of foot problems.
"After that, I lost belief in myself and lost a bit of motivation," he said. "That's the key to this game -- you have to be hungry.
"It was a year and a half of tennis I don't want to play. Now, I've struggled and just feel I'm getting my head together. I need a lot of matches at this point."
Denton was undaunted against Nixon, despite his opponent's outstanding serve. Denton kept his composure and won the match on an ace.
"The last round of qualifying is always nerve-racking," he said.
3,100 SEATS REMAIN
As of Sunday night, 3,100 general-admission seats remained for tonight's stadium-court matches. Phone 483-2200 for ticket information . . . The four-day qualifying reportedly drew 3,200 fans. Officials are expecting around 150,000 for the entire tournament . . . Inside Florida Tennis, which airs each Sunday on Channel 29, will televise 10 half-hour highlight-and- interview shows during the tournament. Carl Foster, the show's host, will be joined by Jeanne Evert Dubin.
STADIUM COURT: 10 a.m. -- Eva Pfaff vs. Catarina Lindqvist; Tim Gullikson vs. Heinz Gunthardt; Zina Garrison vs. Isabel Cueto; Slobodan Zivojinovic vs. Mel Purcell; Mimi Jausovec vs. Bonnie Gadusek. 7 p.m. -- Melissa Gurney vs. Steffi Graf; Boris Becker vs. Tom Nijssen.
GRANDSTAND COURT: 10 a.m. -- Andrea Jaeger vs. Ann Henricksson; Wolfgang Popp vs. Scott Davis; Helena Sukova vs. Marianne Werdel; Jimmy Arias vs. Carlos Kirmayr; Robin White vs. Kathy Jordan. 7 p.m. -- Goran Prpic vs. Aaron Krickstein; Laura Gildemeister vs. Manuela Maleeva.
COURT 1: 10 a.m. -- Horacio de la Pena vs. Greg Holmes; Andrea Holikova vs. Mary Joe Fernandez; Harold Solomon vs. Russell Simpson; Rafaella Reggi vs. Pascale Paradis; Tomas Smid vs. Jose Lopez-Maeso. 7 p.m. -- Stephanie Rehe vs. Carina Karlsson; Terry Moor vs. David Pate.
COURT 2: 10 a.m. -- Thomas Muster vs. Marty Davis; Barbara Potter vs. Vicki Nelson-Dunbar; Larry Stefanki vs. John Fitzgerald; Amy Holton vs. Jo Durie; Jimmy Brown vs. Hank Schwaier.
COURT 3: 10 a.m. -- Elizabeth Minter vs. Peanut Louie; Mike DePalmer vs. Jim Gurfein; Terry Phelps vs. Elizabeth Smylie; Bill Scanlon vs. Bruno Oresar.
COURT 4: 10 a.m. -- Tim Wilkison vs. Barry Moir; Bettina Bunge vs. Emilse Ramponi Longo; Pedro Rebolledo vs. Francisco Gonzalez; Helen Kelesi vs. Sabrina Goles.
COURT 5: 10 a.m. -- Neige Dias vs. Iva Budarova; Marko Ostoja vs. Damir Keretic; Annabel Croft vs. Nathalie Tauziat; Cecilia Fernandez vs. Pam Casale.
COURT 6: 10 a.m. -- Pavel Slozil vs. Tarik Benhabiles; Catherine Suire vs. Sandra Cecchini; Francesco Cancellotti vs. Kevin Moir; Isabelle Demongeot vs. Wendy White.
COURT 7: 10 a.m. -- Regina Marsikova vs. Sharon Walsh-Pete; Craig Campbell vs. Bob Green; Yvonne Vermaak vs. Masako Yanagi; Lori McNeil vs. Tine Scheuer-Larsen.
COURT 8: 10 a.m. -- Sophie Amiach vs. Lea Antonoplis; Dan Cassidy vs. Christo Van Rensburg; Leigh Thompson vs. Patricia Medrado; Beth Herr vs. Andrea Betzner.
COURT 9: 10 a.m. -- Michelle Torres vs. Debbie Spence; Kim Sands vs. Myrium Schropp; Beth Norton vs. Amanda Tobin-Dingwall; Shawn Foltz vs. Petra Keppeller.
Steffi Graf vs. Melissa Gurney, 7 p.m. on stadium court; Boris Becker vs. Tom Nijssen, second match of 7 p.m. session on stadium court; Manuela Maleeva vs. Laura Gildemeister, second match of 7 p.m. session on grandstand court; Mary Joe Fernandez vs. Andrea Holikova, second match of 10 a.m. session on Court One; Jimmy Arias vs. Carlos Kirmayr, fourth match of 10 a.m. session on grandstand court.