FINAL QUALIFIERS, 3 LUCKY LOSERS FILL LIPTON FIELD
Monday, February 10, 1986
Tom Nijssen of The Netherlands won a third-set tiebreaker in his final-round qualifying match Sunday to gain the main draw of the Lipton International Players Championships.
A date with Boris Becker tonight in the stadium.
A Dutch treat for Boris?
Becker played Michiel Schapers, a Dutchman, in the first round of the Australian Open and lost. He won`t be taking the 21-year-old Nijssen lightly.
Twenty-seven players -- 24 qualifiers (16 male, eight female) and three "lucky losers" (Julie Richardson, Maria Lundstrom and Stephan Bonneau) -- survived Sunday to play another day in the LIPC.
After the dust cleared -- 13 of the 24 matches went three sets -- the qualifiers fell into the draw Sunday night. Some with a crash and some with a soft thud.
Jay Lapidus of Palm Beach Gardens, a 6-7 (7-2), 6-1, 6-1 winner over Hans Simonsson, drew John Lloyd.
Steve Denton, who rallied to beat Randy Nixon 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, drew Jimmy Connors.
Dan Cassidy of Hollywood, who knocked off Panko Ivanov 6-4, 6-2, drew Christo Van Rensburg, another qualifier.
Susan Sloane, a 15-year-old Kentuckian, drew Chris Evert Lloyd, the top seed in the women`s event.
"Oh, no, really?" said Sloane, who faces Evert Tuesday afternoon. "I hope I play well."
Sloane has played well in three qualifying matches, not losing a set against Isuko Okagawa, Jennifer Goodling and Marianne Groat Sunday.
The youngster should not be intimidated against Evert. She played Martina Navratilova in her last pro tournament, at the Virginia Slims of New England, and won four games from the world`s No. 1 player.
Sloane jumped 100 spots in the rankings to No. 141 last month.
"I`ve been playing well. I hope I can keep it up," said Sloane, who led the U.S. Continental Players Cup team in Pompano Beach last December.
Eight of the 16 women`s seeds play today with No. 2 Steffi Graf of West Germany in the spotlight.
Graf, an LIPC semifinalist last year and the runner-up at the recent Virginia Slims of Florida, faces Melissa Gurney of Palos Verdes, Calif., in a battle of highly touted 16-year-olds in the stadium at 7 p.m.
Becker, the No. 4 seed, follows Graf on the show court to make it a Bratwurst special.
Becker and Scott Davis, last year`s runner-up, are the only two men among the top 16 seeds scheduled to play today.
Top-seeded Ivan Lendl faces John Sadri in his first match Tuesday afternoon. No. 2 seed Mats Wilander and No. 4 seed Connors play their first matches Wednesday.
The Connors-Denton match could be one of the best in the first round.
The most interesting first-round match from a local standpoint pits Yannick Noah, the No. 6 seed, against Jay Berger of Plantation Tuesday night in a rematch of their U.S. Open encounter.
Berger, the U.S. Boys 18 champion, fought his way into the round of 16 at Flushing Meadow and took a set off Noah.
The Frenchman and the Clemson sophomore will meet on the same Decoturf II surface.
The LIPC opens the first of its 26 sessions over the next 14 days today with Eva Pfaff against Caterina Lindqvist on center court at 10 a.m. There will be 54 matches played today, 48 in the day session on 11 courts and six tonight at 7 p.m. on three courts.
NOTES: Anne White (we`ll never know what she had planned for the Winter Wimbledon) and Gigi Fernandez pulled out of the women`s tournament with injuries, opening up two spots for "lucky losers." Pedro Rebolledo pulled out of the men`s tournament, creating the opening for Bonneau. . . The four-day qualifying drew 3,200. . . Tonight`s advance sale is 5,000. The stadium holds 11,200.