Tennis: Graf will measure the strength of the Durie revival
Saturday, March 19, 1988
From RICHARD EVANS
KEY BISCAYANE, FLORIDA - Jo Durie lined herself up for her first match against Steffi Graf in two years when she upset the rankings yesterday to reach the fourth round of the Lipton Players International here. Sticking doggedly to the task of wearing down a worthy opponent, the British player beat Gretchen Magers, a 24-year-old Texan, from San Antonio, 7-6, 6-3.
Providing Graf does not stumble against Ros Fairbank in her third round match, Durie will be playing the West German for the first time since the tournament in Mahwah, New Jersey, in 1986. Coincidentally, that was also the last time Durie won as many as three matches in one tournament.
All the old hesitation and lack of belief returned when Durie served for a 5-2 lead in the second set and it seemed as if she might be wavering dangerously when she netted a backhand volley which allowed Magers to break back.
'Yes, I was nervous," Durie said. 'When you are not used to winning, it is difficult not to panic. I won only 10 singles matches in the whole of last year and already this year I have won seven, so it is getting better."
Durie never looks totally in command on court these days, but the determination to succeed is still there, despite the disappointments of the last few years, and that vital aspect of her character has been very much in evidence here.
Magers is ranked No. 77 on the WITA computer, 22 places above the British player so, statistically, this was a good win for Durie, but she would have derived more satisfaction from the manner in which she survived three set points
Then she never allowed the American to get a foot in the door during the tie-break, shutting her out by seven points to nil.
There were also a few encouraging signs in Sara Gomer's play when she lost 6-1, 6-3, to Graf the previous evening. The score failed to reflect the quality of tennis the tall Devonian produced and a different set of statistics bear that out. Gomer had game points in eight of the first 12 games.
Three times she surprised Graf with beautifully disguised dropped shots and produced a great top spin lob to help her break back and stay on level terms for a while in the second set.
Results: Men's singles: Second round
R. Seguso (US) bt J Grabb (US), 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; M Mecir (Cz) bt G Layendecker (US), 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; E Sanchez (Sp) bt K Flach (US), 7-6, 6-3, 6-1; D Goldie (US) bt M Srejber (Cz), 4-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Y Noah (Fr) bt T Smid (Cz), 7-6, 6-2, 6-2; M Woodforde (Aus) bt T Muster (Austria), 6-2, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. R. Krishnan (India) bt M Jaite (Arg), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Women's singles: Second round
S Graf (WG) bt S Gomer (GB), 6-1, 6-3; C Kohde-Kilsch (WG) bt A De Vries (Bel), 6-0, 6-3; H Sukova (Cz) bt G Fernandez (PR
), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
J Durie (GB) bt G Magers (US), 7-6, 6-3; M-J Fernandez (US) bt L Golarisa (It), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0; L Ferrando (It) bt S Goles (Yug), 6-2, 6-0; G Sabatini (Arg) bt L Bonder (US), 6-2, 6-0.