Queen of tennis : Seles romps to third win in Aussie Open
Kitchner, Ontario, Canada
Friday, January 17, 1992
Steve Wilstein, AP
(AP) - Monica Seles's speed-tennis show raced unimpeded into the round of 16 in the Australian Open on Friday.
Seles has spent barely three hours on court and hasn't dropped a set in her first three victories, the latest being 6-1, 6-1 romp in 50 minutes over Yayuk Basuki, the most improved woman player in the world last year in rising from 266 to 35 in the rankings.
Seles, the defending women's champion and top seed, sharpened her baseline game rather than her serve-and-volley attack. The neck muscle she strained last week is fine now, she said, though she's still getting treatment for it.
But she simply didn't need to go to the net against Basuki, who made 42 errors to Seles's 15.
"When I go out for a match, I never try anything tactical," Seles said. "I just go out there and play. I never go into a match with a game plan."
Unsatisfied with merely clobbering her opponents, she worries about eliminating the few mistakes she's been making after a two-month layoff.
"Everybody from now on is a big threat," said Seles, who dropped only 15 points while winning nine straight games. "I tell myself to play a little better. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."
Seles, 18, seems to be enjoying her status as the undisputed queen of tennis. Not all her male counterparts are so enamored with the limelight, nor are they as much the centre of attention.
Boris Becker, the defending Australian Open men's champion, dons a black wig so he won't be recognized away from the courts. Jim Courier simply doffs his baseball cap.
Fans are backing Courier at the betting booth, cheering for him on the court, but they haven't a clue who he is when he strolls hatless among them. Andre Agassi, popping up on television commercials during nearly every match, is one of the best-known American players, and he's never even played here.
That suits Courier just fine.
"The beauty of it is that people recognize me more with my hat on, so when I go on the street and take my hat off, I'm kind of incognito," said Courier, the second seed, after reaching the third round Thursday with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Sweden's Thomas Enqvist.
Courier drew a big crowd at centre court, including fellow American Jennifer Capriati, who watched with ice wrapped around her swollen right wrist and left knee after a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Noelle van Lottum.
Neither of those matches packed the tension expected tonight when Becker faces John McEnroe in a third-round showdown.
Canada's women players enjoyed modest doubles success Thursday as Jill Hetherington and Helen Kelesi advanced with different partners.
Hetherington, of Peterborough and American Kathy Rinaldi, seeded sixth, defeated Czechoslovakians Regina Rajchrtova and Radka Zrubakova 6-4, 6-1, while Kelesi, of Richmond Hill and Nicola Arendt of the U.S. downed Australians Louise Field and Anne Minter, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Patricia Hy of Richmond Hill lost twice. She was trounced by Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, the third seed, 6-1, 6-1, in the second round of women's singles then, with Toronto's Rene Alter, lost in first-round doubles, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to Australians Kristin Goodridge and Nicole Pratt.
Courier was the bettors' second choice Thursday behind Becker, the third seed, to win this first Grand Slam event of the year.
Courier was listed as 5-2 in legal betting, while Becker was favored just slightly more at 9-4. Top-seeded Stefan Edberg, coming back from a two-month layoff because of injuries, was the bettors' third choice at 4-1.
Wimbledon champion Michael Stich, the fourth seed who was rated a mere 10-1 by bettors, struggled against erratic Swede Jonas Svensson before winning 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
American Michael Chang also advanced by beating Cristiano Caratti 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Also securing second-round triumphs included seventh-seeded Mary Joe Fernandez, 11th-seeded Zina Garrison, Pam Shriver, Richey Reneberg, Bret Garnett, Amy Frazier, Katrina Adams and Patty Fendick, who beat compatriot Halle Cioffi.