THE GUARDIAN – Saturday 28th May 1983
HOBBS KEEPS ON THE BOIL
With seven teenagers, and nine players using over-sized rackets, through to the last 16 of the women’s singles, two of the current trends in the game have gained added emphasis at the French Championships this week.
Less of a general taking point, but heartening news for those at LTA headquarters is the inclusion of two British representatives among the survivors. Not since 1972, when Virginia Wade and Corinne Molesworth reached the quarter-finals, have Britons mounted a double-barreled challenge at this stage.
Hopes today rest with Jo Durie of Bristol and Anne Hobbs of Alderley Edge who, considering they won the German doubles title on Monday, have had a fairly busy and spectacular five days.
Manchester United can take some credit for Miss Hobbs’ impressive 6-2 6-2 victory over the 18 year-old American Amy Holton. Just before she went on court, Sue Mappin, the national team manager, told her that United had won the Cup final replay 4-0. “I thought at first she was just trying to put me in a good mood”, said Miss Hobbs. “Then when she told me the scorers I realised it must be true”.
The treatment worked. Using deep approach shots to Miss Holton’s two-fisted backhand she dominated the forecourt from first to last and never relinquished her grip.
Her three-match sequence here is her best since she played nine times to qualify for and win an indoor tournament in Indianapolis in February and, despite being set back by a virus infections which kept her out of the game for four months last year, she is now maturing into a much more polished player.
Miss Hobbs is one of the many who have switched to a king-sized racket and her serve and volley have improved accordingly. Today she plays another two-handed baseliner, the third seed Andrea Jaeger, while Miss Durie faces the No 12 seed Kathy Rinaldi, who she beat 6-1 6-1 in Dallas in March.
At 16 years of age Miss Rinaldi is the youngest player left in the tournament. Miss Jaeger, Kathy Horvath and Andrea Temesvari are a year older, Helena Sukova and Catherine Tanvier are 18 and Gretchen Rush is 19, so Chris Lloyd, once a child prodigy herself, now finds herself cast at 28 as the mother figure.
It was one of the games favourite mums, Evonne Cawley, who Mrs Lloyd had to beat to secure her fourth round place. Their last great championship meeting was at Wimbledon in 1980 when the Australian played like a dream to win. Yesterday’s encounter, their 39th was strictly on Mrs Lloyd’s terms and she eased through 6-2 6-2.
Only those in the top half of the men’s draw were in action and, as in their previous matches, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Yannick Noah emerged with little difficulty. The surprises came from Eric Fromm, a New Yorker who beat Peru’s Pablo Arraya and Christophe Roger-Vasselin of France, who lost the first two sets but recovered to beat Heinz Gunthardt of Switzerland 3-6 4-6 7-6 6-3 6-1.
Roger-Vasselin, who was born in London has a traumatic time before winning the third set. He had set points at 5-3, more at 5-4, and another in the tie-break – 11 in all – before reaching clear water on his 12th. After that Gunthardt collapsed.
Fromm and Brian Gottfried, who beat the Swede Marcus Tideman 3-6 6-3 6-0 6-0 gave the United States a better representation than earlier seemed possible.
Singles (Rank : 15) (High : 1 - 11 weeks)
Titles (11) - 2012 - New Haven, SF - WIMBLEDON, 2013 - Beijing, GB Fed Cup, 2014 - Brisbane, Dubai, Stuttgart, Rome, YEC Singapore, 2015 - Stanford, GB Fed Cup, ITF - Antayla, 2016 - Bogota, Olympics
Doubles - (Rank : 52) (High : 1 - 32 weeks)
Titles - (19) (w/tennisbuddy12) 2010 - Bad Gastein, (w/Tuckii) 2013 - ITF Bertioga, (w/James) 2016 - ITF Toyota (w/mateusz2904) - 2010 - Bogota, ITF Karuizawa, ITF Montpellier, 2011 - Bogota, Birmingham, ITF Poitiers, ITF Bratislava, 2012 - ITF Opole, 2013 - Bad Gastein, 2014 - WIMBLEDON, Bad Gastein, 2015 - Nottingham, ITF Ortisei, 2016 - Brisbane, ITF Glasgow, St Petersburg