SABATINI SEE-SAWS TO VICTORY
The Miami Herald
Friday, January 31, 1986
Gabriela Sabatini's tennis game took a roller-coaster ride Thursday afternoon.
She was terrible. She was great. Up, down, up, down, for two hours and 28 minutes. In the end, great overcame terrible -- barely.
Sabatini survived her erratic play and the challenge of unseeded Susan Mascarin of Boca Raton to win, 6-7 (7-9), 6-0, 6-4, in the $250,000 Virginia Slims of Florida at the Sheraton Royal Biscayne on Key Biscayne.
Thursday night, top-seed Chris Evert Lloyd needed only 55 minutes to defeat Carling Bassett, 6-1, 6-0, before 1,500 fans. Evert lost the first game, then won 12 in a row as she kept Bassett off balance, often setting up winners that Bassett was helpless to return.
"I don't think I could play much better than that," Evert said. "I played pretty close to the perfect match."
Sabatini, seeded sixth, staggered in the third set against Mascarin. She trailed, 3-1, before three service breaks kept her in contention for the $40,000 first-place prize money.
"I was confident," said Sabatini, a 15-year-old from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who lives on Key Biscayne. "There was no way I was going to lose."
Mascarin stayed within upset distance with a conservative baseline game. Content with long rallies, Mascarin took advantage of Sabatini's on-and-off game to win numerous points on unforced errors.
But it was Mascarin's errors that helped give Sabatini the victory. Mascarin returned a ball wide to give Sabatini a 5-4 edge in the final set, and returned two balls long in the final game.
"A lot of this game was mental attitude," Mascarin said. "I think both of us played very streaky."
The day did not go by without an upset. Stephanie Rehe defeated fifth-ranked Kathy Rinaldi, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, and will play Evert this afternoon. Unseeded Kathleen Horvath defeated 10th-seeded Andrea Temesvari of Budapest, 0-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Miami's Mary Joe Fernandez was eliminated by second-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany, 6-0, 6-1.
"I couldn't do much," Fernandez said. "She was hitting winners from everywhere."
Gabriela Sabatini d. Susan Mascarin, 6-7 (7-9), 6-0, 6-4; Kathleen Horvath d. Andrea Temesvari, 0-6, 6-2, 6-2; Bonnie Gadusek d. Jo Durie, 7-5, 6-4; Steffi Graf d. Mary Joe Fernandez, 6-0, 6-1; Stephanie Rehe d. Kathy Rinaldi, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Manuela Maleeva d. Kathy Jordan, 6-3, 6-1; Wendy Turnbull d. Anna Maria Cecchini, 6-1, 6-3; Chris Evert Lloyd d. Carling Bassett, 6-1, 6-0.
Lilian Drescher/Christiane Jolissaint d. Jo Durie/Anne Hobbs, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-2; Catarina Lindqvist/Joanne Russell d. Isabelle Demongeot/Nathalie Tauzia, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1; Bettina Bunge/Eva Pfaff d. Anna Maria Cecchini/Sabrina Goles, 6-2, 6-2; Kathy Jordan/Elizabeth Smiley d. Steffi Graf/Catherine Tanvier, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Carling Bassett/Rosalyn Fairbanks d. Penny Barg/ Janine Thompson, 6-4, 6-2.
Stadium court, 10:30 a.m. -- Bettina Bunge/Eva Pfaff vs. Jill Hetherington/Kathy Rinaldi; Lilian Drescher/Christiane Jolissaint vs. Betsy Nagelsen/Barbara Potter; Wendy Turnbull vs. Steffi Graf; Chris Evert Lloyd vs. Stephanie Rehe.
Stadium court, 6 p.m. -- Manuela Maleeva vs. Gabriela Sabatini; Kathleen Horvath vs. Bonnie Gadusek; Catarina Lindqvist/Joanne Russell vs. Carling Bassett/Rosalyn Fairbanks.
Court 1, 2 p.m. -- Kathy Jordan/Elizabeth Smiley vs. Mercedes Taz/Kim Sands.