Sabatini better than advertised Top seed needs only 45 minutes to blank Po
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Wednesday, August 26, 1992
Author: ED GRANEY
Po knows lights out.
Kimberly Po, a second-year pro, will leave the tennis tour this fall and return to UCLA, where she'll prepare for a career in law. She will read many books, take many tests, learn many lessons. None, however, as thoroughly as the one administered last night at La Costa Resort & Spa:
Seis-cero, seis-cero. 6-0, 6-0. Game, set, match, home in time for the movie of the week.
This is why Mazda Tennis Classic promoters jumped for joy upon learning Gabriela Sabatini had decided San Diego might not be too bad a place to hang out while preparing for next week's U.S. Open.
They promised a beautiful player, one with style and grace and every type of shot imaginable. She delivered. It took top-seeded Sabatini, the world's fourth-ranked player, 45 minutes to bid Po farewell.
It didn't seem that long. It was that convincing. The 4,294 who showed up barely had time to cross their legs, sit back and enjoy. At 5-0 in the second set, one fan wondered: "Is there anything (Sabatini) can't do?"
No, say those who have watched and studied the world's best. They'll tell you there isn't a better woman player when everything is clicking.
Click, click, click, click went the Argentinian.
"I was getting mad near the end of the first set," Po said. "Then I thought, 'What's the point?' "
Smart kid. Scary, but this was Sabatini's first tournament match since losing in the Wimbledon semifinals to Steffi Graf. That was nearly eight weeks ago. Still, this sharp. This flawless.
Que pasa, Gabby?
"I feel very good," she said. "I had a (knee) injury at Wimbledon and needed to do some physical therapy. I had never taken such a long break without playing. It's good to do once in a while. But now I'm back."
No kidding. Routs are supported by numbers and this was no different. Sabatini won 19 of 20 first-serve points. Po won 17 points. The entire match. She committed 31 unforced errors.
How inviting those thoughts of legal cases must be now.
"She doesn't have normal spin," Po said. "The ball jumps at you and it took me time to adjust. Still, there wasn't much I could do."
Typical point: Po booms a forehand down the line. Sure winner? Sabatini runs it down, lobs it back, ball lands just inside the baseline. Po approaches deep to the other side. Sure winner? Sabatini runs it down, lobs it back, ball lands just inside baseline. Po nets a forehand. Oh, sure.
It was the fourth time this year Sabatini has gone bagel, bagel to an opponent. She hopes times will get tougher here this week, needing more of a threat while preparing possibly to recapture the Open crown she won in 1990.
Sabatini says she loves San Diego and its beaches. She hopes to cruise the "city" on a motorcycle. But first things first. Next up is the winner of today's Kimiko Date-Leila Meskhi match.
"I have to keep up my concentration," Sabatini said. "It's easy to lose in matches like this. I played very well. I didn't know much about Kimberly."
Didn't need to. No scouting report necessary this night.