The part about the tennis courts being gone on Key Biscayne is a reference to Hurricane Andrew.
Meskhi says adios to Sabatini No. 1 seed goes quietly against upstart Georgian
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Friday, August 28, 1992
Author: ED GRANEY
Cry for her, Argentina.
Gabriela Sabatini had hoped to use this week's $225,000 Mazda Tennis Classic as a tuneup for the U.S. Open title many pick her to win. She'll tune up, all right. On her courts in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Assuming they're still there. (Early reports aren't optimistic.)
The top-seeded Sabatini last night bid San Diego adios a few days earlier than expected, falling in the quarterfinals to unseeded Leila Meskhi 6-0, 6-3 at La Costa Resort & Spa.
"It's too bad I lost," said Sabatini, who was staying at a beachfront house in Del Mar and spent the afternoon cooking pasta, "because I wanted to stay here longer."
Think back to Sabatini's 45-minute, 6-0, 6-0 win Tuesday against Kimberly Po. Now forget it. Two different days, two different players. Gabby served bagels one evening, ate one another.
Before arriving here, the 22-year-old Argentine took 51 days off after losing to Steffi Graf in the Wimbledon semifinals. She looked like it. She had 40 unforced errors, her serve was broken five times and she was 0-for-4 on break points in the first set.
Spectators dodged bugs attracted by the La Costa lights . . . and tennis balls from errant Sabatini forehands.
For all those who know nothing of Meskhi, which is probably most people, she is from Georgia -- the one in the former Soviet Union. She is ranked 23rd in the world. She is 24 and speaks Georgian, Russian and English (sort of). Her hobbies include watching water polo. Favorite color: pink. Favorite singer: Madonna.
Meskhi last won a tournament in 1991 in Wellington, New Zealand. Upsets are part of her repertoire. She also has defeated Jennifer Capriati and Martina Navratilova.
"I play very good, and she play worse," said Meskhi, who meets the winner of today's Conchita Martinez-Ann Grossman quarterfinal. "She not feel comfortable with her serve. When I lead, 3-2 (in the second set), I think I will win."
The last time Sabatini lost a 6-0 set was to Graf last year, but she came back to win the match in three sets. This time, no dice.
Meskhi squandered two match points and put her first serve into the net on the third. Several of the 4,362 at La Costa cheered, probably the folks who had tickets for the sold-out semifinals and final and expected to see Sabatini play in them.
Meskhi landed her second serve and, after a long rally, won the game, set and match when Sabatini pushed a backhand wide.
"She played a very good match," Sabatini said. "I lost my concentration a little bit, sometimes. It's hard to be away a few weeks and then come back."
Now Sabatini enters the U.S. Open having played only two matches in more than two months.