RAIN HINDERS MUCH OF FIRST-DAY ACTION
Tuesday, March 31, 1992
BRUCE SMITH, The Associated Press
A steady rain washed out most of the first-day Monday at the $550,000 Family Circle Magazine Cup.
The schedule called for 21 singles and doubles matches. But the rain started about noon and continued for four hours at the Sea Pines Racquet Club. By late afternoon, crews had dried the puddles from the green clay on one of the side courts and play resumed.
When evening fell, a total of four main draw matches were complete.
In singles, Mary Lou Daniels defeated Ginger Helgeson 6-1, 6-4. Stacey Martin eliminated Helen Kelesi who was forced to retire in the first set with a stomach virus.
And Tami Whitlinger defeated Kataryna Nowak 6-4, 7-5 in a match that was delayed for five hours because of rain. A doubles match was also completed.
None of the tournament's top eight seeds were scheduled to play Monday. And none of the lower seeds completed matches. The top seed is defending champion Gabriela Sabatini.
What started as light showers turned into a steady downpour by midafternoon. In 1985, 22 Family Circle matches were washed out by an opening-day rain.
The rain was the second setback in as many days for the tournament, now in its 20th year.
On Sunday, top-ranked Monica Seles was forced to withdraw. Seles, who would have been the tournament's top seed, injured her wrist in a fall from a bicycle last weekend. Her arm will be in a soft cast for three or four days, tournament officials said.
Sabatini, ranked No. 3 in the world, is now the tournament's No. 1 seed. Martina Navratilova, ranked No. 4 and a four-time winner of the tournament, is seeded second.
During the rain delay, No. 3 seed Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario said she feels good about the tennis she's playing after beating Sabatini in the Lipton International two weeks ago.
"I always play well here. I get to the semifinals and I always stop there," she said. "I think I'm playing really well right now and I try to do my best and see if I can win this one too."
She made the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup last year and in 1989.
This year's Family Circle Cup, with the biggest purse in tournament history, features six of the world's top 10 players.