Join Date: Jul 2012
MARTINA IN A DARK PO TIE
FIRST SEEDS TO FALL: SANCHEZ AND DATE
Thursday, June 25, 1992
WIMBLEDON, England -- Martina Navratilova was back in the twilight zone Wednesday, deadlocked at a set apiece with Kimberly Po when darkness descended on Court 2.
The nine-time champion won the first set 6-2, but Po, a 20-year-old UCLA grad ranked No. 87 and playing her first Wimbledon, took the second 6-3. Their second-round match resumes today.
Navratilova was in the same surprising situation three years ago against another little-known player.
Navratilova and Kristine Radford, an Australian upstart who was playing in a pair of Navratilova's borrowed sneakers, split sets in the same round on the same court when darkness halted play. Navratilova returned to complete a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
While Navratilova hangs on, the first two women's seeds fell Wednesday. Julie Halard ousted Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (5) 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, and Gigi Fernandez defeated Kimiko Date (15) 6-1, 6-3.
Top-seeded Monica Seles and Miami's Mary Joe Fernandez (7) reached the third round. Seles defeated Sabine Appelmans 6-3, 6-2, and Fernandez bounced Nanna Dahlman 7-5, 6-2.
Gigi Fernandez nearly quit in the final set of her first-round match. Down 0-3 to Donna Faber and bothered by a pulled quadriceps muscle, Fernandez thought about retiring.
''I didn't quit because this is Wimbledon ,'' said Fernandez, 28. ''If it had been any other tournament, I would have.''
Fernandez rallied to beat Faber and keep her date with Wimbledon's first Japanese seed.
It was an upset, in that Fernandez is a serve-and-volleyer and Date does not like grass.
''I beat her before on hardcourt, and I knew she was not happy on grass,'' Fernandez said. ''I felt good about playing her.''
Sanchez's was another upset. Sanchez won the French Open on clay, but she doesn't do well on grass. Sanchez has reached the quarterfinals twice, but she has also lost in the first round three times.
''It's better to play her on grass than on clay, because on clay she can win,'' said Halard, a 21-year-old Frenchwoman who had lost two matches to Sanchez on other surfaces.
''You have to concentrate 100 percent on grass, and I was not there 100 percent,'' Sanchez said. ''That is why I lost the match.''
Like Mary Joe, Gigi Fernandez has Miami ties. She was born in Puerto Rico and lived in Miami until moving to Aspen, Colo., three years ago.
''It's very peaceful in Aspen,'' she said. ''Miami made me homesick because it was so much like Puerto Rico.''
Fernandez is highly regarded as a doubles player -- she won the French Open with Natalia Zvereva and was ranked No. 1 at one time last year -- but she could do some more damage in singles.
Fernandez faces Claudia Porwik of Germany in the third round, but with a victory, she could get a shot at Seles. Fernandez reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals last year, her best Grand Slam singles result, before losing to Seles 6-1, 6-2. Fernandez would love to take her chances on grass.
''Grass suits my game,'' said Fernandez, who is ranked No. 26 in singles. ''I serve-and-volley, and the ball shoots through a little bit faster on grass.''
Fernandez can equal her best Wimbledon -- the fourth round in 1987 -- with another victory.
''I don't know if Wimbledon is my favorite tournament, but it is the most prestigious Grand Slam,'' she said. '' Wimbledon is the ultimate in tennis. Everyone grows up dreaming of playing here. It's very special.''
Fernandez will keep playing at Wimbledon -- she has women's doubles and mixed doubles -- as long as her leg holds up.
''It gets better and better each day,'' she said.
Fernandez pulled the muscle during a doubles match at Eastbourne last week.
''I've been praying for rain all week. I'm the only player at Wimbledon who wants rain.''