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Zawacki defeats Stafford, will meet Seles in second round

July 16, 1997

MAHWAH, N.J. (AP) _ On Sunday, Terry Ann Zawacki was battling in a qualifier just to get into the A&P Tennis Classic. On Tuesday, she earned a chance to play Monica Seles.

Zawacki, a two-time state champion at Union High School and twice an All-America at Wake Forest, took just 45 minutes to defeat Shaun Stafford Beckish 6-1, 6-0 in the opening match of the exhibition tournament at the Crossroads Corporate Center.

She will play the top-seeded Seles, the third-ranked player in the world, in the second round on Thursday night.

``I’m speechless,″ Zawacki said. ``I didn’t think that I’d ever be playing against her. I’ve always looked up to her. I’ve always thought she was great both off and on the court. She’s a great player. It’s just thrilling to be playing against someone who was No. 1 in the world at one time and probably will be again.″

Stafford Beckish, 29, was ranked in the top 50 in the world in 1990 and took Martina Navratilova to three sets in the 1992 U.S. Open.

Having retired after losing in the first round of last year’s French Open and no longer in top playing shape, Stafford Beckish, of Durham, N.C., had the most trouble when Zawacki made her move. On-court temperatures that reached 120 degrees didn’t help Stafford Beckish.

Zawacki, 23, broke her serve in the first and third games of the match and didn’t look back.

``She was too patient and made me run too much,″ Stafford Beckish said. ``That was the bottom line.″

In other first-round matches Tuesday, Mary Carlisle White defeated Katie Schlukibir 6-3, 7-5; Stephanie Chi downed Olivia Dubovikov 6-2, 6-4; Angela Lettiere beat Louise Pleming 6-0, 6-2; and Kathy Rinaldi-Stunkel trounced qualifier Anastasia Pozdniakova 6-1, 6-0.

Because of the heat, all the players involved were glad their matches did not go three sets.

``This is the hottest it’s been in a long time for me,″ said the 25-year-old Lettiere, who grew up in Florida and now lives in Vera Beach, Calif. ``The second I walked out on the court, I couldn’t stop thinking about how hot it was.″