Graf, Hingis, Wiesner Are Winners
NEW YORK (AP) _ Top-seeded Steffi Graf and No. 16 Martina Hingins grabbed fourth-round spots at the U.S Open in straight sets today.
But, neither won as quickly as Austrian Judith Wiesner, who needed only 49 minutes to vanquish her third-round foe, Petra Langrova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-0.
Graf, the defending champion, stayed on Stadium Court two minutes short of an hour to defeat a familiar foe, Natasha Zvereva of Belarus, 6-4, 6-2, while Hingis needed 1:08 to oust Japan’s Naoko Kijimuta 6-2, 6-2.
In the first men’s match to be completed, No. 13 Thomas Enqvist of Sweden became the first to reach the fourth round when he defeated Ecuador’s Pablo Campana 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Times have changed since Zvereva was blasted by Graf 6-0, 6-0 in their first meeting, the 1988 French Open final. But not that much.
Zvereva has never beaten the world’s top-ranked player in their 16 meetings, although she has come much closer than in Paris eight years ago.
Today, it was Zvereva who struck first, breaking Graf in the opening game and taking a 4-2 lead. But Graf reeled off the next four games to capture the opening set and put to rest any thoughts of a Zvereva upset.
``She can play some great games,″ Graf said of Zvereva. ``She’ll try some crazy things. Some times they work, sometimes they don’t.″
As usual, Zvereva was her own worst enemy, committing 26 unforced errors, twice as many as her German opponent. And Zvereva had six double faults to go along with two aces. Graf has two aces and one double.
Hingis proved to be the steady one in their baseline battle. Kijumuta committed 32 unforced errors against just 14 winners. Hingis, at 15 the youngest player in the draw, had 21 winners and 17 unforced errors.
For Stefan Edberg, the beat goes on.
Playing in the final Grand Slam tournament of his career, the soft-spoken Edberg is in the third round after his opponent, Germany’s Bernd Karbacher, retired in the fourth set Friday night because of a pulled left hamstring. Even before the match was halted, Edberg clearly dominating.
``I’ll take it. A win is a win,″ Edberg said after being awarded the victory 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 1-0, retired.
Among others posting second-round victories Friday were top-seeded Pete Sampras, No. 4 Goran Ivanisevic and No. 12 Todd Martin. Gone is 17th-seeded Felix Mantilla of Spain, ousted by France’s Guy Forget 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.
A seed also tumbled out of the women’s draw. No. 15 Gabriela Sabatini, the 1990 U.S. Open champion, lost to Sweden’s Asa Carlsson 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in a third-round match.
Besides Carlsson, fourth-round berths were claimed Friday by top-seeded Monica Seles, No. 4 Conchita Martinez, No. 8 Lindsay Davenport, Sandrine Testud of France, South African Amanda Coetzer and Americans Linda Wild and Lisa Raymond.
Karbacher, wearing a wrap on left thigh, took charge at the start, breaking the error-plagued Edberg in the fourth game en route to a 4-1 lead. Edberg consistently either slammed the ball into the net or sailed it long or wide.
When Karbacher, who ended Ivan Lendl’s Grand Slam career in the 1994 U.S. Open, broke Edberg’s serve again to begin the second set, it appeared as if the two-time winner of America’s premier tennis tournament was playing in his last match at the National Tennis Center.
But in the next game, Edberg rifled a backhand down the line that skipped off the court deep in the corner. It seemed to be the first groundstroke of the night to be successful and brought back memories of when the Swede was ranked No. 1 in the world. The winner wasn’t the last.
``I didn’t really feel good to begin with, had problems find the timing on the ball, seeing the ball,″ Edberg said. ``I had to fight hard. I had to work hard. It’s one of these matches that you sometimes need to come through.″
That, he did.
The two traded service breaks in the second and third games of the second set before Karbacher held for a 3-1 lead. Edberg then reeled off five straight games to level the match at one set apiece.
``I really had big problems in the beginning, finding my timing and seeing the ball. I have not played at night in over three weeks. But things got better towards the end,″ Edberg said. ``I was attacking the ball and doing much better.″
The crowd, solidly behind the Swede with the stylish serve-and-volley game, sensed Edberg was on a roll. He began hitting his first serves. His volleys became crisp and sharply angled. His groundstrokes landed deep in Karbacher’s end of the court.
It was vintage Edberg.
In the third set, Karbacher called for the trainer and received treatment during the changeovers after the third and fifth games. By then, Edberg was in high gear and Karbacher visibly limited in his movement, although still hitting solidly every ball he could reach.
Edberg began the fourth set with two aces, his fourth and fifth of the night. A forehand crosscourt gave him a 40-0 lead, and when he won the next point easily, Karbacher walked to the net to congratulate the winner.
``I think I sort of expected something to happen because of the way he was moving,″ Edberg said of the retirement. ``I knew he had a problem with something. I wasn’t really surprised because these things happen to you once in a while.″
Seles began the night session with an easy 6-0, 6-2 romp over Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar. Seles won the first 11 games of the match before losing her serve to her 19-year-old opponent. After Randriantefy held, Seles then closed out the victory.