Courier, Martin in 4th round Friends to meet in French Open

June 02, 1991|By Robin Finn | Robin Finn,New York Times News Service

PARIS -- Every day in Paris they share a practice court, th stocky red-haired player who's seeded ninth at the French Open and the big former Northwestern University star who needed to qualify just to be here.

And every night they eat the same thing in the same place at the same time; tennis players, regardless of their status, seem to be creatures of habit.

Jim Courier, one of the clay-court artisans with legitimate designs on winning this Grand Slam event, always allows his friend Todd Martin, a Grand Slam and clay-court novice who retains a smattering of French from his days as a linguistics major, to do the ordering.

" 'Spaghetti Bolognese avec beaucoup de Bolognese' -- that's his big line," said Courier, who made it into the French Open's fourth round yesterday for the third consecutive year after surviving a five-set scare from Magnus Larsson of Sweden, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

But Martin took a hard line on a chilly afternoon on which top seeds Stefan Edberg and Monica Seles advanced easily.

Martin faced the Netherlands' Paul Haarhuis, who eliminated eighth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic in the second round and is ranked 53rd, a full 190 spots ahead of Martin.

Haarhuis found it improbable that he couldn't defend himself against Martin's serve and baseline winners, but he fell nonetheless, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, to a hard-court stylist who won just once on clay before coming here.

The respective achievements of Courier and Martin have set up a curious scenario, one that won't affect their dinner plans but will cancel their practice sessions until further notice.

Tomorrow, in a development that has come as a surprise to both 20-year-old Americans, they'll be together again, but they'll be adversaries for the first time.

Edberg had two tiny lapses in his third-round match against Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union, but he reversed a pair of 1-3 deficits in the second and third sets to down his uninspired opponent, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.

"I couldn't play much better today," said Edberg, who was eliminated from this event in the first round last year and hasn't won a title on clay since 1986.

the women's side, there were two minor upsets: 16th-seeded Anke Huber of Germany lost to Sandra Cecchini of Italy, 6-3, 6-4.

Helen Kelesi of Canada, ranked 23rd, was eliminated by 32nd-ranked Rachel McQuillan of Australia, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Cecchini, who pronounced herself almost too sore to walk after the victory, next faces Seles, who along with Gabriela Sabatini and Jennifer Capriati advanced into the fourth round in straight sets, again leaving it to the men to provide the drama.

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