As usual, tourney is Open-and-shut case to Korda U.S. Open notebook

August 31, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Petr Korda has proved he can play at most, but not all, of the Grand Slam events in tennis. He reached the final of last year's French Open, losing to Jim Courier. He got as far as the quarterfinals of this year's Australian Open, losing again to Courier. He made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon.

The one blip among the majors for Korda has always been, and continues to be, the U.S. Open. After reaching the final of last week's Open tuneup in New Haven, Conn., the men's ninth seed got blipped again from the Open draw yesterday in a 7-6, (7-2), 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-2 loss to unseeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa.

It marked the fourth time in his five tries at the Open that Korda, a 25-year-old from Czechoslovakia, has lost in the opening round. The result wasn't that big a surprise, considering their respective rankings: Korda was No. 11 coming in, and Ferreira was No. 19.

Considering Korda's poor Open history and the fact that Ferreira reached the quarters here last year before losing to Michael Chang, it certainly couldn't be called an upset. Or could it? "Obviously it is an upset because he is seeded and I am not," said Ferreira, 21. "But I don't feel, I don't think it is [as big] an upset as it looks on paper."

Beepers buzz off

The Great Beeper Controversy was, uh, defused when the U.S. Tennis Association decided last week against using the U.S. Open as a test site for an electronic line-calling system. But that didn't stop players from discussing the potential nightmares it might have produced.

"I don't want to throw egg on the USTA's face. I think they have enough on it already, without testing the system properly before trying it out before a Grand Slam event, and spending a lot of money on it," Martina Navratilova said after her 6-0, 6-1 victory over Gloria Pizzichini of Italy.

According to players who practiced here last week, the electronic beepers were set off by everything from loose forehands to ankle bracelets. The beeper also was overly sensitive to certain brands of tennis shoes. One of those who did try out the system was women's top seed Steffi Graf.

"I am somebody who is not so much into electronics," said Graf. "I prefer to have people sitting on your side because it is just part of tennis."

No complaints now, Steffi.

Tough call for Connors

Speaking of someone who had his share of spats over line calls, Jimmy Connors said yesterday that he nearly accepted a wild-card invitation to play in this year's Open, but had a last-minute collision with reality. Connors, who played in all but one Open since 1970 and won five times, will be 41 Thursday.

"I was close to playing," Connors said after a news conference here to promote his new endorsement contract with Reebok, as well as the over-35 tour he has helped organize. "I had a heart-to-heart talk with myself, and I felt that I've had too many good matches here to leave with anything short of that."

Seed sowing begins

Following a lackluster opening-day program, things get interesting today with as many as 17 seeded players scheduled.

The top three men's seeds will all be on court, starting with two-time defending champion Stefan Edberg opening the morning session and Pete Sampras, the No. 2 seed and 1990 champion, closing out the night session.

Among the women, Lutherville's Pam Shriver will try to beat Amy Frazier for the first time. Shriver, ranked 36th, is 0-3 lifetime against Frazier, a 20-year-old from Rochester Hills, Mich., ranked 81st.

The winner of that match will face No. 4 seed Conchita Martinez of Spain, who beat Sandrine Testud of France last night, 6-2, 6-3.

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