Zvereva's startling default ends wait for Sanchez Vicario U.S. OPEN

September 09, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- A long day's wait at the National Tennis Center for her quarterfinal match to begin turned into a short night's work on Stadium Court for women's No. 2 seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

After lounging around the locker room for nearly eight hours waiting for the rain to stop and the courts to dry, Sanchez Vicario played just 10 minutes before her opponent, Natalia Zvereva of Belarus, retired because of illness last night.

Leading 3-0, Sanchez Vicario was startled during a changeover when Zvereva put on her warm-ups, shook Sanchez Vicario's hand and told her that she was through for the night.

"I was waiting to have a good match," Sanchez Vicario said. "I didn't think it was going to be so fast."

Sanchez Vicario, 21, of Spain, spent the day reading and listening to music to the point where "my eyes were tired and my hearing was going. . . . I think that is a long time to wait, eight hours to play three games."

The default by Zvereva put Sanchez Vicario into tomorrow's semifinal against No. 12 Helen Sukova of the Czech Republic, who defeated Katarina Maleeva, 6-4, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3 last night. In the other semifinal, top-seeded Steffi Graf plays No. 11 Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere.

Zvereva, who was playing in the Open quarterfinals for the first time, said that she has been suffering from an upper-respiratory condition for the past few days for which she received treatment.

"Overall my body aches," she said at a news conference last night. "I'm very weak and I feel very, very hot and congested. I was praying for it to keep raining so that I could come out tomorrow and give her a better fight."

And Zvereva, 21, wanted to make something perfectly clear.

"I did not tank," said Zvereva, who has been known to give up in matches that seem lost.

But Zvereva, who along with partner Gigi Fernandez is going for a Grand Slam in doubles and their sixth straight Grand Slam title, said she might have had second thoughts had they been scheduled to play doubles last night.

Under rules of the International Tennis Federation, a player who defaults in singles on the same night he or she is scheduled to play doubles is automatically defaulted from the other match as well.

"I would have stayed out there and been losing really bad," said Zvereva, who didn't seem particularly distressed about defaulting.

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