Upsets clear way for Graf, Sanchez

September 03, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- If you're an optimist, the depth in women's tennis was evident yesterday in the third round of the U.S. Open. If you're not, the women's draw just got a whole lot easier for No. 1 seed Steffi Graf and No. 2 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Conchita Martinez, surprise winner at Wimbledon and the No. seed, was upset by 40th-ranked Ginger Helgeson, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, and No. 6 seed Mary Joe Fernandez fell to 36th-ranked Anne Grossman, 6-4, 6-4.

"I've been so tense," said Grossman. "But I got help. I got a lot ohate out and now I'm free. I know it sounds funny, but I've been working on loving myself."

She said she has been working on it since the death of hefather, Bill, three years ago.

"My dad used to be really hard on me," said Grossman, 23. "When I won, I was great, and when I lost, I was nothing. . . . Dad believed in working hard. He believed I had to practice six hours a day and he verbally abused me.

"After he died, I got help and I know Dad didn't know any better. I love him to death. I wouldn't be here without him because he gave me so much. But parents -- they have to know when to back off."

She nearly cried, but choked it back and smiled.

"I know Mary Joe has had health problems and is working to geback where she was," Grossman said. "But when I played her in the past, the matches were close. So it's time I took her down."

Grossman said she was frustrated for several years feeling shwas stuck with a No. 50 ranking.

"I thought I hit the ball as well as the other women out there, but couldn't improve my ranking," she said. "Finally, when I just let up on myself, got the hate out and started to practice just an hour and half a day and enjoy it, my play finally started to improve."

Moving ahead

No. 2 woman's seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario moved into the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Sandra Cecchini, and No. 8 Gabriela Sabatini had an even easier time with Isabelle Demongeot, 6-0, 6-2.

Kimiko Date, the unheralded fifth seed, also advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Lisa Raymond.

Shriver plays on

Pam Shriver and Liz Smylie, the No. 4 women's doubles seed, won their first match easily against Kerry-Anne Guse and Shannon McCarthy, 6-3, 6-3.

When in doubt, call Mac

Andre Agassi eventually won his match against Guy Forget late Thursday night, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2. But he needed an assist from USA Network commentator John McEnroe.

Agassi had been up two sets and 5-2 in the third set but couldn'close it out. So when he again found himself fighting off break points while up 5-2 in the fourth and serving for the match, he walked to the side of the court with the score at deuce and yelled: "Hey, John, what do I do?"

McEnroe, critical of Agassi's serve all night, yelled back, "Serve hard one down the middle."

Agassi did. It was an ace that brought the score to match point.

Agassi walked to the corner again.

"Now what, John?"

"Down the middle."

"OK."

Agassi served, the ball went down the middle but long. McEnrothen said go wide. Agassi did, and won the point and the match.

Afterward, Agassi said he couldn't hear McEnroe's answers.

"Me and John have this telepathy thing going," he said. "I ask him where I should serve, I do what he says and I win the point. I can't verbally hear him, but I did know where he wanted me to serve."

Is he serious?

"Sure I'm serious," he said.

He'd rather be golfing

"I've come to enjoy it here, because I've learned how to win here," said two-time Open champion Stefan Edberg. "But I enjoy golfing better because you can go out and see nature and see some trees. Nine holes. Two hours. Get away from all these tennis buildings."

Edberg, seeded No. 5, had time to golf yesterday, breezing through his morning match against Jeff Tarango, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

No. 4 seed Michael Stich could have made it a twosome, enjoying an equally easy day against Steve Bryan, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Sampras supreme, again

Daniel Vacik played well last night, but Pete Sampras was better.

Sampras, the world's No. 1 player for the past 51 weeks, moved into the third round with an efficient 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

"I got a bit careless on the last point to close it out," Sampras said. "And my return of serve was poor tonight. It will have to be better Sunday. I'm relieved to get through to the next round."

After the upset of Andrei Medvedev yesterday, there is no seeded player standing between Sampras and the semifinals.

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