U.S. and Netherlands split first 2 Federation Cup matches Rubin wins, Fernandez loses in opening singles

March 02, 1997|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

HAARLEM, Netherlands -- Martina Navratilova was relieved to finish her first day as U.S. Federation Cup captain with a split of the first two matches in her country's first-round series yesterday with the Netherlands.

The United States was playing without its top two stars, Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport, who declined to compete in the first round, so Chanda Rubin and Mary Joe Fernandez opened the defense of the United States' 1996 Fed Cup title. Rubin came through; Fernandez stumbled.

"This was nerve-racking," said Navratilova, who was 28-0 in Fed Cup play. "I wanted to jump out there and play a few of those points. But on the whole, our women played a lot better than I could have today."

Rubin, the world's No. 25, rallied to overtake Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Earlier in the day, the Netherlands' Miriam Oremans had brought 3,500 spirited fans to their feet by stunning Fernandez, 6-1, 6-4, in the No. 2 singles match.

"We were never in the first match, and then Chanda's match was a must-win situation, Navratilova said.

"We had expected the reverse results today, but I'm just relieved that we came out with at least one victory."

The competition will end today with the reverse singles and with the doubles between Mary Joe Fernandez and Gigi Fernandez and the Dutch team of Schultz-McCarthy and Manon Bollegraf.

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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