Daily News from New York, New York on September 1, 1988 · 88
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Daily News from New York, New York · 88

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 1, 1988
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88 O DAILY SPORTS NEWS Thursdav. Sentember 1. 1988 Graf begins slam quest with romp By HARVEY ARATON Deny News Sports lAater Your name? "Elizabeth Minter." "Twenty-three." From? "Melbourne. That's Melbourne, Australia." Ranking? "Uh, 95, last I heard." That's all, you may go. "I was just going to go out and have a good time," Elizabeth Minter said after being dismissed from the first round of the U.S. Open by Steffi Graf, 6-1, 6-1, yesterday at the National Tennis Center. "I wasn't going out expecting to win. It's on video. Something to show the grand-kids." Forty-two minutes worth, unless they taped the warm-ups. On at 1:14, off at 1:56. Kids, that was grandma chasing the yellow blur. This is what Elizabeth Minter has to go away thinking: that she is no worse than anyone else Graf is going to play here this week, except that she has rotten luck. That she came out swinging in the first round, and there was Frauline Tyson getting off the stool- Start of Grand journey - Minter yesterday was the first step for Graf to the Grand Slam, another reason to put it on film. Graf has won everything this year except for a couple of matches against her contemporary, Gabriela Sabatini. She won the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon. She's No. 1 in everyone's rankings, including Martina. Navratilova's. She's also won 29 straight matches going into this afternoon's heavily anticipated showdown with Manon Bollegraf of The Netherlands. So it's American men had a good day yesterday at the U.S. Open. No. 4 Andre Agassi struggled for a set against a qualifier named Philip Johnson before winning, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-3. No. 6 Jimmy Connors blew away Agustin Moreno of Mexico, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Unseeded 17-year-old Michael Chang, one of the upcoming U.S. players, ousted Luiz Mattar of Brazil, 6-4,6-3,7-5. One casualty was 15-year-old Tommy Ho of Winter Haven, Fla. Ho, who succeeded Chang as this year's National Juniors champ, was beaten by Johart Kriek, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5). Araton pretty much been decided that no one is going to ruin the West German's plans. "How will you feel if you win the Grand Slam?" Graf was asked .yesterday at her press conference by someone who figured, why wait through six more of these? Graf said, "Tell me if I did it, and then ask me." Praise from her rival Minter was more cooperative with that one. She said, quite matter-of-factly, "I don't think she is going to lose. Sabatini probably has the best shot against her, but Steffi hits the ball harder than anybody I have ever played. "I played Martina at the Australian Open, and judging on those two matches, I'd say Graf was a lot better. I was in a lot of the rallies more with Martina. It feels as though it's a different class playing Graf." Every time you look up, Graf seems to be hitting a rocket that just keeps rolling. She runs into the corners and sends would-be winners back twice as fast Would-be winners? Minter hit a couple of those yesterday. They all came back. She finished the match with: Forehand winners: 0 Backhand winners: 0 Total placement winners: 0. "I got two games," she said. "That is pretty good." She smiled a lot for a one-and-one loser. Her attitude was refreshingly, what can . you do? She said she thought about a game plan, figured she would have her best chance attacking the net. Then Graf wound up a couple of big forehands, and Minter decided, "Hey, your number comes up once in a while." She has an older sister, Anne, who won her first-round match over Wendy Turnbull. Soon, Elizabeth will let Anne worry about the Grafs of the world. She will retire, probably at the end of the year, and hopes to find a safer way to make a living. She wants to be a journalist Chris Evert, seeded third, started her 18th U.S. Open with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Spain's Conchita Martinez. Of Graf and the pursuit of the Slam, she said, "I think she is handling it great Steffi is, very gracious. The only time when she has not been gracious is when Martina said she was No. 1. Sometimes Martina gets on that subject too much, but Steffi is a very mature, wise girl. She isn't nervous at alL" Oh. J . I t - i ' J& 'II ii "M-iif"--i-"Y--l.ini:.-y. -wwShwrtMWrtfe , - " fc. -" 1 r . , ' ' ' tr' : " v- r v - , I OPEN EYES: Ivan Lendl follows path of his return to Amos Mansdorf. - dan farreu. daily news TENNIS FROM PAGE 75 the first set and was broken in four of his first six service games. Mansdorf dropped the first set in less than 30 minutes. He was down, 0-1, in the second set after double-faulting the final point away and 1-3 after failing to take advantage of 0-30 in the fourth game. But in the fifth game, he staved off two break points to hold serve. He broke Lendl in the the sixth game, and in the eighth he again fought off two break points. "The sets I won," Mansdorf said, "I worked very hard for. The sets he won, he was always ahead and cruising. But I think he's as good as he ever was." "I'm glad it's behind me," Lendl said. "It's extremely difficult for me to play at night . . . and to play someone who can play like Amos . . . someone who can take advantage if you're not at the top of your game." Next up for Lendl is Jay Berger, a 21-year-old who was born in Fort Dix, N.J. but now lives in Plantation, Fla. NOTES - Helena Sukova, No. 7 seed, beat Lisa Bonder-Kriess last night, 6-1, 6-4. . . . Ivan Lendl has won 22 consecutive matches at the Open since losing to John McEnroe in the 1984 final. LUP1CA FROM PAGE 75 at the '88 U.S. Open. - "Being an American hope," Agassi said, "boils down to two things, (winning) the Open and Davis Cup." Agassi, of course, understands that American tennis fans don't just want him to win. Swedes win. Lendl wins. They want him to be a star. Like Connors and McEnroe have been stars. Agassi's shot officially began yesterday with an official U.S. Open win, in New York, because that's just the way it goes. Agassi seems to think he is up to the job. When he was asked if he thinks he can win the Open, Agassi said, "No, I'm just here for the heck of it" And when someone else asked why Agassi plays to the crowd as much as he does or tries to do Agassi looked at the man and sassed, "Why do you wear an orange shirt with brown pants?'' ; , t vRight now, he jsa kid with a big- forehand and long hair who chews a bit too much on the furniture as he tries to be a star. He blows kisses to the crowd. In a Davis Cup match in Argentina, he thought it was a cute idea to catch his opponent's serve. Got booed. Got booed plenty. Yesterday, he grunted into some, big forehands against a qualifier named Phil Johnson, then grunted the same way on a drop shot The joke sounded tinny, or just coarse. But he is 18, and he is not grabbing his crotch or spitting vulgarity. If he keeps winning, he'll get the act right He's never going to have Elvis in him, the way Connors does. Still, he is having some fun. "It (the show) is not something that's an effort for me to keep up," Agassi said. "It's not a facade." And he said, "I like the vibes I get from the people. They seem to enjoy what I'm doing." He got out of the interview room with his rackets, and a red rose a female admirerer had given him as he came .off the court. Steffi Graf beat a woman named Elizabeth Minter in the stadium. Then Connors came out and when he came out it was like the Open shook itself awake. "They get a charge out of me, I get a charge out of them," Connors said after dispatching Augustin Moreno 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. "I just don't show (as much emotion) as I used to because it takes too much out of me." It has been nearly 20 years since he was the Hot Boy. He has just that one tournament win (last month in Washington, D.C.) to show for the last few years. His feet hurt He is 36. Everything changes at Louis Armstrong Stadium. I hope he gets to play Agassi. He was asked about the kid at his interview. "When a young guy comes along with something to give besides good tennis, it's good for the game," Connors said. It was tepid, but then Connors is probably thinking about next week already. "I'm just trying to get my teeth into the tournament," Connors said. "I was satisified with the way I played today, but I won't be satisified if I play that way tomorrow." It has been the same way with Connors for an awfully long time. 'E HAS BEEN vulgar, and the New York crowds didn't care. He has been a con man: if Agassi is a con man, too, he will be in there with the champ next week in the quarterfinals. He has gotten older, and the people have stayed with him. He hit jump-hook overheads yesterday, and the people yelled. He hit backhand service returns for howling winners. The New York people yelled. When Connors could not reach the ball, he leaned over into the stands and asked for advice from a fan. It all played fine. And Agassi, if he stayed around to watch and listen, found out what a lot of others have found out in the 10 years since that shot against Pan-atta: Louis Armstrong. Stadium still wants to make a giant of Connors, and wants to dwarf everybody else.;

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