1989 Virginia Slims of Indian Wells : Mandlikova on track in comeback

Indian Wells tennis tournament in 1989, Hana returns to ’85 form enters Slims semifinals

Virginia Slims of Indian Wells : On the edge but still winning!

First round vs AKIKO KIJUMITA

Palm Springs Hana Mandlikova Indian Wells
Palm Springs Hana Mandlikova Indian Wells

Hana Mandlikova, who has a head start on Tracy Austin in the comeback department, continued her recent habit of playing on the edge and still winning. Mandlikova needed three sets to defeat qualifier Akiko Kijimuta in a first-round match, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Ranked No. 51 in the world, Mandlikova is playing in her fifth tournament since coming back from a sixth-month hiatus. Since then, she has played 15 matches and eight of them have gone three sets. Mandlikova has won all the three-set matches.

“You don’t win 8-0 in three-set matches unless you’re a fighter,” said Mike Estep, Mandlikova’s coach.

Only four years ago the No. 3 player in the world, Mandlikova will play top-seeded Chris Evert in the first match on Stadium Court today. Mandlikova has already played and lost to No. 2 Martina Navratilova twice and to No. 1 Steffi Graf once in 1989.

“I’m not thinking, ‘Hana, you’re back,’ because it takes a long time,” Mandlikova said. “I have to accept that. I have to tough it out and maybe lose some matches.”

Virginia Slims of Indian Wells :  Mandlikova Upsets Evert in Three Sets

Second round vs CHRIS EVERT

In women’s tennis, some things are guaranteed. They are accepted as such indisputable truths that, when mentioned, rows of heads nod in agreement. Truth is: —Steffi Graf hitting a forehand winner from anywhere. —Gabriela Sabatini hitting a looping forehand shot with topspin at the baseline. —Chris Evert winning at match point. But truth took a beating here Wednesday under a relentless hot sun at Hyatt Grand Champions, where Evert had match point against Hana Mandlikova, then wound up losing in the second round of the Virginia Slims of Indian Wells, 3-6, 7-6, 6-0.
For Evert, it was like discovering that everything she knew was wrong. The last time Evert held match point and lost? Try 1975.
Evert reacted typically. “I could kick myself,” she said.

Palm Springs Chris Evert 1989 US Open

Mandlikova had already managed to do that, putting together one of her patented performances–alternating currents of brilliance and boo-boos.

But: if she was inspired Mandlikova didn’t play like it at the start She lost the first four games double-faulting three times in two service games Mandlikova managed a small rally pulling to within 4-3 before Evert closed out the set “I was a little nervous in the first set” Mandlikova admitted “I started to play hotter in the second I concentrated much better” Mandlikova took a 3-0 second-set lead before Evert rebounded to reach match point

But Evert trying to come back from a layoff herself couldn’t finish her off She sandwiched a Mandlikova cross-court winner with two wide backhand shots and the set was tied at 5-5

Mandlikova gained the advantage with a backhand volley winner, then broke serve on the next point when Evert missed yet again with her backhand. Once they got to the tiebreaker, Mandlikova was in control.

But she said she usually feels this way about tiebreakers. “I feel I own them,” she said.

Evert could scarcely rent a point. Mandlikova took a 4-0 lead and coasted in, 7-2.

It got worse for Evert in the third set, which was littered with three more service breaks and two of her four foot faults. So, after one match, the top-seeded player is no longer around.

Evert took her defeat with grace, but she did not go quietly.

“This is one match I’ll think about for a while,” Chris Evert said. “There aren’t many matches where I have match point and lose.”

Once (Mandlikova) was back in the match, she got confidence and played great. I really should never have let her back in the match.”

Evert, 34, was playing only her third match–her second tournament of the year, actually–since the Virginia Slims Championships last November. Evert thought her lack of match play had hurt her, perhaps as much as Mandlikova had. “It’s my second tournament in three months and that was my choice,” Evert said. “I’m paying the consequences right now.”

Three years ago, a match between Evert and Mandlikova would have made a pretty good semifinal. Actually, three years ago it was exactly that. They met in the semifinals on the clay at the French Open and on the grass at Wimbledon. But when they met on the hard court on a sunny Wednesday, they were playing only a second-round match, the result of a draw that paired the top-seeded Evert against the unseeded Mandlikova.

Playing me in the second round is very, very tough,” said a “modest” Mandlikova.

She extended her record in three-set matches this year to 9-0.

Now five tournaments into her comeback after a six-month absence from the tour, Mandlikova’s ranking of No. 51 could improve to No. 20 or better if she wins the tournament.

Mike Estep, Mandlikova’s coach, said her ranking will improve soon, regardless. “But she’s close to a top-10 player right now,” he said.

Evert said that Mandlikova looks pretty much the same to her, comeback or not, then gave Mandlikova sort of a two-fisted backhand compliment.

I think she’s still the same player,” Evert said. “She still makes errors. She still gives opponents free points, but she can still look spectacular.”

Palm Springs Hana Mandlikova Indian Wells
Palm Springs Hana Mandlikova Indian Wells

Tennis historians will note that the last time Chris Evert lost when she had match point was in the final of the 1975 Virginia Slims of Washington against Martina Navratilova. Oddly, it was match point for both players at 4-4 in the third-set tiebreaker. At that time, the nine-point tiebreakers did not have to be won by two points. . . .

This is very much a significant win for me,’

said Mandlikova, who has won just seven of 28 meetings with Evert. ‘Beating Chris is great and exciting, but the level which I played is also good. It gives me lots of confidence.

‘Today was the first time I felt like I was playing at the level before I stopped.’

Mandlikova, who advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals to play the winner of Thursday’s match between Frenchwomen Isabelle Demongeot and No. 8 seed Nathalie Tauziat, has won her last nine three-set matches

A BRILLIANT MANDLIKOVA in Virginia Slims of Indian Wells



The tennis career of Hana Mandlikova has been one marked by flashes of brilliance and one deteriorated by lapses of futility; Friday Mandlikova was brilliant; The former top-five player swept aside Isabelle Demongeot 6-3 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Slims of Indian Wells with play reminiscent of her 1985 form when she captured the US Open;

There were lapses by Mandlikova, including five double faults, but for the most part she was spectacular. A wicked forehand, a lethal backhand, a formidable serve-and-volley game and the ability to rise to the challenge at the most important points reminded many of her ’85 form.

I really didn’t do anything wrong” said Mandlikova, who is currently ranked 51st. “I’m not looking ahead. It’s not important for me to worry about who is in the draw. I concentrate on my game, on myself and I don’t worry “You know don’t worry be happy”

For the record Mandlikova faces Jenny Byrne in one of today’s semifinals. Byrne ousted third-seeded Pam Shriver on Friday. Mandlikova, who has captured four Grand Slam singles titles and won more than $3 million is on the comeback trail after taking the final six months off in 1988. The 10-year veteran had become physically and mentally tired of the grinding circuit. If Mandlikova turns in any more performances like Friday’s, it won’t be long before She’s back in the top 10 or even the top five.

I’m pretty simple but I’m also pretty complicated” Mandlikova said.

“I have a new coach and I’ve made a change mentally, especially with my confidence, and my concentration was very good. I was able to concentrate through the whole two sets, that’s very good for me”

She seems to be concentrating on her comeback with similar success. In her three prior tournaments to Indian Wells, the only players to beat her have been Martina Navratilova (twice) and Steffi Graf. Before Friday’s match she had knocked top-seeded Chris Evert out of the Indian Wells tournament.

Friday’s match was a statistical mismatch. Mandlikova got 34 of her 59 first serves in and won 28 of those points. She came to the net 30 times for 23 winning points.

On the other side was Demongeot, who couldn’t find a first serve. The unseeded player from France could only put in 30 of 75 first serves and that was the match.

When I’m serving well I’m playing well” Demongeot said. “I had some trouble with my serving. She comes to the net too well, you have to get the first serve in all the time”

Demongeot feels Mandlikova can win the tournament :

“She had good concentration today and she’s confident” Demongeot said.

“She’s more confident than five years ago, more positive. She played each point tough and she’s tough at the moment. She has a great backhand at the moment and always puts on the pressure. She keeps her concentration she has a good chance of winning”

Byrne took control over resurgent Mandlikova in Virginia Slims of Indian Wells tournament

Semifinals vs JENNY BYRNE

Having reached the semi-finals after beating Chris Evert, among others, it looked as if Hana Mandlikova‘s path to the final was wide open.

But Jenny Byrne, her Australian compatriot, who defeated Pam Shriver on her way from qualifying, didn’t allow her to take control of the match.

Jenny byrne
enny byrne

The indecisive first set ended with Byrne winning the tie-break by 7 points to 4.

Although Hana didn’t give up in the second set, she made too many errors to make up for the break, and Byrne won the match 7-6 6-4, to face Manuela Maleeva in the final.

Despite this unexpected defeat in the singles draw, Hana Mandlikova is getting closer and closer to her true level, and is in a position to worry the top 5.

Mandlikova serve up doubles title with Shriver

Record intact for Shriver and Mandlikova

Pam Shriver and Hana Mandlikova kept their perfect record intact Sunday afternoon with a 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory in the doubles’ final of the Virginia Slims of Indian Wells.

Shriver and Mandlikova had played as doubles partners just once before, in Stuttgart West Germany in 198.5 They won that tournament title as well.

We weren’t sure we were going to play together here until maybe an hour before tournament entries dosed” Shriver told the crowd after she and Mandlikova defeated the team of Gretchen Magers and Rosalyn Fairbank.

Sometimes that’s the best way to form partnerships”

Pam was giving me grief all week” Mandlikova said. “I hadn’t played in six months so my doubles ranking slipped to 109, so she was giving me grief for being unseeded”

A Shaky start for the US-Australian team

The Mandlikova-Shriver pairing started off shakily. In the first round they needed three sets and two tiebreakers to win their first match.

“We had no business getting past the first round” Shriver said Sunday.

In the final though Shriver and Mandlikova started quickly dominating Magers-Fairbank with their aggressive serve-and-volley game. Shriver held serve for the final game of the 6-3 first- set victory, her third service game victory of the set. Her serve would remain unbroken through eight games in the match.

In the second set the rallies grew longer as Magers-Fairbank defused the power game. Whichever team served dictated the tempo and the set went to 6-6 without a break. Magers-Fairbank took the tie- breaker 7-4 and started the third set by breaking Mandlikova’s serve for a 1-0 lead.

Shriver-Mandlikova broke back though and the match finally turned when they added a second service break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead.

It was simply a matter of serving out the match and Mandlikova-Shriver did just that to take the $15000 first-place check.

Doubles is just practice, practice, practice — knowing when to lob, when to pass, when to take the net” Shriver said. “It was amazing She (Mandlikova) caught on so well”.

Shriver Mandlikova Indian Wells
Shriver Mandlikova Indian Wells
Shriver Mandlikova Indian Wells
Shriver Mandlikova Indian Wells

SLIMS NOTEBOOK : ATTENDANCE: Sunday’s final day drew a crowd of 3681 That left total attendance for the tournament at 20644 an average of 2949 for each of the seven days …LONG ROAD: In order to make it to the finals of the Virginia Slims of Indian Wells singles runner-up Jenny Byrne had to win seven straight matches -three in the qualifying tournament and four this week. By making it to the finals she became the first qualifier to reach the finals of a Virginia Slims Series event since 1985…. DOUBLES VISION: Pam Shriver, when asked what she thought of the singles final between Manuela Maleeva and Byrne, said: “I didn’t watch a point” …AD COURT: At one point in the doubles final, Shriver lost track of the serve and lined up on the wrong side of the court.After correcting herself, she shrugged her shoulders, drawing laughter from the crow. Shriver then turned and prepared to serve – facing the crowd. The joke over she promptly served one of her three aces in the final on the next point.

Article compiled from : Los Angeles Times, U.P.I., The Desert Sun



  • Palm Springs, Cal. – March 6-12, 1989
  • $250,000 – Hyatt Grand Champions Resort – Hardcourt


  • R1 : + Akiko Kijumita (Q) 3-6 6-3 6-2
  • R2 : + Chris Evert (1) 3-6 7-6(4) 6-0
  • QF : + Isabelle Demongeot 6-3 6-3
  • SF : – Jenny Byrne 6-7(4) 4-6

/ Pam Shriver

  • R1 : + Mercedes Paz/ Tina Scheuer-Larsen 6-7 7-6 7-5
  • QF : + Cammy and Cynthia MacGregor 6-4 3-6 6-3
  • SF : + Isabelle Demongeot/ Nathalie Tauziat 6-3 7-5
  • F : + Rosalyn Fairbank/ Gretchen Magers 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3