The week on the red clay of Sao Paulo was the confirmation of the excellent season of Hana Mandlikova. She won all of her matches, Singles and doubles, only losing one set in semis to Mima Jausovec from Yougoslavia.
Fianl versus Australia was trapping, as number 2 of the Czech team, Helena Sukova, lost her singles versus Ann Minter. But Hana Mandlikova, in true champion way, trounced through Liz Sayers, 6-1, 6-0, and leaded the doubles to a straight set and final victory .
For the second consecutive year , Hana Mandlikova offered a victory in the Federation Cup to Czechoslovakia, 3rd of its history, first one being in 1975 under the lead of Martina Navratilova.
Brazil, by bringing the tournament to the spacious and leafy environs of the magnificent multi-sport Clube Pinheiros in Sao Paulo, celebrated the first Federation Cup in South America in the 22-year history of the event. A creditable eight-day attendance of 36.222 as well as the exciting results of 14-year-old Argentinian GabrielaSabatini and 18-year-old Silvana Camposof Brazil gave South Americans ample reason for optimism about the game’s future growth on the continent.
The Czechs, with Hana Mandlikova at No. 1 and Helena Sukova at No. 2. retained the title they won last year in Zurich by defeating a gritty Australian side. 2-1. in the final. So dominant were the powerful defending champions that only in the title match were they extended to the final doubles to decide their victory. In the four prior rounds, their No. 2 doubles pairing of Iva Budarova and Marcela Skuherska successfully conducted mopping up operations in identical 3-0 wins over Venezuela.Greece, France and Yugoslavia.
A powerful, attacking U.S. women’s tennis team and a smart, aggressive Czechoslovakian squad were to play weak opponents Tuesday in the second day of eliminations at the $250,000 Federation Tennis Cup. The U.S. team, coached by Tom Gorman, plays Mexico and Czechoslovakia faces Venezuela. “We are lucky to have an easy first-round opponent in Venezuela,” said Hana Mandlikova of Czechoslovakia, the world’s No. 3 woman player. “I’m confident we will push past them.”
In second round action at the Pinheiros Club, Mandlikova handily won her first set against Greece’s Angeliki Kannellopoulos, demonstrating her usual aggressive, creative game and taking it 6-1, but had to struggle to capture the second 7-5.
Hana Mandlikova led Czechoslovakia into.the semifinals of the Federation Cup tennis tournament yesterday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Catherine Tanvier. Mandlikova, ranked No. 3 in the world, built her offense on rocketing serves, consistent volleys.
The two players traded hard serves and aggressive shots close to the net, but Man-dlikova’s game was more coordinated, and she succeeded in getting Tanvier to force many returns. In the second set, the Czech aced her opponent six times.
Bulgaria, with Maleeva sisters and their mother as captain, were supposed to meet Czechs on semis.
When the family lost in the quarterfinals to the experience and resourcefulness of Yugoslavia’s Sabrina Goles and Mima Jausovec, a little magic went out of the tournament and the tantalizing prospect of a No. 1 singles matchup between Manuela Maleeva and Hana Mandlikova in the semifinals died also.
The next day, both Goles and Jausovec were outgunned by Czech opponents with superior fire power, but it is testimony to their growing confidence in the virtues of playing shrewdly within their limitationsthat they forced both matches into three sets. Goles’ 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 defeat to Sukova was a match in which Helena’s nerves finally moved to the other side of the net as the Czech found range on her powerful serve and volley. Although Jausovec lost to Mandlikova, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, from a set and a break up, the way she moved the ball around and the way she nimbly cut the court down to an exercise in angles was clay-court tennis at its most refined.
Even Hana, never at her most gracious after a tough match, paid Jausovec grudging tribute. “It was very difficult conditions. Mima just keeps bringing the ball back, you have to do all the work,” she said.
In the other semifinals, Aussies closed out a stunning victory over the game Americans.
Judy Dalton was convinced that if her side earned a split in the singles against the Czechs in the finals, Australia would fulfill her dream of earning the Davis Cup-Federation Cup double. Minter’s victory over Sukova in the opening No. 2 singles therefore sent the Aussies into delirium.
But the Australians underestimated the pride that burns inside Hana Mandlikova almost as brightly as her talent. Hana so demoralized Sayers in a 61, 6-0 rout at No. 1 singles that the humiliating effects seemed to carry over into the doubles. Liz never found range onher forehand or serve and Wendy looked flat as Mandlikova and Sukova blasted the Aussies away, 6- 2, 6-2, in the deciding contest.
With the first set tied 2-2, the Czech team won the next four games to win the set in just 26 minutes. – The second set also went the Czechs’ way, as Mandlikova and Sukova took the lead early, breaking Turnbull’s serve to lead 3-1. The Australians made several mistakes, often countering the powerful Czech serves with weak, ill-placed volleys. Mandlikova and Sukova then went on to wrap up the 54-minute match with little opposition.
In the opening singles match, Australia’s Anne Minter, ranked 89th in the world, beat Sukova 7-5, 7-5.
In the second match, Mandlikova topped Sayers, ranked 54th, 6-1, 6-0. in just 42 minutes. Sayers opened by breaking Man-dlikova’s serve, but then fell to the aggressive and powerful volleys of the Czech player, who took the first set in only 23 minutes. Mandlikova used a strong serve to breeze through the second set in just 19 minutes.
Savers said: “At times I was ashamed of what I was doing. Hana was at her best. No matter how I tried she would get to the ball.”
Hana makes an acceptance speech on behalf of the winning Czech team. Mandlikova won every match during the week, including a crucial doubles finalmatch to break a singles tie with Australia.
“People ask us why we don’t smile on the court, Hana said in accepting Czechoslovakia’s third Federation Cup trophy since 1975. “Now we smile.”
(Article compiled from : Susan B. Adams/ Inside Women’s Tennis – UPI – AP)