Virginia Slims of Boston

Boston,Walter Brown University Arena

– It was bound to happen sooner or later. Czechoslovakian players seem to have chosen 1984 as the year of consistency. Hana Mandlikova won four tournaments in the first three months of ’84 and Helena Sukova reached the semifinals of Virginia Slims events in Washington D.C., Chicago and Oakland. It was only a matter of time before these talented power-hitters faced-off in a major final .

At the $150,000 Virginia Slims of Boston, Helena and Hana met in what could have been a supreme test of aggressiveness and shot-making, but instead, Sukova meekly bowed out in the final to hand Hana Mandlikova her fifth title of 1984 and her second of the Virginia Slims World Series Championships.

Elise Amendola, DR

Hana had little trouble in defeating her countrywoman and doubles partner, 7-5, 6-0. Even though both players usually like to approach the net, there was surprisingly little net play in this final. Helena, particulary, spent most of the points dug in at the baseline.

« I was surprised the way she served, » Mandlikova said. « She hit her first serves like second serves and she didn’t come in. I actually had a little trouble with her serve in the first set because of that. I didn’t expect it. »
Sukova admitted that she was not up to par. Citing physical rather than strategic reasons, she explained : « She was playing and I was just hitting the ball. My game is best when I’m the one playing. I tried to hit to her forehand and it worked in the first set. I had a chance when I was leading 5-4, but in the second set I couldn’t do anything. »

« If I wasn’t so tired I would have come to the net more often. I didn’t do anything, soi t was easy for her to serve-and-volley. »
What had exhausted Sukova so completely was a marathon three-set doubles semifinal late the night before , which she and Hana lost to Andrea Leand and Mary-Lou Piatek.

In that match, Hana was visibly upset with Helena for not chasing a lob that fell on the line. The two had exchanged heated words on the court.
« I wanted her to try harder. I know she wasn’t playing well, but you still have to try. That’s why I was upset, » Hana said afterwards.
Sukova’s side of the story was, « She thought I was not trying, but I was. I was just too tired. »

DR Elise Amendola

When asked whether any ill feelings from the night before carried over into their singles final, Sukova smiled but refused to answer. Hana, on the other hand, replied, « I’m just glad it’s all over. I could use a few days off. »
That sentiment must have been echoed by all involved in the tournament’s organizing. The top two seeds, Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver, had to default, as did Wendy Turnbull, Claudia Kohde Kilsch…

As if the rash of injuries and illnesses weren’t enough, nature played a cruel spring trick on Boston by creating the worst blizzard all year and dumping it during the tournament’s fourth day. The ice and snow leaked onto the court of Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena. With the whole city paralyzed, matches had to be rescheduled for the following day.
The finals were moved to Monday night, placing them in direct competition with the nationally televised NCAA basketball final, and later that evenig the Boston Red Sox season opener. Nonetheless, the total attendance at the Virginia Slims of Boston than 25,000, was higher than the previous year, and the fans were witness to some spectacular matches.

Hana Mandlikova, the second seed, whipped through the opening round with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Lisa Bonder to become the favorite in the $150,000 Virginia Slims tennis tournament in Boston. Mandlikova, winner of four tournaments this year including last week’s in Dallas, took 56 minutes to defeat Bonder before 3,256

Lisa Bonder, DR

Hana Mandlikova beat Iva Budarova, 6-1, 6-4. in an earlier match last night before a Walter Brown Arena crowd of 2941.

Mandlikova and Jordan are the only top seeded players in the final eight.

Mandlikova opened her match with a second-serve ace (nine aces in her first six service games) and hit to Budarova’s inconsistent backhand to break her twice in the quick first set.

Mandlikova broke Budarova’s second service in the next set, attacking her backhand and playing at the net. Though she served her final ace of the match for a 3-1 lead, “I was lucky to get my first serves in when I had to,” Mandlikova said.

Budarova was beginning to win early points in her services and her backhand was improving. “In the first set, I had wanted to push everything,” she said. “I was always behind and in a hurry. In the second set, I wasn’t behind . . . She saw my forehand was better than my backhand but if she hits everything to my backhand, you can finally feel it (coming around).”

The transformations were a couple of games too late. They held serve going in, Mandlikova winning deuce for match point. “I know her from juniors.” Mandlikova said of her Czech-mate. “I played her five years ago and they were always tough matches.”

“We haven’t played for three years.” said Budarova, “and before, she would always beat me. 6-1. 6-1.” So, maybe it isn’t so important to have played your opponent before.

DR Elise Amendola

Mandlikova blasted six aces while gaining her opening set triumph in just 16 minutes, and required just 43 minutes to overcome Miss Budarova, a resident of Prague. Mandlikova had a bit more difficulty in the second set when her lone intrusion on Budarova’s play was a service break in the third game. Concentrating on Budarova’s inconsistent backhand, Mandlikova unleashed a string of. cross court forehands that Budarova had trouble returning in the critical third. Thereafter each player held service, Mandlikova overcoming what she later admitted was “growing tightness.”

In the third set,, the crowd of 3663 No: 2 seed Hana Mandlikova beat Bettina Bunge, 6-1. 7-5, and will play No. 3 Kathy Jordan in a semifinal
Mandlikova, who has a 12-1 career record against Bunge, needed just 62 minutes for her 6-1, 7-5 romp.

Bettina Bunge DR

Opponents in singles, they should have teamed as doubles partners later tonight.

Except that Sukova ssshhedl comrade Mandllkova while Mandllkova was telling the crowd, “Shut up!” in the third set of their semi- o continue final doubles match last night against Andrea Leand and Mary Lou Piatek.

Mandllkova then double-faulted away the game and almost hit Sukova with the racquet she threw at their bench.

Strong Czechoslovaklan was spoken during their one-minute break, and Leand and Piatek went on to win the match, 6-3. 6-7 (7-9), 6-1. But no minor exchange can break memories of the link that battle brought them Vera Sukova. Hana’s coach. together: The late Helena’s mother.

“She was coach of the Czech Federation team.” Mandllkova explained. “She went to Australia with me once for two or three tournaments. If you want to call her my coach, so be it.”

Don’t mess with the story line, Mandllkova. The Slims finals has suddenly found its niche. “It’s always nice to have two Czechoslovakians In the final,” said No. 6 seed Sukova.

Especially when one Is Mandllkova. If this tournament was looking for something to brag about after losing Martina Navratllova, Pam Shriver and Wendy Turnbull to Injury or illness, last night’s crowd of 2538 at Walter Brown Arena found it in No. 2 seed Mandllkova’s 6-2, 6-2 semifinal victory against No. 3 seed Kathy Jordan.

. Mandllkova. In little more than an hour, out-served, outpassed. outrallied and outlobbed Jordan. ‘”That really surprised her,” Mandllkova said. “I . don’t practice my lob.” Surprise, surprise, surprise. Jordan had beaten Mandllkova three straight before losing a tough, three-set final In Dallas to her last week. But Jordan couldn’t get her first serves In (35 of 65). When she did, Mandllkova was returning winners. When Jordan rushed the net, Mandllkova passed her. “Especially off of her backhand.” Jordan said. “She usually .doesn’t pass off of her backhand. Jordan stayed back “for a few points” after Mandllkova broke her for a 3-1 lead In the first set. “But then she would whack the ball and come in behind it,” Jor-‘ dan said. “If I had to lose, I would’ have to lose coming to the net.” ‘ So she rushed the net during Mandllkova’s next service and forced her to deuce, which was the only time Jordan came within 40- 10 oi DreaKine her. Mandllkova won the last of three advantages to nold serve, o-l. Of the four games Jordan held serve, three went to deuce. She held to begin the second set, but Mandllkova broke her two games later when Jordan netted a volley. She cursed and kicked the ball and the net. “I was hanging In there as long as I cojild,” said Jordan, “in case she turned an ankle or something.” No such luck. The tour’s hottest player since Navratllova pulled her hamstring two weeks ago – and the last player to beat Martina – finished her best match of the tournament. “She tried everything.” Mandllkova said. “But she didn’t have a chance. I played too good to day.” Mandllkova’s opponent in tonight’s final (tickets still available) could be feeling better. Sukova overcame lower back problems yesterday to win her first of four semi–finals this season, 6-2, 4-6. 6-4, against unseeded Beth Herr before 2390.

Mandlikova, seeded second, routed Kathy Jordan 6-2, 6-2 and Sukova battled to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 decsion over Beth Herr.

Mandlikova repeated her victory over Jordan in the finals of the Dallas tournament last week. “I think I was playing my best match of the tournament and I think winning the finals last week helped me for this match,” Mandlikova said.

“I was passing much better than last week, that’s why I could stay back. I think if she had put her first serves in more, she would have won more points.”

H. Sukova DR

This is too easy. But you have to decide it’s true when a player questions her opponent’s strategy and the opponent admits she wished she had played differently. In this case, the opponent was No. 6 seed Helena Sukova. and the reason she lost the Virginia Slims final at Walter Brown Arena so badly – 7-5. 6-0 – to Hana Mandlikova was . . . “I was tired,” said Sukova. whose first final of the season was worth $14,000. “My last two matches before this were three-setters. If I weren’t so t(red, I would have tried to put more pressure on her. 1 didn’t play the match. She played the match. I was Just hitting the ball back.” Even that was working in the first set. No. 2 seed Mandlikova broke Sukova (only two of six first serves), then held for a 2-0 lead. Mandlikova, whose fifth win in her last six tournaments was worth $28,000, was staying back because her first serve was drawing easy returns from Sukova. Mandlikova had three break points but Sukova held, serve In the third game, winning rallies from the base-llhe. : “She was playing that high top-spin,” Mandlikova said. “I was a little bit surprised and for a little while I was having trouble with it.” “I tried to hit the ball back to her forehand.” Sukova said. “I think her backhand is better than her forehand, so I just tried to hit everything there. It worked in the first set.” They broke each other in four and five points and Mandlikova held serve on three serves (return long, unre-turned, ace) for a 4-2 lead. Sukova then went on a three-game run, breaking Mandlikova from the baseline and not allowing Mandlikova to pass as she had to beat Kathy Jordan in the semis. Still, it was a strategy of weakness, not strength. “I still had my serve (which she held, to tie it. 5-5).” Mandlikova said. “I was surprised she was serving her first serves like her second serves (and Sukova was getting only 26 of 52 first serves in). She didn’t even come in on them.” Sukova didn’t hold her serve again. “I started coming in and taking it point by point,” Mandlikova said. She held, broke and held in 15 points to win the set, allowing her strong serves and returns to dictate how she would control the point. She won most of them in three or four shots. “If I had made the shots when I was up, 5-4, it might have made a difference,” Sukova said. “I felt like I was really tired.” She won only three points in the first three games of the second set. She pushed Mandlikova to deuce in the fourth game, but Mandlikova served and volleyed to hold serve. Sukova then missed five of six first serves (she made 14 of 21 in the three games she held) and stayed on the baseline, watching Mandlikova shut her out. It was thought that this had become more than just an all-Czech final when Sukova and Mandlikova argued in the third set of their doubles semifinal loss to Andrea Leand and Mary Lou Piatek Sunday night. “She looked like she didn’t try.” Mandlikova explained. “I told her Just to try. That’s why I was upset.” “She thought I was not trying, but I was.” Sukova said. “I was too tired.” It becomes even more difficult to feel sorry for Sukova when you remembered that, after Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver and Wendy Turnbull had withdrawn from her bracket, Sukova was the only seed in her draw to make it past the first round and hadn’t played a seed until the final. Pam Ca-sale and Beth Herr had pushed her to three sets in quarters and semis. “It’s hard to come off of those two and play a great match again.” Mandlikova had to play No. 3 seed Jordan in the semis, but she made Jordan look like she was unseeded, winning 6-2, 6-2. “I’m glad this tournament is over,” said Mandlikova. “I could use a few days off.” Not that the pressure of having to beat a countrywoman in the final had been too much. “The people in Czechoslovakia may never have even known if she had beaten me,” Mandlikova said. “They don’t put the results in the paper

Hana Mandlikova has her finger examined after falling on it. but she recouped and defeated Helena Sukova in straight sets last night in Boston for her fifth Virginia Slims title of the year

Mandlikova shrugged off her first-set problems in which she had to fight back from deficits of 2-4 and 4-5 by winning the last three games for the “

 Second-seeded Hana Mandlikova walked off with the $28,000 first prize last night In the Virginia Slims finals, soundly beating fellow Czech Helena Sukova . in straight sets before 3,623 spectators at Walter Brown Arena. Winning her fifth tournament of the year, she needed just 54 minutes to dispatch the 19-year-old Sukova, 7-5, 6-0. µ

Mandlikova, who was defeating her fellow Prague resident for the fifth time in as many meetings, also denied that she had threatened partner Sukova with her tennis rackeL during their doubles match the night before. :

“I was upset that I didn’t . think she was trying. I don’t like that, so I told her,” she said.

Second on money list

The victory pushed Mandlikova’s winnings for the year to $170,275 and into second place on the current money list behind the Injured Martina Navratilova.

Sukova was enjoying her best payday of the season with the $14,000 runner-up prize, which was in addition to the $1,500 she had collected from the losing doubles semi-finals”Sunday night. ,

Mandlikova shrugged off her first-set problems in which she had to fight back from deficits of 2-4 and 4-5 by winning the last three games for the 35-minute set.

Six breaks

She wound up breaking Sukova’i serve six times in the championship match, which was delayed- to last night by last week’s snowstorm..

Sukova said that her strategy of playing to Mandlikova’s forehand worked well in the first set but that she was too tired to keep It going.

“I didn’t feel like I could do much. You’ve got to be In great shape to play this many matches, and it was like she played the match and I didn’t. I just hit the ball back.”

Mandlikova also claimed exhaustion and said she planned to take a “few days off and have a few beers. I’m very tired, I’ve played an awful lot.”