While Hana Mandlikova and Helena Sukova are gaining fame and fortune around the world on the women’s tennis tour, they say their exploits go almost unnoticed in their native Czechoslovakia. Sukova, 19, who won $282,000 in 1984, recorded the upset of the year last month when she beat Czechoslovakian-born American Martina Navratilova in the Australian Open. That ended Navratilova’s 74-match winning streak, but the feat drew only minimal response in Czechoslovakia. “In Australia and Tokyo there was more excitment than in Czechoslovakia,” Sukova said yesterday after advancing to the second round of the $200,000 Virginia Slims of Washington tournament. “Front page, back page stories and photos in all the papers. When I got back home there w,as a story this big,” she said, holding her fingers an inch apart. “It’s very sad,” said Mandlikova, who won more than $470,000 in 1984 while rising to No. 3 in the world rankings.
“It’s not political, but jealousy. “Tennis is the only sport where we can make money,” she said follow “there re are some little people who like to bring you down. Normal people enjoy our success.” “Officially it is not very popular. It is almost a pro sport,” Sukova’s coach Jan Kurp said, choosing his words carefully.
1st round vs Marcella Mesker
For her first tournament in 3 months, Hana Mandlikova met strong opposition in her first round Match against Dutch number 1, Marcella Mesker. But Hana was solid enough to resist the Dutch player and conclude in second set tie-breaker after facing 2 set points.
2d rd vs Elizabeth Sayers-Smylie
Czechoslovakia’s Hana Mandlikova and Helena Sukova, with a pair of straight set victories Thursday night, led a parade of seeded players into the quarterfinals of the $150,000 Virginia Slims of Washington tennis tournament. Mandlikova, seeded No. 2, ousted Australia’s Elizabeth Smylie 7-5, 6-1, while Sukova, the tournament’s fifth seed, downed Bonnie Gadusek 7-5, 6-4.
Mandlikova broke through against Smylie’s serve in both the second and 12th games in the first set, as the Australian was repeatedly caught prematurely at the net.
QF vs Kathy Rinaldi
Rinaldi, engineering her upset of Mandlikova from the baseline, opened a quick 3-0 lead in games in the first set. Mandlikova, winning her points from the net, tied the first set at four games apiece after battling back from 40-Iove to break Rinaldi in the eighth game. Rinaldi immediately returned the favor in the ninth game and then held serve to win the set. “It was the worst match of my life. I just couldn’t get the ball over the net,” said Mandlikova. “I like the underdog role, the pressure is off and I have nothing to lose,” said the 17-year-old Rinaldi, who earlier this week knocked off No. 6 seed Claudia Kohde-Kilsch.
Three years ago, as a 14-year-old rookie, Kathy Rinaldi heard the inevitable comparisons, so often the kiss of death in professional sports. She was the new Chris Evert Lloyd. Or the new Tracy Austin. She was the can’t-miss kid, the heiress apparent. To prove it, all she had to do was win virtually every match. Well, Kathy Rinaldi lost enough matches to warrant no better than a No. 23 ranking coming into the Virginia Slims tennis tournament at George Washington University’s Smith Center.
“I had nothing to lose in this tournament,” Rinaldi said after stunning No. 2 Hana Mandlikova, 6-4, 6-2, in yesterday’s quarterfinals.
Rinaldi enjoyed the win acknowledging it as her biggest ever about as much as Mandlikova suffered in defeat.
“I played the worst match of my life,” she said. “It was just a bad day … I just missed so many easy shots.” ‘ When someone asked if the rare loss would linger in her mind, Mandlikova glared at her questioner. “How long does the feeling stay when your mother dies? . . . Maybe after I take a shower, I’ll forget. It all depends.”
Rinaldi worked over Mandlikova from the baseline, pounding the ball into the corners, then frustrating her with passing shots when Mandlikova charged the net.
“She passed me or came in at the right moments,” Mandlikova said, “so I’m not taking anything away from her.”
Not that Rinaldi was convinced, when told that her opponent maintained she’d never played worse.
“Thank you,” Rinaldi said, the choice of words more sarcastic than her tone. “Maybe she didn’t play as well as she could have. But today was a new day, a new match.”
Semis and finals :
Kathy Rinaldi was overpowered in semis by other teen star from Bulgaria, Manuela Maleeva. But no teen-sensation upset, in final : Martina Navratilova came back to win and left only crumbs for her adversaries. Manuela Maleeva was no exception and took aways 5 games from Martina!
Czechoslovakia’s Hana Mandlikova, one of only two women to beat Navratilova last year, revealed her formula for beating tennis’ superstar. “First, you must play error free. If you do, and she has an off day, you will have a chance,” said Mandlikova. “A chance is all you can hope for. Nobody beats Martina. Only Martina can truly beat Martina.”