French Open : Fernandez Is Still In; Noah Is Out
Fourteen-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez, a high school freshman from Miami, moved into the quarterfinals of the French Open Sunday by beating fourth-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany in straight sets.
“I never thought I’d get this far,” Fernandez said following her 7-6, 7-5 victory. “I’m still in shock that I won today.”
But, the latest bombshell to shake up the French was the default of 1983 champion Yannick Noah. Noah was unable to run Sunday morning and heeded his doctor’s advice to pull out because of a second degree burn to his left ankle.
This allowed Johan Kriek, the lone American remaining in the men’s draw, to advance to the quarterfinals. Before this week, Kriek never had won a match at Roland Garros Stadium and hadn’t even bothered to play here since 1979.
“I don’t feel good about it,” Kriek said. “It’s not a win, it’s a default. You can say I’m somewhat lucky. It’s an unfortunate thing for him, maybe fortunate for me, but it’s nothing I feel proud about.”
Kriek’s next opponent will be 12th-seeded Guillermo Vilas, who pulled out a 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 thriller over Frenchman Guy Forget in 4 hours and 15 minutes.
Noah’s injury resulted from laser treatments he had received for tendinitis in his left Achilles’ tendon while in Rome.
“I think the treatment was very good,” he said. “When the doctor used it, I didn’t realize he was burning me. The next day I found the skin was burned.
“It was just the start,” Noah said. “I had blisters, but the skin was still there. Then the blister popped and skin fell away. Now it is infected.”
Meanwhile, the tournament’s two top-seeded players, Martina Navratilova and Ivan Lendl, won their matches easily Sunday.
Navratilova eliminated Italy’s Laura Garrone, 6-1, 6-2. Czechoslovakia’s Lendl ousted West Germany’s Damir Keretic, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Also advancing in the men’s draw were third-seeded Boris Becker of West Germany, who beat Eliot Teltscher, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, in a match that had been suspended after three sets Saturday night because of darkness, and ninth-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador, who defeated Sweden’s Ulf Stenlund, 7-5, 7-6, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.
Lendl will face Gomez, and Kriek will play Vilas in the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinal field will be completed today when Mikael Pernfors of Sweden plays No. 11 Martin Jaite of Argentina, Becker meets No. 14 Emilio Sanchez of Spain, No. 8 Henri Leconte faces Horacio de la Pena of Argentina, and Francisco Maciel of Mexico opposes Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union.
The bottom half of the women’s quarterfinal draw, which will be played today, sends defending champion and No. 2-seeded Chris Evert Lloyd against No. 13 Carling Bassett of Canada, and No. 3 Steffi Graf of West Germany against No. 5 Hana Mandlikova of Czechoslovakia.
With her stunning upset, Fernandez became the second-youngest player to reach the quarterfinals in the French Open. She is nearly seven months older than Kathy Rinaldi was when she gained a quarterfinal berth in 1981.
Rinaldi, seeded No. 7 this year, also moved into the quarterfinals when No. 12-seeded Caterina Lindqvist of Sweden had to retire because of suspected food poisoning, with Rinaldi leading, 6-4, 15-40.
Rinaldi plays Navratilova next, while Fernandez meets No. 6-seeded Helena Sukova, who defeated Bulgarian teen-ager Katerina Maleeva, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 .
“She’s got a big serve and is hard to pass,” the 5-foot-9 Fernandez said of Sukova, who is 6-2. “I’ll try not to let her come in.”