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Cash to Compete in Tennis Tonight in Newport Beach

Times Staff Writer

Pat Cash, the Wimbledon men’s singles champion, will headline the Hartmarx tennis tournament, which begins with quarterfinal matches tonight and Friday at the John Wayne Tennis Club in Newport Beach.

It will be Cash’s first tournament since Wimbledon.

In addition to Cash, the defending champion and top seed, the four-day tournament will feature Vijay Amritraj, Kevin Curren, Scott Davis, 1986 finalist John Fitzgerald, Vitas Gerulaitis, Jim Grabb and Richey Reneberg.

“I’m here to get some competition,” said Cash at Wednesday’s press conference. “They (the other Hartmarx players) are all good. They’ve all won tournaments themselves, you know.”

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Facing Cash first will be Amritraj, who led his native India over Israel in last week’s Davis Cup quarterfinals. Cash and Amritraj will play at 8 tonight.

Curren, 29 and the second seed, has spent most of the year recovering from illnesses and injuries suffered last year. A native of South Africa, he was ranked fifth in the world in 1985 and is currently 20th.

Known for his powerful serve, Curren will face Gerulaitis, 33, at 6:30 tonight.

“I don’t know how active Vitas has been of late,” Curren said. “I beat him the last few times we’ve played. But with him, you never know. The guy was a great. Then, as far as (playing) Cash, it’s one match at a time.”

Davis, 24, was the top-ranked junior player in the United States from 1977-80 and led Stanford to the NCAA championship in 1983.

Davis, who plays a quick serve-and-volley style, will meet Reneberg at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Reneberg, an All-America at Southern Methodist University, was a finalist in the 1986 NCAA singles championship and winner of the 1986 Volvo All-American at UCLA.

Fitzgerald, who lost to Cash, 6-4, 6-2, in last year’s final, will play Grabb at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Fitzgerald, who is primarily a doubles player, teamed with his longtime partner Cash to help Australia win the Davis Cup in 1986.

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Grabb, 23, is another promising Stanford graduate who helped the Cardinal to two NCAA championships. He joined the professional circuit last July and won a Grand Prix tournament in Seoul, South Korea.

“Playing in a tournament with (Cash) is just a great opportunity,” Grabb said. “There’s no such thing as perfection. Everyone’s beatable. It’s just that Cash might be one of the less beatable people around.”

Semifinals are scheduled to begin at noon Saturday, and the final is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday.


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