Defending champions Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova breezed past their first-round opponents at the U.S. Open Tuesday, with Lendl scoring the first three-set shutout in the tournament’s history.
Lendl, seeded No. 1, required only 71 minutes to dispose of Moir, a 25-year-old South African, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, while Navratilova beat Kate Gompert of Rancho Mirage, Calif., 6-1, 6-1.
In another opening-day match, four-time U.S. Open winner John McEnroe defeated Matt Anger, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Last year, McEnroe lost to Paul Annacone in the first round.
Lendl’s shutout was the first in men’s singles since the U.S. Open moved to Flushing Meadow in 1978 and the second since the Open era began in 1968. The other occurred in 1977, when Ilie Nastase beat Frew McMillan, 6-0, 6-0, on clay in the first round at Forest Hills. In those days, early round matches were best-of-three sets.
Of the three previous 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 scores in Grand Slam events, two came this year. Karel Novacek of Czechoslovakia blanked Eduardo Bengoechea of Argentina at the French Open, and Stefan Edberg of Sweden did the same to compatriot Stefan Eriksson at Wimbledon.
The first 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 score at a Grand Slam during the Open era came at the 1968 French Open when Nikki Spear of Yugoslavia beat Daniel Contet of France.
Moir, ranked 122nd in the world, was successful on 91% of his first serves, but won only 29% of the points when he got his first serve in. He took only 15 points on his serve.
There were no double faults in the match, and Lendl had five aces.
Moir managed only three break points against Lendl, one in the first set and two in the second. Meanwhile, Moir hurt himself with 38 unforced errors to only 17 for Lendl.
Lendl hit 21 winners to Moir’s 6 and won 79 of the 108 points in the match.
“He just doesn’t have any power,” said Lendl, who is seeking his third straight Open title. “His best shot is his return of serve, but I don’t come in, and it didn’t hurt me. He plays basically the same game as me, but I hit it a lot harder.”
Lendl said he wasn’t bothered by the lack of competition.
“I do not really mind it,” he said. “I’ve played enough tough matches lately.”
Lendl said he plays his best on hard courts.
“If I were playing for my life, I’d probably play on clay--it’s safer,” he said. “But for quality of tennis, this suits me better.”
Navratilova, seeded No. 2 behind West German teen-ager Steffi Graf, needed only 61 minutes to defeat Gompert.
“There’s nothing wrong with my game,” Navratilova said. “I served well, but I still made too many double faults (three).”
Navratilova, who swept the first five games, converted 66% of her first serves and hit four aces. Gompert had three break points, all in the second set, but was unable to convert.
Navratilova has won only one tournament this year, beating Graf in the Wimbledon final.
“Sure it’s surprising, but it happened to be Wimbledon,” she said. “I’d rather win that and not win the others than have it the other way around.
“I’ve struggled physically this year, but I’ve been holding on and I’m playing well enough to win.”
McEnroe, seeded No. 8 among the men, said he was relieved to get past the first round.
“It feels nice,” he said. “Last year was very disappointing. It was on my mind a little. I didn’t want to go through that again.”
In other men’s matches involving seeded players, No. 13 Brad Gilbert defeated Peter Doohan of Australia, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, and No. 16 Anders Jarryd of Sweden defeated Ricardo Acuna of Chile, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
In women’s play, No. 4 Hana Mandlikova of Czechoslovakia defeated Nathalie Herreman of France, 6-1, 6-3, and No. 9 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany beat Alycia Moulton, 6-2, 7-5.
No. 14 Catarina Lindqvist of Sweden downed Amy Frazier, 6-2, 6-2; Pam Casale defeated Iva Budarova of Czechoslovakia, 7-5, 6-2; Ann Henricksson beat Judith Wiesner 7-6, 6-2, and Mareen Louie Harper defeated Debbie Spence, 6-4, 6-1.
No. 15 Barbara Potter, however, was upset by Akiko Kijimuta of Japan, 7-5, 6-3.
Kevin Curren, a Wimbledon finalist in 1985, was forced to withdraw because of a knee injury. He was replaced by Chip Hooper.