Tennis Roundup : McEnroe Keeps His Temper but Loses to Perez in Opener

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From Times Wire Services

John McEnroe’s comeback bid ran into another roadblock Tuesday when he was upset by Diego Perez of Uruguay in the opening round of the Tournament of Champions.

Perez, ranked 136th in the world, beat McEnroe, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y.

“It was just one of those days when everything goes wrong,” said McEnroe, who was seeded fourth. “It was like I got up on the wrong side of bed. I tried to overcome it, but I couldn’t.


“I was hitting the ball pretty well, but mentally I didn’t play a very good match,” McEnroe said. “I didn’t concentrate very well, and against a guy who’s that steady on clay, he’s going to take advantage of that.”

Although McEnroe managed to hold his temper, even when virtually every close call went against him, his game self-destructed as he committed 52 unforced errors and 5 double faults.

“I played good enough to win, and he played pretty bad,” Perez said.

Earlier in the day, Nicolas Pereira of Venezuela upset 12th-seeded Paul Annacone, 7-5, 7-6.

“I’ve never beaten a famous player in my life, so this is very important to me,” said the 17-year-old Pereira, who was playing in his first Grand Prix event.

Although ranked No. 323 in the world, Pereira said he was confident he could beat Annacone, best known for his upset win over McEnroe at the 1986 U.S. Open.

“I felt I had a good chance to beat him because I was feeling real well, mentally and physically.” Pereira said.


Top-seeded Stefan Edberg of Sweden came within two points of losing to John Ross, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, before pulling out the match in 2 hours 45 minutes.

At Rome, third-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany and fifth-seeded Raffaella Reggi of Italy won second-round matches in the $200,000 Women’s Italian Open.

Top-seeded Chris Evert’s scheduled match against Nicole Provis of Australia was postponed until today because of the bad weather. Kohde-Kilsch finished off a 6-0, 6-1 rout of Italy’s Kathy Caversazio as the rain began.

Reggi began play before the rain and came back after the delay to defeat Isabelle Demongeot of France, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.