Third-seeded Brad Gilbert of the United States crushed Pieter Aldrich 6-0, 6-1 in the first round of a men's tennis tournament today, coming within one point of blanking the South African.
"I've never been close to that situation before, being within a point for 6-0, 6-0," Gilbert said. "But I was striking the ball pretty good. I did everything well today--I wish I could play like that all the time."
Gilbert was the highest-ranked player in action on the opening day of the $440,000 men's tournament at Wembley Arena. Fourth-seeded Jimmy Connors was scheduled to wrap up the evening session against Alexander Volkov of the Soviet Union.
In other opening-day matches, Wally Masur of Australia beat Kelly Evernden of New Zealand 6-1, 6-2; Amos Mansdorf of Israel beat Christian Saceanu of West Germany 6-3, 6-3; Guy Forget of France beat John Fitzgerald of Australia 6-3, 6-2; Michael Stich of West Germany beat American Ken Flach 6-4, 6-7, 6-3; and Flach's longtime doubles partner, Robert Seguso, beat Andrew Castle of Britain 6-1, 6-4.
Top seed John McEnroe and second-seeded Michael Chang play their first-round matches Wednesday.
Gilbert, who won four tournaments in a row last summer and has boosted his world ranking to No. 4, toyed with Aldrich in a 46-minute match.
The American lost just six points in the first five games and a total of 26 in the match.
Seguso came back from a 3-0 deficit in the second set to wrap up his victory over Castle in 53 minutes, winning the last three games.