Zina Garrison used the resilience of a Grand Slam veteran to hold off a strong challenge from a young Japanese player and advance to the third round of the Australian Open today.
Garrison, runner-up at Wimbledon last summer and an Australian Open quarterfinalist or better five times, won the last five games of the match while yielding just seven points, and beat Nana Miyagi, 2-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Miyagi won the last six games of the first set, but did not hold serve after that against the eighth seed. The world’s 112th-ranked player was plagued by errors on her two-handed groundstrokes and fell quickly after her impressive start on center court as Garrison slowly got her game in gear.
“I’m still learning to play on this surface,” Garrison said. “You can’t attack all the time. You have to pick your moment, have patience and good groundstrokes.”
In other matches today, Steffi Graf, the top seed, romped to a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Japan’s Maya Kidowaki. Fourth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini breezed past Sweden’s Maria Ekstrand, 6-1, 6-1.
Boris Becker, seeded No. 2 among men, ousted Marian Vajda of Czechoslovakia, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
Garrison won the first two games of the opening night match, then ran into trouble with her shots. Miyagi, 19, a Seattle native who lives in Okinawa, was able to run down everything and held for the set.
That was her last service game win. Garrison picked up the pace in the second set and in the third went on the decisive tear, coming to the net more and pressuring her opponent.
Miyagi said Garrison was not herself.
“Her serve was so weak,” she said. “Something is wrong. That’s not the way she plays. In the second set, she would take some deep breaths and hit it hard. I just had so many unforced errors.”
Becker won 10 games in a row in the second and third sets to beat Vajda.
The match, the last of the day session on the main court, was played before a sparse but noisy crowd that included chirping birds, a crying baby and a woman in a courtside seat who apparently had too much to drink and heckled the German star throughout. She exposed her breasts just before she was escorted out of the stadium by ushers, drawing whistles from the crowd and a smile from Becker.
“She was funny. She had a beer too many and had a good time,” Becker said.
Eighth-seeded Jonas Svensson of Sweden, 10th-seeded Guy Forget of France and 12th-seeded Jay Berger of the United States advanced to the third round in the men’s draw. Women’s winners included 10th-seeded Jana Novotna of Czechoslovakia and 13th-seeded Amy Frazier of the United States.
Australians did their best to liven things up, giving their fans three minor upsets--Rachel McQuillan over No. 12 Barbara Paulus, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4; Elizabeth Smylie over No. 15 Laura Gildemeister, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7, and Darren Cahill over men’s No. 13 Andrei Cherkasov, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-5.