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TENNIS WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT AT LOS ANGELES : Garrison Takes a Loss, May Take a Break

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Zina Garrison has tried mental training, no mental training; more practice, less practice; longer hair, shorter hair, different clothes and a different racket.

But after she was upset by Jo Durie, ranked 149 places lower in the computer, Garrison said Wednesday that she is probably going to try something even more radical.

“I’m maybe going to take a break,” said Garrison, near tears, her voice cracking after she lost, 6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 7-5, to the 160th-ranked Durie in the second round of the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles at Manhattan Country Club.

“I just feel like I’m not mentally there. . . . It’s too much of a strain. I’m just out there. . . . I’m just really tired, I’m just really stressed out, I just have to find something.

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“I don’t really like losing to people I think I should beat.”

Garrison blew a 5-2 lead in the second set and a 5-4 lead in the third set when she served for the match and failed to win a point.

Ranked No. 11 and falling, already matching her lowest ranking in eight years, Garrison failed against a player who had a 5-15 record before the match.

Still, Durie persevered, even after blowing six match points when she served for the match at 6-5 in the second set. As Durie explained: “Zina was there for the beating.”

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Soon, Zina may not be there for any more of them. Mental training with a sports psychologist from Houston has not been working, she said.

“I have been just trying to find out why I’m not happy on the court,” Garrison said, adding that a leave of absence after the U.S. Open might be best for her.

“I’ve played for nine years and haven’t had any break time.”

Only a year removed from the highlight of her career--a Wimbledon final--Garrison might have reached her low light in a 2-hour 53-minute stretch of futility that left her even more confused than before about her career.

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“I haven’t played well all year,” said Garrison, who was fourth seeded.

It was an unevenly played match, on either side of the net. Durie could have wrapped up the match in the second set, but missed on six successive match points.

“I think she should have put me away a lot sooner,” Garrison said.

On the sixth match point, Durie had an easy smash, but bounced the ball off the top of the net and it landed off the court. There were 20 points played in that 12th game and 16 of the points were scored on errors.

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If it was not exactly good tennis, at least it was entertaining, although Durie didn’t exactly enjoy the way things were going for her at the time.

“I was absolutely devastated,” she said.

But when it was Garrison’s turn to serve for the match in the third set, Durie had this funny feeling that her luck was changing.

“I think (Zina) got nervous, very nervous,” Durie said. “I think I got over my nerves. It got to the point where I didn’t have any nerves left.”

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Gabriela Sabatini needed only 65 minutes to defeat Patricia Hy, 6-3, 6-0, and 55 minutes to come to the interview room to discuss her victory.

There wasn’t much to say anyway, since Sabatini won the last nine games in the match, her first since retiring when she developed foot blisters in her semifinal with Jennifer Capriati last Saturday in Montreal.

“I didn’t feel any pain,” Sabatini said. “So I feel pretty happy about it. Of course, I was looking if there was some pain or anything, but there was none and I think I play the whole match very well.”

Sabatini, who meets Debbie Graham in the third round today, won 73% of the points she served against Hy and said she is pleased with her game as the U.S. Open, where she is the defending champion, draws closer.

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“I am playing my best tennis for sure,” she said. “I am a completely different player (than last year).”

Tennis Notes

Third-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who beat Isabelle Demongeot, 6-2, 6-3, said the outcome was never in doubt. “I always have the control,” she said. “I try to be a lot of aggressive.” Sanchez Vicario showed up with her mother, Marisa, and her dog, Roland. Marisa carried Roland, a Yorkshire terrier, in a canvas bag, from which his head stuck out. Sanchez Vicario said her other dog, Garros, remains back home in Andorra, Spain, because he is too big to travel with her. Garros is a Samoyed. Sanchez Vicario got the dogs and gave them their distinctive names after winning the 1989 French Open at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris.

Yayuk Basuki served six aces and defeated Ann Grossman, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the third round against Kimiko Date. Basuki, whose serve has been clocked at 103 m.p.h., has 12 aces in two matches. . . . Patty Fendick, who had 13 double faults in losing her singles match Tuesday, served 11 more double faults in her doubles match Wednesday when she and Lori McNeil lost to Linda Ferrando and Patricia Tarabini.

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