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AUSTRALIAN OPEN : Edberg Has Another Happy Birthday

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In what has become a traditional “surprise” on this day, Stefan Edberg was greeted after his match today with a birthday cake.

As is also his habit at the Australian Open, the sixth-seeded Swede won on his birthday. Edberg beat Romania’s Adrian Voinea, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

Edberg, who turned 29, said he was pleased with his play.

“I think winning another (Grand Slam event) is obviously the goal,” he said. “But competing at the top of my game, that’s really what I want to do out there. And winning tournaments once in a while.”

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With air temperatures in the mid-90s and on-court temperatures much higher, today was the hottest day so far. Several players complained of the heat and sought medical attention after the afternoon matches.

Edberg, who played in the morning, took advantage of an occasional cool breeze.

“It was not too bad starting and then it got warm, but then you sort of get over it and you feel all right,” he said. “But it’s going to get hot this afternoon for sure.”

His forecast was correct. Patrick McEnroe, a first-round winner over Boris Becker, defeated Jeremy Bates, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, but both players showed ill effects of the 2-hour 20-minute match.

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Aaron Krickstein, who also played in the morning, beat 11th-seeded Wayne Ferreira, 6-3, 6-7 (11-8), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

“We were pretty fortunate to start at 10,” he said. “I think if you’re the second match, you have it a little bit worse, you have to play dead in the center of the day.

“It’s not easy for anyone. I don’t think anyone can say they love playing in the heat, but I think I’m in pretty good shape.”

Eighth-seeded Todd Martin suffered a nosebleed in the second set but had little other trouble beating Jean-Philippe Fleurian, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

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Marianne Werdel Witmeyer of Oceanside continued her run through the early rounds, beating Sung-Hee Park, 7-5, 6-3. Werdel Witmeyer, who beat Gabriela Sabatini in the first round, said her form doesn’t surprise her.

“I played well at the end of year,” she said. “It was just a matter of time before it all came together. I think the conditions are good for me (with the heat). I practice in Escondido, which is pretty hot, and I grew up in Bakersfield. I’m used to it.”

Werdel Witmeyer will play Elena Makarova in the third round on Friday.

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In other results, Zina Garrison Jackson beat Christina Singer, 6-2, 6-2; 11th-seeded Mary Joe Fernandez beat Linda Harvey-Wild, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, and third-seeded Jana Novotna defeated Helena Sukova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.


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