Steffi Graf's first tennis victim of 1996 was a teenager who:
--Turned 16 three days ago, the day she was given a wild-card spot in the main draw of the State Farm Evert Cup here;
--Lives in Boca Raton, Fla., but spent at least two of her formative years in Mission Viejo and lists Sweden, where she was born, as the country she plays for, even though she can't speak the language;
--Has a dog named Kika, loves rollerblading and stamp collecting, entered the second-round match against perhaps the greatest player in the history of the game ranked No. 399 and said such things in her postmatch news conference as: "I have to work on some stuff."
Her name is Kristina Triska, and Graf took her out, 6-0, 6-1. The match took 36 minutes, Graf won 50 points to Triska's 18, and Graf converted all but one of the points when she got her first serve in.
Entering the match, there actually was an element of intrigue. Graf had not played since November, after having foot surgery and missing her second consecutive Australian Open, and she was coming back a few weeks earlier than her projected return at the Lipton event in Florida. "I didn't expect to play this well this soon," Graf said. "From the time I started training until now, it's been going quite fast."
Graf said she is pleased with her progress, happy to be spending time in the desert because "it is so peaceful, so nice to just sit out in the morning and at night," and satisfied with her performance in her first match back after nearly four months.
"I just wish I had been forced a bit more," she said.
As for Triska, who had defeated Ludmila Richterova in a first-round match, she was hardly old enough to understand what hit her. There was a quick postmatch summary: "She just out-beat me."
And there was a measure of success. Her father, Jan, told her before the match that he was willing to ante up $50 for every game she won.
So young Kristina Triska ended her day in the desert $50 richer and a great deal wiser.
South Africa's Joannette Kruger, who collapsed from heat stroke during a match against Jolene Watanabe on Friday, reentered the hospital Saturday for further tests. Her situation brought to the forefront the Women's Tennis Assn.'s concern over such things when it passed a rule that allows a 10-minute break going into a third set if either player seeks it. But that is only applicable in extreme weather conditions, and did not apply to Kruger, who went down late in the first set. One example of the extreme weather rule is a day when the temperature is in excess of 88 degrees and the humidity is in excess of 65%. The temperature on a nearby court to where Kruger collapsed was 116 degrees, but the humidity was 38%. Now the WTA may add even more temperature/humidity formulas to cover such cases.
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Stadium Court, beginning at 10 a.m.
* Ruxandra Dragomir vs. Kimiko Date
* Mary Joe Fernandez vs. Anna Smashnova
* Florencia Labat vs. Conchita Martinez
* Jennifer Capriati vs. Shi-Ting Wang
* Mariaan De Swardt vs. Lindsay Davenport