"Is there a program here?" Janet Newberry asked as she came off court after her 6-4, 6-1 victory over Wendy Overton yesterday in the $101,000 Virginia Slims of Washington tennis tournament. "I want to see how much I've earned."
The answer - say the magic number and the duck falls down and gives you nothing - was $2,500. That's the minimum share of the $100,000 prize pot that she guaranteed herself by reaching he quarterfinals at George Washington University's Smith Center.
Seventh-seeded Francoise Durr of France also advanced to the quarters, a feat she surprisingly did not achieve in the nine Slims tour events she played last year, by beating Carrie Meyer, 7-5, 6-3.
Wendy Turbull didn't have to ask how much she earned - at least $5,000 - for becoming the first woman into the semis.
She reached that plateau for the first time when she disposed of 19-year-old Beth Horton, 6-2, 6-2, in yesterday's only quarterfinal match, a flat affair before a sparse, uninspired audience at 1 o'clock on a gray Thursday afternoon.
The 24-year-old Australian's opponent in the semis Saturday, when the tournament moves to Capital Centre for its final two sessions will be the winner of tonight's feature between Chris Evert, top-seeded defending champ, and No. 5 seed Sue Barker.
Newberry, who has slimmed down by 20 pounds since ripping cartilage in her left knee here a year ago (she had surgery and was sidelined seven months), has played well in Washington before. She was a semifinalist in the local Slims event in 1974 and a quarterfinalist in 1973. She has reached one tour final at Richmond in 1974.
"I'm really happy with the way I've been playing. I haven't made many unforced errors," said the 23-year-old Californian who, like Overton, prefers to maneuver and set up her openings instead of going for the kill right away, as so many young players do.
"We were both a little nervous," added Newberry, who was both steadier from the backcourt than the 29-year-old Overton and more decisive when she went to net. "I think she expected me to play to the forehand, her more erratic side, but I tried to mix things up right from the start.
Turnbull, who likes to go in as much and aggressive returns of short second serves, dominated her match against Norton, the 1975 U.S. Junior champion who could never approach the form she showed in upsetting eighth-seeded Greer Stevens Wednesday.
"I like to put on the pressure right from the start," said Turnbull. "Beth was a little slow in starting. In fact, she never did get started. I tried to attack her backhand as much as possible. That strategy worked, and she just never found her rhythm and got into the rallies."
Norton had never played Turnbull before, and was surprised how different her style was from that of the also-aggressive Stevens. "It threw me," she said. "Greer just flails at the ball and it goes in or out. Wendy attacks the net more, and her slice backhand is a lot different. I never got used to her game."
Durr and Meyer both had trouble holding serves, but Durr hit some wonderful passing shots off both wings. She got to match point - 30-40 on Meyer's serve - with a beautiful forehand down-the-line pass, and clinched the matched when a backhand return of serve clipped the net and just dribbled over for a winner.
"I've played Carrie many times, and she only beat me once, but she is playing much steadier," said Durr, who kept up a running conversation with herself in her charming French inflection throughout the match. "I passed very well, and mixed up my passing shots and lobs when she came in."
Durr, 34, said afterward this would be her last year as a tour regular.
Durr says at the first tournament of each new season that this will he ber last, but apparently she means it this time. "I'm serious. I got married last year, and if I want to start a family I better not wait too long," she said. "I'll play a few tournaments and maybe Team Tennis, but not every week.