Pam Shriver of Baltimore took to the net with a strong serve-and-volley game in the final of the Virginia Slims qualifying tournament today and eliminated local player Nancy Ornstein, 6-1, 6-4, at George Washington's Smith Center. The tournament's "official" opening is today.
Shriver, a 15-year-old who recently lost the National Indoor Tennis Championships to the much-heralded Tracy Austin, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, used her 6-foot frame to stretch for crosscourt volleys that often dropped into an empty court as she took the first set eaily, 6-1.
Ornstein tried charging the net for the first time in the second game of the second set, after she held service in the first game, but Shriver forced her back to the baseline and didn't allow the Four Seasons Racquet Club pro a point as she evened it at 1-all.
Ornstein's game then began to come together, as she hit several passing shots for winners, taking a 3-2 advantage, and causing Shriver to lose her cool countenance and begin chiding herself.
Apparently her muttered lecture did the trick. Shriver held service in the sixth game as her volleys and drop shots were returned wide by Ornstein to even the set at 3-all.
After Shriver took a 5-3 lead, Ornstein held service and managed to avoid match point. But Shriver allowed her opponent only one point in the final game, taking the set, 6-4.
In another match, Lesley Hunt knocked off Zenda Leiss, 6-1, 6-4, for the final tournament spot, but not without a fight from the 18-year-old American. Leiss pulled out to a 4-1 lead in the second set before Hunt regained control to even it a 4-4. From the point, the Australian went on to take the next two games and the match without giving up a point.
The exhibition doubles set that followed the Hunt-Leiss opener was a one-sided 6-1 win by Nancy Richey and George Washington's No. 1 woman, Beth Kaufman, over Brigitte Cuypers and the Colonials' No. 2 player, Sally Henry.
Early arrivals at the "sneak preview" were treated to a practice session between Renee Richards and sixth-seed Wendy Turnbull.
Richards meets Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade in the featured match tonight.