Top-seeded Guillermo Vilas nipped Terry Rocavert, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, today to get past the first round of the $300,000 Australian Open, but he admitted he would have to improve his game considerably or wait for others to falter if he is going to advance.

"I didn't play well; I missed a lot of backhands," said Vilas, who has been in Australia for five weeks practicing on grass. "If I play like this and win the tournament, then the other guys are not playing well."

Vilas said he found the court surface, spongy from three inches of rain that washed out Tuesday's play, soft and strange compared to the fast White City court in Sydney.

"But it is not slow," he said. "Terry played well, especially on the big points."

Alan Stone defeated Tim Wilkison, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, ending the young American's hopes of duplicating his victory in last week's $200,000 New South Wales Open when he blitzed a top field to collect the biggest paycheck of his career, $17,000.

In other first-round matches, Vic Amaya defeated Sashi Menon, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2; ninth-seeded Hank Pfister breezed past Jonathon Smith, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, and fourth-seeded Tim Gullikson, desperate to gain points here for the $400,000 Grand prix Masters event in New York in January, defeated Paul Mcnamee, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6.