What time, Marty Riessen wanted to know, is the Super Bowl on television Sunday? Four o'clock, someone told him, just enough time for him to wrap up the singles and doubles finals in the $75,000 Grand Prix Tennis Classic and catch the kickoff.
"I hope I am in both finals," Riessen said, already assured of being in the singles final after today's defeat of Peter Fleming, 7-5, 7-6, in a lightly attended semifinal match at the Towson Center.
Sunday's 12:30 p.m. start for the singles final was calculated to let fans get home in time for the National Football League championship. Riessen plans to be one of them, albeit plunked before a hotel TV set where he can pull for his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers.
In Sunday's singles final, Riessen will meet Harold Solomon, who defeated Andrew Pattison 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, tonight before almost 3,000 persons who braved the slick streets.
By late tonight, Riessen won his wish for a double entry in Sunday's finals. With partner Sherwood Stewart, Riessen defeated Bruce Manson and Pattison, 7-5, 6-3.
Today's victory over Fleming, seeded third in the tournament and 26th in the national rankings, elated Riessen. The last time he made a singeles final was in March, 1977, when lost to Brian Gottfried in La Costa, Calif. Before that, his last singles title was in the U.S. Indoor Open at Philadelphia in 1975 when he beat Vitas Gerulaitis.
Since then, his career has been dependent on winning doubles matches, for which he enters most tournaments.
Unseeded here and ranked 84th nationally, Riessen thinks that his ranking will shoot up to the 50s based on his play this week.
"I've committed myself to a lot of tennis this year," the 37-year-old said. "As you get older you have to keep playing... (what) the last two days have told me is that I can play with whoever wins. There's probably more effort involved for me now. I've been around longer than some. But it's just a matter of not getting satisfied with mediocre play."
Riessen began a conditioning program after Christmas that involved two workouts a day. He practiced in the morning with college students and in the afternoon with high schoolers.
"For my game, it's important for me to be in good shape." He is basically a serve and volleyer.
"Yesterday against (Roscoe) Tanner (whom he beat, 7-6, 6-3) I missed only two volleys... and (today) everytime I got a serve back I got a good play."
Fleming, who turns 24 Sunday, broke Riessen's serve only once, in the third game of the second set. It was the only broken serve for Riessen in the tournament.
In today's doubles, Anand Amritaj and Cliff Drysdale defeated Bruce Nichols and John Austin, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
In his semifinal match, Solomon jumped to a four-game lead in the first set, then lost the next seven straight to Pattison.
"I didn't feel real good out there physically, I didn't feel too strong. I didn't sleep last night for some reason, Solomon said. "I stopped moving the ball around then (after the fourth game) and the whole thing got switched around.
"I guess I was mentality tired. In the second set I tried to make him hit and work more. Then I started hitting harder in the third set."
Solomon also has a favorite in the Super Powl: Pittsburgh. 'I'm a diehard Redskin fan," he said. "I hate the Cowboys."