Order was restored at the Smith Center last night.
Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Sylvia Hanika and Barbara Potter--all ranked in the world's top 10--advanced to today's quarterfinals of the Avon Championships of Washington with crisp, straight-set victories.
After the madness of the previous evening, when Tracy Austin was upset by Anne (Pepper) Smith, this $200,000 event returned to form yesterday.
The original field of 32 is now reduced to just eight--including six women from that world top 10. With the exception of Austin, the cream of a classy field has risen to the top.
In the top half of the draw, where upsets have helped create a marvelous opportunity for a smooth trip into Monday's finals, Pam Shriver meets Smith; Hanika, the little-appreciated sixth-ranked player in the world, faces the dark horse of the tournament, Bonnie Gadusek, an 18-year-old former ballet student who has only once before reached the quarterfinals of a pro event.
Navratilova, who beat JoAnne Russell last night, 7-5, 6-2, in a festive, crowd-pleasing battle of aggressive big-hitters, now faces Bettina Bunge. Jaeger faces Potter, a brainy, up-and-coming serve and volleyer.
Of last night's second-round matches, perhaps the most dramatic contrast was offered by 16-year-old Jaeger's victory over 24-year-old Leslie Allen, 6-2, 6-2. More than tennis commentary, their match cried out for the annotations of a sociologist.
Jaeger is the daughter of a Swiss-born former boxer who ran a Windy City disco for 18 years. She's as aggressive and exuberant in her base-line ground stroking as a two-fisted fighter. Jaeger also has a nice rough edge to her manner that says she hasn't been brought up on an overdose of inhibiting little-girl manners. She's not too prim for a little pouting over calls and gamesmanship. Above all, she's the epitome of the tennis-consumed child: youngest ever on the pro tour, youngest seed at Wimbledon. She was well on the way to her first million before she ever got to high school.
Allen, on the other hand, is the daughter of a Broadway actress. When she was Jaeger's age, she refused to go near a tennis court, running off to play and hide in the Washington, D.C., parks while her tennis-loving mother played on the 16th and Kennedy Street courts.
Allen has studied at Carnegie Mellon, the Fashion Institute of Technology and is a magna cum laude graduate of USC; even when she played on the NCAA national championship team in 1977, she was No. 6, and had such a limited base-line game that she couldn't even be part of a doubles team. Although she is nearly 25, Allen is still in the formative stage of her tennis career, barely into her third season of trying to be an attacking serve-and-volley player, as befits her 5-foot-11 frame.
In terms of experience and intuitive sense of her own proper tactics, Allen is now at the stage Jaeger may have reached when she was 14.
Jaeger was never in trouble. The score was tied, 2-2, in the first set, then Jaeger won nine of the next 10 games for a prohibitive, 6-2, 5-1 lead. Said the extroverted Jaeger, "She lost some of her confidence when I started breaking her serve all the time."
Yes, that might do it.
"Every match is still a learning experience for me, not just matches like this against one of the top players in the world (No. 5)," Allen said. "I don't have a long string of matches in the juniors at 12 or 14 years old, like Andrea, to think back on. You have to make a lot of instantaneous decisions, and sometimes my mind is on a tightrope."
Allen is far along in the task of finding out about herself off a tennis court; it's only with a racket in her hands that she's still a bit at sea. Jaeger is far ahead on the tennis court, but must play her game of catch-up when she lays her racket down. You can't have it both ways.
If Jaeger seems young, then 14-year-old pro Kathy Rinaldi, who lost, 6-0, 6-3, against the seasoned and poised Hanika, looks like a tennis infant. After losing gamely, Rinaldi's thoughts were on the schoolwork that her mother is bringing to town--geography, history and such. "Oh, course I'm learning a lot about geography by playing tennis," she said. Next stop, Cincinnati.
Although none of this day's matches could be accused of being even remotely dramatic, the doings between Navratilova and Russell were extremely spirited--at least until Navratilova hit her stride.
"Oh, I was really pleased with how I played," Russell said. "At the U.S. Open, Martina just squashed me. . . like she squashed everybody. This time, we had a lot of good points, and I gave her some competition."
"I was really having a good time out there," said Navratilova, a budding crowd favorite who, as is her custom, enjoyed throwing in some flashy, spicy, what-da-ya-think-about-this-stuff touch shots with her usual repertoire of concussive overheads and southpaw serves. "You can't be dead serious about this sport all the time. I mean, it's a game, isn't it?
"I was so intense late in '81, because every tournament seemed like the No. 1 ranking (for the year) was at stake. So, since I've been here, I've tried to calm down and loosen up and just enjoy it.
"I'm just glad I'm here and not in Poland. Those poor people have no chance," said the Czech expatriate. "I haven't spoken to my parents back home on the phone since December, so I wonder if they even know about what's happened in Poland. I called them once and asked them what they thought about the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. They didn't know what I was talking about. It hadn't been in the Czech press."