John McEnroe reached the final of the Benson and Hedges Grand Prix tennis tournament for the fifth straight year yesterday, defeating Steve Denton, 6-1, 6-4, at the Wembley Arena in London.
McEnroe had his usual stormy exchanges with the umpire and other officials.
"Come on, pal," McEnroe said after one disputed call. "What planet do you think you're on?"
A crowd of 7,000 laughed at McEnroe's comment. On another occasion, he told the umpire: "That's six bad calls you've missed in five games. The people think it's fun, but we think it's sad."
At another point, the fans found McEnroe's antics less than amusing: "McEnroe, play the game," a man shouted after one argument. McEnroe waved his racket and played on. He never appeared in danger of losing.
In the other semifinal, Brian Gottfried beat Vince Van Patten, 7-5, 6-1. McEnroe will meet Gottfried today for the first prize of $38,000 . . .
In Adelaide, Australia, Wendy Turnbull rallied to beat Hana Mandlikova, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, in the $200,000 Toyota Tennis Classic.
It was Turnbull's second straight victory and the second for her British Commonwealth team in its competition against the "rest of the world" squad. Friday night, Turnbull defeated Tracy Austin.
The tournament is being run along Davis Cup lines. Turnbull, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Sue Barker are representing the British Commonwealth; Mandlikova, Austin and Pam Shriver are playing for the "rest of the world," which leads the competition, 5-2, with a singles and a doubles match to be played in the battle for the Margaret Court Trophy . . .
In Grenoble, France, tickets for this month's United States-France Davis Cup final went on sale yesterday and were quickly bought out by fans who had waited overnight in freezing rain outside the Palais des Sports.
Only 1,600 seats for each day of the Nov. 26-28 final were available to the public -- about 12 percent of the sports hall's capacity. Most seats were held back for members of the French tennis federation, invited guests, journalists and municipal authorities.