It took Martina Navratilova just less than 48 minutes to defeat Wendy Turnbull, 6-2, 6-1, tonight in a quarterfinal match of the $300,000 Toyota Tennis Championships.
Hana Mandlikova beat Barbara Potter, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, in the night's second quarterfinal and will meet Navratilova in the semifinals Saturday.
The scant crowd -- about as many as usually watch the NHL Devils lose at the Meadowlands Arena -- had scarcely been seated before Navratilova had taken charge.
Even she didn't expect such a short night's work. "I've played well the last few times I've played Wendy, but because I hadn't yet played a match here, I did feel a bit cautious at the beginning," she said. "And I was surprised it was as easy as it turned out."
Navratilova took the first game of the match and Turnbull the next, but Navratilova increased her lead to 4-1 before Turnbull got one back.
"In the first game after I broke her serve, I was able to establish something," Navratilova said. "Except for that first game, when I missed four of five serves, I was doing okay. She made a lot of unforced errors (eight forehand, five backhand); that'll kill ya."
After the first two games, Navratilova said she "wasn't threatened" on her serve at all. She declined to discuss any "strategy" she used against Turnbull. "Yeah, I have one, but I'm not going to talk about it," she said. "Obviously, Wendy's backhand isn't as good as her forehand, so you try to attack that, try to mix it up to keep her off balance."
A disappointed Turnbull said she was unable to establish any rhythm. "I had two break points on Martina's first serves, and then she just was more aggressive," she said.
As for her own serve, Turnbull said, "I just had trouble holding it, and lost concentration." In the last game of the first set, Turnbull double faulted, but the official did not immediately award the game to Navratilova.
"I don't know what she was doing. Maybe she forgot the score and was checking her scorecard," Navratilova said. "You don't expect a double fault on a set point or match point, but, even so, I gave her a little hint. I said 'Game'."
Turnbull said she would concentrate on "getting up" for her doubles match with partner Rosie Casals. "(At the start) I really thought I stood a chance of beating Martina," she said. "But I played a couple loose points, and I played really bad games at 2-1, and, from there, it was all downhill."
Navratilova, cool as always, wouldn't look ahead to the final, even when someone suggested that, in such a short tournament, anticipation was quite natural. "I don't think about the finals till I'm there," she said, then added, "I can't worry about Chris (Evert Lloyd). She might not even be there."
Friday night, Evert will play Pam Shriver and Tracy Austin will meet Andrea Jaeger to conclude the quarterfinal round in this, the last tournament of the year for the women.