On the 10th day of Christmas, the tennis year began with eight singles matches, no major upsets and a new sponsor footing the bill.
Virginia Slims, one of the early backers of women's tennis, officially rejoined the circuit yesterday when its $150,000 tournament began at George Washington University's Smith Center. The tournament will run there through Saturday, moving to Capital Centre for the Monday finals.
None of the tour's biggest wheels played yesterday, although top-seeded Martina Navratilova will play tonight, as will Andrea Jaeger, the second seed of the 32-player draw.
Last night, seventh-seeded Anne Smith defeated Eva Pfaff, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4, advancing to play Helena Sukova in the next round.
But fifth-seeded Bettina Bunge lost to 18-year-old Andrea Leand, 6-4, 6-4. Bunge left the court visibly angry and would not discuss the match. Leand, who said she had never lost to Bunge, applied enough pressure to take an early advantage.
"She is one of the better net athletes with great talents, but she can be a bit undisciplined," Leand said. "What she tried to do was draw me off wide at any forehand, then slice me. But it didn't work tonight." Leand will play Mary Lou Piatek in the next round.
In another night match, Kathy Jordan, audibly grunting and inwardly cursing, was defeated, 6-2, 7-6 (7-0), by No. 4 Barbara Potter. Jordan looked disgusted with herself on many shots, but held match point in the second set's 10th game, tying at 5-5, then 6-6, before losing.
Jordan blamed a long layoff because of tendinitis in her right shoulder, but Potter was pleased with her own effort, citing a high percentage of first serves.
Pfaff played an aggressive net game in the middle set, taking Smith's strength away from her. "That's my game," Pfaff said later. "If I can get to the net early enough, I can . . . do well."
Smith called Pfaff "phenomenal, because she's so strong. The second game, second set was crucial," she added. Pfaff had taken the first game, but the second was "back and forth and then she started steamrolling me a little bit. She just creamed me in that second set."
But in the last set, Smith took command again, and Pfaff missed a few easy shots. "At least two upper backhand shots on deuce, which is real simple," Smith said. "For me, it was a question of getting the ball back."
Pfaff denied she felt drained in the third set. "There were just a couple easy shots I missed," she said. "And that decided the match."
Smith is hoping the victory is indicative of a better year ahead. She has spent the last six months feeling like an inmate of General Hospital, starting with the mumps in mid-July, followed by anemia, a kidney infection and a back problem. "Now I feel eager to play again," she said. "It's mostly (getting back into) match play. I'm hitting the ball pretty well."
Sixth-seeded Sylvia Hanika said she had expected a tough time from 16-year-old Andrea Temesvari of Hungary and she got it. In the only day match to go three sets, Hanika won, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-5.
"When it came to the point of beating me, I knew she couldn't do it because I play better on the big points," Hanika said. "I put the pressure on her side."
Temesvari agreed. "I missed some points because of concentration," she said. "I was angry at myself and didn't want to be." Temesvari had not played in a tournament in two months. Last fall she had surgery to removed warts from her left foot and said the time off affected her game.
"She (Hanika) was really better, too," she said. "But it was my fault that I lost the match."
Jo Durie beat Yvonne Vermaak, 6-3, 6-2, to open the tournament in the morning, and Ann Kiyomura defeated Lucia Romanov, 6-3, 6-3. Sukova beat Susan Mascarin, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).
Piatek defeated Sabina Simmonds, 6-2, 6-3, despite double-faulting on match point. "I knew I would have a tough time even when I was up, 6-2, 5-2," she said.