Anne Smith admitted it with brutal honesty.
"My serve was just horrible," she said, after unseeded Helena Sukova upset her last night, 6-1, 6-3. Sukova needed only 61 minutes to take advantage of Smith's off night, advancing to a probable match with top-seeded Martina Navratilova.
Smith, seventh seed in the Virginia Slims tournament, said her concentration, or lack of it, "and officiating on a couple close balls," hurt her game against the rangy Czech.
"It seemed I was never really in it," she said. Wearing a pair of white sweat pants after the match, she joked, "I might as well have played in 'em."
Smith did not serve well in either set and in the first set spotted Sukova a 3-0 lead. Sukova placed her approach shots well, rushing the net and returning Smith's shots easily in both sets.
"I had played her last year and beat her then," Sukova said. "She has a serve-and-volley game. She began to rush the net a bit, but I got used to it. I don't think I changed my game (late in the match) at all.
"Anne is a very good doubles player, so her returns are pretty good," she said. "I thought I would try the serve and volley, but then thought if I serve and stay back, that would be my game."
Smith did not lay all the blame on dubious officiating. "I was down 5-0, 5-1," she said. "There were a couple close balls that went against me."
In the second set, Smith hit an approach shot she believed was in. It was ruled out. "I felt it was in, but then, a few things seemed to go her way," she said. "It demoralizes you when you feel you got a bad call, because you like to think that point could have turned the game and the match around."
Asked if anything redeeming could be said about her match, Smith just said, "No. No."
Sukova, whose backhand resembles that of Ivan Lendl, seemed surprised at the suggestion she has patterned her play after his. "I like to see him play, but can't say he's my idol," she said. Of her upcoming match, Sukova said, "I only know about this match. Not the next ones."
In the other evening match, third-seeded Hana Mandlikova made short work of England's Jo Durie, 6-1, 6-3.
Mandlikova needed only 20 minutes to complete the first set. "I'm the better player; I should win," she said later. "I held my serve and played pretty well."
Mandlikova looked completely relaxed and in charge throughout both sets. "If I look it, I am," she said, adding, "I was so up for it, I could've won, 6-0, 6-0."
But in the second set, with Mandlikova up by 5-2, Durie took a game back, and Mandlikova said, "I knew I had to break her again. It was that strange game, the eighth or ninth of that second set, that was important.
In the daylight matches, fourth-seeded Barbara Potter beat Ann Kiyomura, 6-1, 6-2; sixth-seeded Sylvia Hanika defeated 15-year-old Carling Bassett, 6-3, 7-5, and Mary Lou Piatek defeated Andrea Leand, 4-6, 6-1 6-3.
Bassett, playing her second match as a professional, was able to challenge Hanika in the second set, coming back from a 5-2 disadvantage to a 5-5 tie.
"I was surprised with the way she played," Hanika said later. "She played like an adult, like she was 25 with 10 years of tournaments."
Bassett showed some early confidence, taking the first two games of the match and hitting the ball harder in the later games. "I started taking more chances," she said. "It worked, but then she won those last two games."
Leand, who Monday night eliminated fifth-seeded Bettina Bunge, won the first set yesterday easily, but after Piatek went ahead 1-0 in the second, Leand injured her right ankle.
Running after a shot, Leand twisted her ankle, landing on the foot with all of her weight.
"I had it taped tightly right away," Leand said. "And I took aspirin, which helped. Not to take away from Mary Lou's play, but it was a tough break."
Leand said the injured foot bothered her throughout the second set, in which she won the third game, but by the final set, had loosened up a bit and was less painful.
Piatek, who held her serve and began to control the match after Leand's injury, said she was unsure just how the incident affected her opponent's play.
"Maybe she was a little tentative in the second set," Piatek said. "She wasn't going after too many balls. But I hit a few drop shots in the second and third sets, and she was able to get to the net for most of them."