One easy, one difficult. But either way, the United States leads Britain, 2-0, after the first day of the Wightman Cup.

The world's No. 1-ranked player, Chris Evert Lloyd, had a relatively smooth path to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jo Durie, but teen-ager Kathy Rinaldi took nearly two hours to beat Anne Hobbs, 7-5, 7-5.

The Wightman Cup, which began in 1923 with the opening of the West Side Tennis Club, pits a five-woman team from the United Kingdom against a team from its former colony in a best-of-seven duel, alternating sites.

The Americans can wrap up their seventh consecutive series victory Friday when Pam Shriver meets Annabel Croft in singles, and Betsy Nagelsen and Anne White play Croft and Virginia Wade in doubles.

Evert has missed the Wightman Cup only twice since 1971, when she started her string of 25 singles victories. The event is a change of pace from the monotony of the pro tour. "I get up for team matches," she said. "It's nice to have a coach there when you change over, and it's good to see a Pam Shriver or a Kathy Rinaldi cheering for you. If the Wightman Cup wasn't special people wouldn't play. It's an event with a lot of history and a lot of pressure."

Evert said she was a little tight while losing the first six points of the match to Durie, who she has beaten in all eight meetings. Durie, though, couldn't keep the pressure on.

"She was a little shaky at the beginning and I should have taken more advantage of that," Durie said.

"The best part of my game is my return of serve and my passing shots," Evert said. "Her strengths (big serve and coming to the net) feed into my strengths, and maybe my strengths are a little bit better because I seem to be winning."

Not only is she winning, but Durie thinks that Evert, less than two months from her 31st birthday, is getting stronger.

"She was hitting the ball a lot harder than I remember," Durie said. "She was hitting some amazing shots back. Under pressure, I think she's gotten better."

Rinaldi also felt some pressure playing for flag and country. "I was really glad to get that last point," she said of her ninth and final match point. "I started getting a little tight. I decided not to be so tentative."

The pressure Evert and Rinaldi descibed is a bit different than the normal tournament pressure. It's more that they are wearing USA on their warmups and they have teammates who are relying on them.

But being a part of a team can be fun, as the end of the 30-minute opening ceremonies showed.

With lights dimmed and the United States Continental Army band from Fort Monroe, Va., providing the beat, the officials and ball girls marched in. A fife and drum corp colonial clothing pranced in, followed by a bunch of U.S. Marines.

The players were introduced and the anthems played. Following that, the groups left in the order they came, with the British team falling in behind the Marines. Instead of falling in line, the Americans, who had been closed-mouthed to that point, stayed, waving to the crowd with big smiles. Sort of.

"This is Halloween, you know," Evert said later.

All five had applied tooth black to their pearly whites, and those close enough to see roared with laughter.