Fifth-seeded Zina Garrison and seventh-seeded Bonnie Gadusek each won first-round matches yesterday during the first day of the Virginia Slims of Washington at George Washington University's Smith Center.
Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver, the top seeds in the doubles competition, also won. They beat Lori McNeil and Catherine Suire, 6-1, 6-1, and it wasn't as close as it looked.
Garrison defeated Italy's Raffaella Reggi, 6-3, 6-2. Gadusek beat France's Isabelle Demongeot, 6-1, 6-3. The second-seeded doubles team of Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Helena Sukova advanced with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Terry Phelps and Reggi.
Early in the match, Garrison seemed headed for trouble, having her serve broken two of three times. Reggi broke serve to open the match and then held for a 2-0 lead.
Garrison held serve and then broke Reggi to make it 2-2, but Reggi broke once more for a 3-2 lead. But it would be the last lead of the night for the 20-year-old from Ravenna, Italy, who is ranked 42nd in the world.
"I've played Raffi a lot and she usually starts a lot faster than I do," Garrison said. "It's just a matter of time before I get going. We've had a lot of close matches."
When Garrison, ranked eighth, got going last night she won four straight games to win the set, 6-3, and then won the first three games of the second set.
Reggi broke Garrison for the third time and held serve to cut the lead to 3-2 in the second set, but that was it. Garrison won the next three to win the match and advance to the second round where she will play Phelps. Phelps defeated Beverley Bowes, 6-0, 6-4.
"I wanted to keep her moving," said Garrison, "because once she plants her feet she hits the ball really well."
Gadusek, the only other seeded player to have a singles match yesterday, advanced to the second round, where she'll play the winner of today's match between Carling Bassett and Anne White.
The best match of the morning was the 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory by Britain's Jo Durie over qualifier McNeil.
In the other first-round singles match, Sabrina Goles beat Caroline Kuhlman, 7-5, 6-0.