NEW YORK, SEPT. 2 -- The saga of John Ross ended quickly at the U.S. Open today. Last week, Ross played five matches on three surfaces to qualify for the tournament. Today, he was quickly swept out by third-seeded Mats Wilander, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.

Still, his tale is worth remembering. Friday night, Ross played a quarterfinal in the NYNEX Open in Rye, N.Y. That match was played indoors because of rain. The next morning, he played his second-round qualifying match here, then raced back to Rye to play his semifinal on a different hard court surface than the one used here.

That made three matches -- all victories -- in 24 hours on three surfaces.

The following day Ross lost the NYNEX final at 1 p.m. to Peter Lundgren, then raced here -- helped by a police escort, arriving at 4:24 p.m. to play his final qualifying match against Dennys Massdorp of South Africa. He won that, making it four out of five in 48 hours.

Even though he lost today, Ross made $3,353 for getting into the draw and earned computer points that should move him above his current ranking of 152nd on the men's computer . . .

They started playing the Skins Game for big money on television five years ago to give golf a ratings boost. Now, tennis is going to try the same trick: the Stakes Match.

This November, on the same weekend that the golf skins game is being held, Ivan Lendl, Pat Cash, John McEnroe and Stefan Edberg will vie in Palm Beach, Fla.

The principle is the same as in golf: no risk to the players, big dollars involved and a network televising the event on Saturday and Sunday through an independent syndicator. Each player will start with a bankroll of $250,000 and play matches under a limited 15-point-per-set format with every point and every game being worth money.

The two players with the most money after round-robin competition Friday and Saturday will play Sunday for a top prize that could go as high as $750,000. The idea was conceived and put together by ProServ Inc. which concluded the negotiations with McEnroe's agent, Advantage International, this morning.

Dan Goldie of McLean, who reached the round of 16 here last year, won his opening match today, beating Christo Steyn, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5). Goldie, who won his first Grand Prix title in Newport, R.I., in July, is up to 64th in the rankings.