Unranked Jeri Ingram of Silver Spring produced the biggest surprise last night in the first round of the $300,000 Virginia Slims of Washington at George Mason's Patriot Center, beating Mary Lou Daniels in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

Ingram, 17, a senior at Springbrook High School, was a wild-card entry in the 32-woman draw. She rallied from a 3-2 third-set deficit, winning the last four games of the match over the world's 66th-ranked player.

The key point was the eighth game of the third set. Up, 4-3, Ingram broke Daniels. From deuce, Daniels netted a backhand. Ingram then attacked a short ball for a half-volley putaway and a 5-3 lead. She held serve to win.

Ingram, a three-time state champion, will face the winner of the Zina Garrison-Isabele Demongeot match in the next round.

Each of the three seeded players won in straight sets. No. 5 Helena Sukova needed just 42 minutes to beat Katherin Keil, 6-1, 6-0. Seventh seed Barbara Potter beat Natalia Bykova of the Soviet Union, 6-4, 6-1.

Eighth-seeded Natalia Zvereva, playing on the pro circuit but still considered an amateur because she doesn't take any of her prize money, defeated Lisa Bonder, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).

"I had a bad forehand," said Zvereva, currently ranked 15th in the world after winning junior titles last year at Wimbledon and the French and U.S. opens. "I didn't play so right in my tactical areas. But I moved good today {Monday}."

In the evening's first match, Sylvia Hanika needed three sets to defeat Stephanie Rehe, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

Ingram started off by dropping seven of the first eight points, and quickly falling behind Daniels, 2-0. Then, she began to find a rhythm, and Daniels began a string of unforced errors. Ingram won four straight games to take a 4-2 lead.

Daniels held serve for 4-3, then broke Ingram to tie. But Ingram, after losing two break points, came back from deuce to get a Daniels dink and hit a crosscourt half-volley backhand. Daniels netted a half-volley to give Ingram the break and a 5-4 lead.

Ingram rallied from 0-30 to take the set, nailing a forehand winner for 30-30, then from deuce, outlasting Daniels to win a long rally. On set point, Daniels netted a backhand.

Daniels broke Ingram in the fourth game of the second set, then held serve, saving a break point, for a 4-1 lead. She broke Ingram again -- at love -- for a 5-1 lead before serving out the set.

"When I first went out there," Ingram said, "I was nervous the first five games. In the second set, I lost my concentration a little bit. I got tight. I think I pulled the level of my game up a little more in the third set."

The crowd was pulling for the upset, and got it as Ingram held serve.

"I can remember when I was her age," said Daniels, who won the juniors singles titles at Wimbledon and at the Italian Open in 1979 when she was known as Mary Lou Piatek. "Being in a pro match, I had nothing to lose. I'm on the other end of it, I guess."

It was quiet at the first day of the tournament, literally and figuratively, with only sparse crowds -- including a bird that somehow flew inside the building -- attending.

None of the top four seeds played yesterday; top seed Martina Navratilova and second seed Pam Shriver begin play tonight.

But it was a rough day everywhere except the court for Sukova, who thought she would be able to practice hitting before her match at a nearby site across the street from Patriot Center where players have practiced in the past. But this year, the practice site was switched to McLean.

"They said you have it somewhere else," Sukova said. "We asked a guy from transportation, how do we get there? He said, 'Oh, you just take {Route} 66 West.' So we took 66 West. We drove for half an hour. There was no McLean. So we just turned around and came back here. And he said, 'Oh, I gave you wrong directions.' So that was my practice this morning before the match."

She was relegated to a few quick hits with her coach at Patriot Center before the Potter-Bykova match.

Potter, recovering from back injuries which sidelined her for a large portion of last year, said it took her a while to get used to Bykova's power game on the Supreme surface.

"Being a long, tall girl," the 5-foot-9 Potter said, "it's hard for me to move around. I'm not like Martina {Navratilova} or some of the other compact girls. They don't have to worry about moving around as much."

Earlier yesterday, Leila Meskhi of the Soviet Union beat Akiko Kijimuta of Japan, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), and Nathalie Tauziat of France also won a first-round match, over Wendy White.

Slims Notes:

Evening matches tonight and Wednesday night will begin at 6:30 p.m. The previous starting time was 7 p.m. . . . members of the Soviet team will be introduced today in a luncheon held at noon at the University Club, near the 16th Street Soviet Embassy. RESULTS

FIRST ROUND SINGLES

Leila Meskhi, Soviet Union, def. Akiko Kijimuta, Japan, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3); Natalia Zvereva (8), Soviet Union, def. Lisa Bonder, Los Angeles, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2); Nathalie Tauziat, France, def. Wendy White, Atlanta, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3); Barbara Potter (7), Woodbury, Conn., def. Natalia Bykova, Soviet Union, 6-4, 6-1; Helena Sukova (5), Czechoslovakia, def. Kathrin Keil, Los Angeles, 6-1, 6-0; Jeri Ingram, Silver Spring, Md., def. Mary Lou Daniels, Chicago, Ill., 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; Sylvia Hanika, West Germany, def. Stephanie Rehe, Hyland, Calif., 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE In order of play MORNING MATCHES (10 a.m.)

Robin White vs. Ann Henricksson, Eva Pfaff vs. Terry Phelps, Heather Lugloff vs. Gigi Fernandez, Isabelle Demongeot vs. Zina Garrison (6), Gabriela Sabatini-Helena Sukova (2) vs. Peanut Louie Harper-Heather Ludloff. EVENING MATCHES (6:30 p.m.)

Pam Shriver (2) vs. Nicole Provis, Martina Navratilova (1) vs. Judith Wiesner, Zina Garrison-Gigi Fernandez (3) vs. Mary Lou Daniels-Anna-Maria Fernandez.