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Australian Open : Lendl Struggles to Beat Levalle

November 28, 1985|From Times Wire Services

MELBOURNE, Australia — Martina Navratilova and Hana Mandlikova coasted to first-round victories in the $1.5-million Australia Open today, but Ivan Lendl was pushed to four sets by unseeded teen-ager Leonardo Levalle of Mexico.

Lendl, the No. 1-ranked player in the world and the tournament's top-seeded men's player, overcame Levalle, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Levalle, 18, who won the Wimbledon junior title earlier this year, troubled Lendl with his fierce serve and stinging passing shots.

Mandlikova, the No. 3 women's player in the world who beat Chris Evert Lloyd and Navratilova back-to-back to win the U.S. Open title in September, eased past Camille Benjamin of Bakersfield, 6-2, 6-2.

Navratilova swept to a straight set victory over DeeAnn Hansel of Atlanta, 6-2, 6-1.

Mandlikova needed only 60 minutes to dispose of Benjamin and earn a second-round berth against British veteran Virginia Wade, who said she is making her final appearance in a singles event.

"Her left-handed serve was difficult to start with," Mandlikova said, "but it's always tough to get going in your first match."

Mandlikova, the Australian Open champion in 1980, refused to say whether she can win the event once again.

"I will try my best and we will see what happens," she said.

No. 4-seeded Pam Shriver of Baltimore and No. 9-seeded Wendy Turnbull of Australia also advanced to the second round of the women's singles.

Shriver defeated Andrea Holikova of Czechoslovakia 6-2, 6-3 while Turnbull downed fellow Australian Sue Leo 6-0, 6-0.

On Wednesday, Chris Evert Lloyd, the top-seeded player and defending champion, easily defeated South African Ros Fairbank, 6-1, 6-2, in 48 minutes.

Also moving to the second round Wednesday were sixth-seeded Zina Garrison of Houston and No. 13-seeded Jo Durie of Britain. Garrison beat New Zealander Belinda Cordwell, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, while Durie ousted Australian Anne Minter, 6-4, 6-4.

Two seeded players bowed out Wednesday. No. 12-seeded Bettina Bunge, a Florida-based West German, was beaten, 6-4, 6-2, by Australian Diane Balestrat and No. 15-seeded Pascale Paradis of France was eliminated by another Australian, Amanda Dingwall, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Despite the easy win, Lloyd said she came into the tournament with little preparation and was sorry she missed the preliminary events won by Navratilova.

"I would like to have had more matches on grass over here but my schedule didn't allow me to play the warm-up events," she said.

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