Tennis Roundup : McEnroe, Connors Off to Good Start in $500,000 Tournament

January 07, 1986|From Times Wire Services

John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors won their opening matches in the $500,000 AT&T Challenge tournament at Atlanta Monday night.

The second-seeded McEnroe defeated Kevin Curren, 7-6, 6-1, and the fourth-seeded Connors beat Yannick Noah, 6-4, 7-6.

McEnroe, who lost to Curren in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, fell behind, 2-1, in the opening set, but then broke Curren in the 10th game to tie it at 5-5 and won the tiebreaker, 7-5.

The second set was no contest. McEnroe broke Curren in the first and third games and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. He won the set in less than 30 minutes.

Earlier, Connors broke Noah's serve in the first game and then played steady tennis to win the first set in 37 minutes despite seven aces by Noah, who had 18 in the match.

Connors again broke Noah in the first game of the second set. He went ahead, 3-1, before Noah broke back in the sixth game and went ahead, 4-3, in the next game.

In the tiebreaker, Connors fell behind, 5-4, but evened it with a service winner then had a back-handed winner down the line for a 6-5 lead. He won the match when Noah hit a backhand long.

The tournament brings together eight of the world's top players in a round-robin event. McEnroe heads one four-man group and No. 1-seeded Ivan Lendl leads the other. Two players will emerge from each group for Friday's semifinals. The winner of Saturday's nationally televised final will collect $150,000. The runner-up receives $100,000. The other two semifinalists get $50,000 each and the other four players $25,000 each.

The two other first-round matches will be played today with third-seeded Stefan Edberg meeting No. 6 Anders Jarryd, and Lendl vs. eighth-seeded Andres Gomez.

At Washington, fifth-seeded Zina Garrison overcame a shaky start to advance to the second round of a $150,000 Virginia Slims tournament.

Garrison, ranked No. 8 in the world, disposed of Italy's Raffaella Reggi, 6-3, 6-2.

In another match, Bonnie Gadusek, ranked No. 10 in the world, beat Isabelle Demongeot of France, 6-1, 6-3.

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