Hana Mandlikova, playing in a big tournament for the first time in her hometown of Prague, Czechoslovakia, struggled for almost two hours Monday before defeating Angeliki Kanellopoulou of Greece, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3, to help Czechoslovakia score an opening-round victory in the Federation Cup.
"I was very nervous," said Mandlikova, who wasted three match points in the second set. "It was very difficult for me to play a match in my hometown. It was very tough, but I knew if I put everything together I would win."
Czechoslovakia, seeking a fourth successive title in this women's version of the Davis Cup, went on to defeat Greece, 3-0, as Helena Sukova defeated Olga Tsarbopoulou, 6-2, 6-0, and Regina Marskikova and Andrea Holikova scored a 6-3, 6-0 victory in the doubles match.
The United States, seeded first and led by Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd, is scheduled to begin play today against China on the clay courts of the Stvanice Tennis Center. This will mark Navratilova's first match in her homeland since she defected to the United States in 1975.
On Monday, fourth-seeded Canada had to battle from behind to defeat the Netherlands, 2-1. After Canada's Helen Kelesi lost to Hellas Ter-Riet, 6-2, 7-6, Carling Bassett defeated Marianne Van Der Torre, 6-2, 6-0, to draw Canada even at 1-1. Then Bassett and Jill Hetherington gave Canada the win with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory in the doubles match.
Other first-round winners in this week-long event included Argentina, which beat Uruguay behind Gabriela Sabatini's 6-1, 6-1 victory over Fiorella Bonicelli; Yugoslavia, which eliminated Norway with Sabrina Goles beating Amy Jonsson, 6-2, 6-0; Denmark, which upset Britain behind singles winners Lone Vandborg and Tine Scheurer-Larsen; and South Korea, which dropped only one game in sweeping a pair of singles and one doubles match from Egypt.
John McEnroe will play his first competitive match after a six-month layoff Thursday night when he meets Ivan Lendl in the finals of the Michelin Tennis Challenge Series at the Forum.
The championship match is the culmination of a 15-month, round-robin tournament that also featured Jimmy Connors and Yannick Noah. The winner of Thursday night's game, which follows a 6 p.m. match between Connors and Johan Kriek, will receive $100,000 and the loser $40,000.
In their previous meeting in the series in April, 1985, McEnroe defeated Lendl, 6-4, 7-6.
At Baastad, Sweden, Stefan Edberg struggled to a 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 win over Swedish teen-age sensation Christian Bergstrom in the first round of the Swedish Open tennis tournament.
In Davis Cup action, Austria qualified to play France in the European A zone final by defeating Romania, 3-2, in the semifinals at Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. Thomas Muster won the decisive singles match against Andrei Dirzu, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.