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Tennis Roundup : Hanika Is Surprised in Opener

May 05, 1987|From Times Wire Services

Barbara Paulus, 16, of Austria, upset ninth-seeded Sylvia Hanika of West Germany, 7-6, 6-3, Monday as women returned to Rome for the Italian Open after a seven-year absence.

"I thought I had nothing to lose so I just went for it," said Paulus, playing in only her second major pro tournament.

Paulus, ranked 171st in the world, used a solid, two-handed backhand to run Hanika from side to side.

"I had never heard of her before, but she is tough," said Hanika, ranked 18th in the world. "I had a lot of chances but couldn't find my rhythm. She's young, with nothing to lose, and she came up with some unbelievable passing shots."

Two Americans also were eliminated on the first day of the $150,000 tournament.

Petra Huber of Austria routed Kathy Horvath, 6-2, 6-1, and Janine Thompson of Australia outlasted Anne White, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Top-seeded Martina Navratilova and second-seeded Steffi Graf of West Germany begin play today.

Navratilova, who has yet to win a tournament in 1987 after three starts, will meet Sabrina Goles of Yugoslavia today. Goles advanced Monday with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Iva Budarova of Czechoslovakia.

Graf will open against Huber.

The women's event, hurt by low attendance and prize money, was last played at Rome in 1979. The event was held in Perugia from 1980-84 and Taranto in 1985. No women's tournament was held last year.

The $495,000 men's event begins May 11 with defending champion Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia as the top-seeded player.

In New York, rain has forced postponement of all matches at the $615,000 Shearson Lehman Brothers Tournament of Champions at the West Side Tennis Club.

Opening-round play in the 64-player tournament was rescheduled for today.

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