NEW YORK — They were crowded around the television set in the women's locker room, laughing and shaking their heads at the ongoing soap opera.
John McEnroe's second-set outburst during his third-round match against Slobodan Zivojinovic drew a variety of reactions from the players.
Steffi Graf, the No. 1 women's player, was sitting on a bench, looking up at the television set. When McEnroe yelled at chair umpire Richard Ings, she started laughing and put her head in her hands.
Others were shouting the news of the unfolding developments to those in the showers. One player walked in, "You mean he lost the second set on a game penalty?"
Near Graf, Chris Evert was quietly watching the ranting and raving of Mac. When it was seemingly over, as McEnroe calmed down, Evert shook her head and walked out of the room.
While McEnroe's travails dominated the day of tennis, the top women had little trouble in their third-round matches.
The biggest news on the women's side came when Martina Navratilova found some new motivation (as if she needed any) to win a tennis match. Navratilova was upset by recent remarks from Lisa Bonder, her third-round opponent on Saturday. Bonder, of Saline, Mich., supposedly made an uncharitable comment about Navratilova's age.
"She said I'm too old to become No. 1 again," said Navratilova, who is the No. 2-seeded player here.
Bonder claimed she never mentioned anything about age, saying only that she felt the other players are getting closer to Navratilova. Navratilova wasn't listening, though, routing Bonder, 6-2, 6-1. In seven meetings, Bonder has never won a set from Navratilova.
None of the other seeded women players had problems in their third-round matches. Those advancing included No. 4 Hana Mandlikova, No. 6 Helena Sukova, No. 8 Gabriela Sabatini, No. 9 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, No. 12 Bettina Bunge and No. 14 Caterina Lindqvist.
Top-seeded and two-time defending champion Ivan Lendl continued to have the easiest path of anyone at the U.S. Open.
Lendl defeated Jim Pugh, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, in a third-round match which lasted just 1 hour 40 minutes. He has lost only 12 games in three matches.
"There's nothing I can do about it," said Lendl when asked about his dominance. "Except play lousy. I do feel bad for the the fans, though."
Lendl wasn't exactly alone in providing a one-sided match. Jimmy Connors, the sixth-seeded player, defeated Jim Grabb, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. No. 16 Anders Jarryd of Sweden also won in straight sets. Others advancing included No. 11 Henri Leconte and No. 13 Brad Gilbert.
No. 4 Boris Becker, however, struggled for a time before subduing unseeded Andrew Castle of Great Britain. Becker defeated Castle, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, in 3 hours 33 minutes.