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Garrison Overcomes Inconsistency to Beat Smylie in Three Sets; Potter Ousts McNeil

September 25, 1987|BARBIE LUDOVISE | Times Staff Writer

Using athleticism to make up for troubling inconsistency, Zina Garrison defeated Liz Smylie, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, in a first-round match of the $75,000 Audi Challenge tennis tournament at the Rancho San Clemente Tennis and Fitness Club in San Clemente Thursday.

In another first-round match, Barbara Potter defeated Lori McNeil, 6-2, 6-3.

In the first three games of the Garrison-Smylie match, both players seemed content to wait for the other to approach the net in the match in front of an estimated 250 fans.

Garrison--who is ranked seventh in the world and who is the tournament's third-seeded player--and Smylie traded baseline rallies, holding each other back with deep ground strokes.

Garrison broke Smylie, ranked 20th in the world, in the fourth game with the aid of two powerful serves to go up, 3-1, in the first set.

Smylie broke back with Garrison serving and leading, 5-4. Garrison, who began pressuring her opponent's backhand, then broke back immediately and held her own serve to take the first set. Smylie came back with an aggressive topspin forehand and keen net play to overpower Garrison in the second set.

But Smylie seemed to fatigue in the third, dropping three quick games to Garrison, who began coming to the net with greater success. Garrison changed the pace, added a few drop shots and kept Smylie running with volleys. Despite double-faulting twice when she led, 5-3, Garrison won the match with a final stretch at the net for a perfect cross-court volley off Smylie's backhand.

"I think she got a little tired and woozy near the end," said Garrison, 23, of Houston. "And I was feeling good. And really determined not to lose my serve toward the end."

Said Smylie: "It was a patchy match, at best. She's quick, deceptive, and I could have been a bit more aggressive to sum up the situation."

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