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Navratilova, Evert to Meet in Semifinals

January 20, 1988|Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert will meet for the 76th time in a singles match when they play in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

The close friends and longtime rivals will have plenty of time to get ready because their match is not scheduled until Friday.

Navratilova holds a 40-35 record in head-to-head clashes.

Evert reached the semifinals Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over 19-year-old Claudia Porwik of West Germany, while Navratilova had to overcome a brief setback in the second set to defeat sixth-seeded Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 6-4, 7-6.

Navratilova, who previously won Australian titles in 1981-83-85, was pleased with her showing.

"That was a solid performance all the way," she said. "I'm playing with good intensity, concentrating well and moving well."

The two remaining men's singles quarterfinals were played Wednesday--the only singles action on the quietest day of the tournament.

Defending champion Stefan Edberg of Sweden met Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union in one match, with Swedes Mats Wilander, a two-time Australian champion, and Andres Jarryd playing in the other.

Either Edberg or Wilander has won the last four Australian Opens.

In the men's semifinals on Friday, top-seeded Ivan Lendl will play Australian Pat Cash, who beat Lendl in the Wimbledon final.

Neither has lost a set in the tournament.

"I just hope history doesn't repeat itself," said Lendl, who lost to Cash in the semifinals of last year's Australian Open.

Cash, who demolished Michiel Schapers of the Netherlands, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, in the quarterfinals Tuesday, refused to make comparisons between Friday's semifinal and the Wimbledon final.

"Everything is different, the crowd, the court, everything," he said.

Todd Witsken, who lost 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 to Lendl in the quarterfinals, picked the Czech to win the title.

"He just seems so confident here, he is blowing guys away and just playing better than I have seen him play," Witsken said.

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