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Chang Debuts as Pro Against Leach Tonight

February 16, 1988|LISA DILLMAN

For Michael Chang, his debut as a professional on the men's tennis tour will be memorable enough tonight at the U.S. Indoor Championships in Memphis, Tenn. It isn't quite the norm--at least not yet--to see a 15-year-old male player hitting ground strokes on the circuit.

However, adding a bit of a twist to the event, is Chang's first-round opponent. Chang, who moved to Placentia from the San Diego area last year, is scheduled to meet Laguna Beach resident Rick Leach. Leach fought his way through the qualifying event at Memphis to reach the main draw; Chang received a wild-card spot.

Leach won the Australian Open doubles title with partner Jim Pugh in January. Leach, who played for USC, won NCAA doubles titles with two different partners, taking the second championship last spring with Scott Melville.

Leach and Chang were supposed to play Monday, but Leach asked for an extension because he injured an ankle during the final round of qualifying Sunday. If Leach is unable to play tonight, Chang instead will meet American Leif Shiras.

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