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Monday, January 16, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Tennis -- Courier Lets Hair Down -- He Resumes Quest In Australian Open

AP

MELBOURNE, Australia - Jim Courier, who seems to have grown his hair long to let it down, unveiled a new, no-worry attitude today that he hopes will bring him a third Australian Open title.

Gone for the moment, along with his crewcut, is the surly demeanor that weighed him down as he drifted from No. 1 to No. 13 by the end of last year.

In its place are curly, strawberry red locks, an easy smile, and the sense that nice guys can finish first.

"I hit the wall in the summer, and hopefully that won't happen again," Courier said after beating David Rikl 6-4, 6-0, 7-6 (7-2) to start his quest of the Australian title he captured in 1992 and 1993.

"Hopefully, I'm going to pace myself a little bit better. It's a game, and it should never feel like something other than that. I'm trying to get back up the mountain. It's a lot more fun going up the mountain than trying to stay on top of it."

Pete Sampras, the defending champion and No. 1 seed, toyed with Gianluca Pozzi in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 victory that took just 73 minutes.

No. 5 Michael Chang held off Paul Kilderry 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, and Michael Stich had an easy time beating Jeff Tarango 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

No. 4 Mary Pierce started with a double fault, but her troubles ended there as she went on to rout Tina Krizan 6-1, 6-0.

Martina Hingis, the 14-year-old from Switzerland, won her first match in a Grand Slam tournament, beating Jolene Watanabe 6-0, 7-6 (7-2). Hingis won the first set in just 19 minutes, yielding only 11 points.

She fell behind 3-5 in the second set and survived two set points when trailing 4-5 on her serve.

But she saved them both, the second with a beautiful running forehand crosscourt, then easily won the tiebreaker when Watanabe double-faulted at match point.

After the match, the standing-room-only crowd gave Hingis a long ovation and she signed autographs for several minutes.

NOTES

-- Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina defeated Lindsay Davenport of the United States 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the $650,000 New South Wales Open in Australia.

-- Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands defeated Radomir Vasek of the Czech Republic 7-5, 7-5 to win the singles title at the $328,000 Indonesian Open in Jakarta.

-- Thomas Enqvist of Sweden beat American Chuck Adams 6-2, 6-1 to claim the title of the $328,000 New Zealand Open in Auckland.

-- Arizona State's Sargis Sargsian, the No. 2 player in the nation, advanced to the final of Flight 1 of the Pac-10 Indoor Tennis Tournament at the Nordstrom Tennis Center at the University of Washington. He defeated UCLA's Robert Janecek 7-5, 6-3 and will face Brett Hansen of USC, who defeated Stanford's Jeff Salzenstein 7-6, 6-0. Today, there will be championship matches in singles and doubles. Play begins at 9 a.m. with consolation matches.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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