Tennis: Golarsa masters grass

LAURA GOLARSA became the first winner at the DFS Classic at Birmingham yesterday when she beat Denisa Chladkova, of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 7-5, in a first-round match interrupted by rain.

Golarsa, whose tactics were to go to the net at every opportunity on a damp grass court, was a set up and 4-4 in the second when a heavy shower drove the players from the court after 56 minutes play. After a delay of 52 minutes, play resumed and after 19-year-old Chladkova held her service to 5-4 up, Golarsa won the next three games to reach the second round after 67 minutes. Golarsa , now 30, will always be remembered for being within two points of beating Chris Evert in the 1989 Wimbledon quarter- finals.

The tournament referee, Ann Jones, the former Wimbledon champion, was relieved at getting the competition going. On Monday there was no play due to heavy rain and yeterday further rain delayed the start by more than three hours.

Top seed Steffi Graf, who has a first round bye, practised indoors for 90 minutes yesterday morning but later declined all interviews.