Fuzzy is Tiriac. He enters the mixed doubles, glowering. Krantzke aces him. "Girl who stand at net, she may catch ball in teeth," he is to say later. But Tiriac hits nothing but soft balls at Krantzke, and Houston wins the set.
Baltimore The Banners' male star is the one-and-only Jimbo Connors, whose contract calls for him to appear in just 18 of the 44 matches at $3,000 per. The female star is Betty (Get Hot) Stove, a hefty Dutch girl whom the local fans call Boog. The coach is Don Candy, whose idea of excitement is to kick over the umpire's chair. "That would be magnificent," he says. "All kinds of havoc, with him lying there all smashed up and me ranting and raving."
Though Connors is the only unbeaten singles player in WTT history, the Banners were woeful in women's singles until they traded for 17-year-old Kathy Kuykendall, the youngest player ever to sign pro.
In their match Melville jumps ahead of Kuykendall 5-2, but the younger girl, playing baseline, begins ravaging her opponent with cross-court forehands and she wins four straight games, then the set on the final point of a tie break.
Connors is in his usual form, defeating Taylor 6-3 and pairing with Bob Carmichael for the clinching men's doubles. It is a miserable ending to a lost road trip for the Lobsters. They win only the mixed because Candy, adding insult to injury, replaces Stove with a local club player, Audrey Morse. "You're on TV, Audrey," everyone keeps shouting. Tiriac is not amused. He aces her and later slaps one underhand serve her way. "How you say?—boo-booshy move," he says of Candy's substitution.
The Baltimore coach does not kick over the umpire's chair, but the Lobsters agree that with Connors the Banners might win the WTT playoffs. As for his own team's rapidly deteriorating prospects Tiriac can only wonder.
"I am finding out what wrong," he vows. "I am building something for tomorrow, but little time. I must suck out everything from my Lobsters."