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On Friday, Lloyd opened the competition with a match against Barker, who never has had much luck against Chris. Still, she broke off to 4-2 and 5-3 leads and was serving for the opening set as everyone peered intently at Lloyd for signs of exhaustion. Instead, they saw the same old Chris, who went on a tear that produced seven straight winning games. Keeping the ball on Barker's tremulous backhand and mixing in a few judicious drop shots, she won the first set and took a 3-0 lead in the second.
During this stretch, play was interrupted by rain with Lloyd serving at 6-5. Barker raced into the locker room and was in the shower when someone called that the match was resuming. By the time she returned to the court, her concentration was frazzled. "I was all messed up," she said. Lloyd thereupon recorded her 15th straight Wightman singles victory, 7-5, 6-2.
In the other singles match on Friday, the two No. 3 players, Kathy Jordan of the U.S. and Anne Hobbs of Great Britain, met in what could have been a pivotal encounter. The British felt that if Hobbs, a virtual unknown who rarely gets past the first round of tournaments, could beat Jordan and even the the score at 1-1, it might put additional pressure on Austin when she faced Wade Saturday.
The strategy was to be patient against Jordan, an aggressive, hard-hitting 19-year-old who had Tracy against the wall at the U.S. Open this year before losing to her in the fourth round. Last week was Jordan's first taste of Cup play, and if she didn't feel the pressure it wasn't for lack of British psych warfare. Throughout the week the British kept bringing up Jordan's inexperience, figuring she would get the message.
The trouble was that Hobbs was apparently getting the same message. She opened nervously against Jordan, dropping the first set 6-4 after squandering a couple of early service breaks, and falling behind 3-1 in the second. But she battled back to 4-4 before the rain started falling again, this time in a torrent, and play was adjourned for the day.
Saturday was a long, dark time for the British, beginning at morning practice and not ending until almost 10 p.m. The Hobbs-Jordan match was scheduled to resume at 1 p.m., at which time more rain fell. Play finally got under way at 4 and started well enough for the British when Hobbs won the second set in a tiebreaker. If ever Jordan was going to yield to her reputed impulsiveness and the pressure, it was now. Instead, she settled down and took away Hobbs' slow-ball game in the third set by hitting out on ground strokes and charging the net, racing through the slop for a 6-2 win and the match.
In England it was getting on toward midnight as the 16-year-old Austin took the court against Wade, the 34-year-old veteran. The British were watching on television and what they saw was familiar—Wade coming out aggressively, driving herself, attacking the ball and all but defying Austin to handle the furious pace. But Tracy, beaten in three sets by Wade last year, when she was 15, would not be cowed. She was just as aggressive as Wade and immeasurably better, and eased through the first set 6-1.
In the second set, Wade made a fight of it and had a chance to go up a break after taking a love-40 lead in the eighth game. But that was her last hurrah. She then made six straight errors. In the next game Wade double-faulted at a critical point and was broken, and Austin served out the match, winning the last set 6-4.
It was the end, and the British knew it. They were down 3-0 and Lloyd was waiting on Sunday, and when England's Jo Durie and Debbie Jevans took the court against Austin and Kiyomura for the doubles, they were mere shells. Austin slashed service returns past them, and Kiyomura, 15th in the world this season, played steadily as the U.S. carved out a 6-3, 6-1 victory. That gave the home side the fourth and deciding point of the series. Just before the end, an American couple sitting alone in the stands popped a bottle of champagne.
But the Americans weren't done yet. They wanted to finish without losing a match; Lloyd said they talked about it "every night." (She also was a bit miffed because she felt people were spending more time commiserating with the British than commending the brilliant play of the U.S. and she kidded that her teammates were expecting a congratulatory call from President Carter.)