WASHINGTON -- His precision is not as sustained as it was when he was consistently a top-10 player, but there was enough of the old John McEnroe to get past his first match at the Sovran Bank Classic.
McEnroe, the No. 2 seed, struggled in the second set before beating Brian Garrow, 6-3, 7-5, in a second-round match before a near capacity crowd at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
McEnroe advanced to the third round, where he will face Luis Herrera tonight at 7. That will be followed by a third-round match between top-seeded Andre Agassi and Chuck Adams.
In the late match yesterday, No. 3 seed Brad Gilbert survived an early scare before beating John Sullivan, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
There was a lot of the old McEnroe temper on the court. The 32-year-old New Yorker argued official calls, slammed his racket in disgust and angrily smacked a ball into a net. But he also managed to show some of his old tennis form in the first set when he broke Garrow's service in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, and again in the ninth game to take the set, 6-3.
McEnroe appeared on a roll as he broke Garrow's service in the sixth game of the second set and fought off three break points in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead. But McEnroe appeared to run out of gas, as Garrow won the next three games -- including the breaking of McEnroe's serve in the ninth game to pull within 5-4.
Garrow held service to tie the set at 5-5, but McEnroe won the next two games -- including the breaking of Garrow's service in the last game -- to take the match.
"I basically just choked a little bit -- I didn't put it away," McEnroe said. "I should have put it away, 6-3, 6-3. I didn't come up with the shots I needed to, and I got a little bit careless. I did the typical things players do when they get a little bit tight."
McEnroe buckled down after the scare at 5-5, and allowed just a single point in winning the next two games and the match.
"I was happy I readjusted and got back on and finished him off," McEnroe said. "It could have developed in a lot more of a nightmarish situation. I couldn't put it away. I would hope that it wouldn't happen again."
For Garrow, who advanced by beating Jared Palmer in a first round match on Monday, the result was the same as when he played McEnroe in Austria last year.
"I knew what to expect [last night]," Garrow said. "I don't think I played all that well until I was behind."
"You lose your service at love at critical times, and it costs you," Garrow added. "He was able to put the pressure on me -- that was the difference."
NOTES: In other matches yesterday, No. 6 seed Jaime Yzaga of Peru beat Mark Knowles, 7-5, 6-1; and No. 10 seed Jimmy Arias beat Alexander Mronz, 6-4, 7-5. Adams, Agassi's opponent tonight, advanced by beating Patrick Baur, 6-4, 6-4.
Jaime Yzaga (6), Peru, def. Mark Knowles, Provo, Utah, 7-5, 6-1; Johan Carlsson, Sweden, def. Peter Lundgren (9), Sweden, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4; Jimmy Arias (10), Buffalo, N.Y., def. Alexander Mronz, Germany, 6-4, 7-5; Malivai Washington (11), Swartz Creek, Mich., def. Chris Pridham, Canada, 6-3, 6-3; Petr Korda (12), Czechoslovakia, def. Bret Garnett, Columbia, S.C., 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4); Grant Connell (13), Canada, def. Andrew Sznajder, Canada, 6-3, 7-5; Grant Stafford, South Africa, def. Scott Davis (14), Newport Beach, Calif., 5-7, 7-5, 6-0; Chuck Adams, Pacific Palisades, Calif., def. Patrick Baur (15), Germany, 6-4, 6-4; Luis Herrera, Mexico, def. Jim Grabb, Tucson, Ariz., 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; John McEnroe, New York, def. Brian Garrow, Los Alto Hills, Calif., 6-4, 7-5; Brad Gilbert, San Rafael, Calif., def. John Sullivan, Rockville Center, N.Y., 4-6, 6-2, 6-2;