Day 2 Review
By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE
In the first set against Ashley Harkleroad, she was more than hot. She was steaming. "I had almost the perfect first set," Capriati judged. "She played better (in the second set), but I think I regrouped pretty well." Capriati won 6-0, 6-3.
Playing at La Costa must appeal to the Japanese player. In her eight previous appearances there, she had achieved victories over such redoubtables as Amanda Coetzer, Capriati, Steffi Graf, Mary Pierce and Kim Clijsters. To this sequence Sugiyama yesterday added a 7-5, 6-0 victory over another strong player, Lisa Raymond.
She's surging. She dealt the veteran Coetzer a 6-1, 6-1 defeat.
"Hot" in this sense is meant in the hip sense of the word. Had the 17-year-old from Miami outfitted herself as she did during the U.S. Open – uh, revealingly – she could have been considered "hot." She chose a conservative costume. She also wasn't hot in a competitive sense in her loss to Capriati. "I was trying to overpower her," said Harkleroad. Not a good idea. "She is going to overpower me right now," decided Harkleroad, who has been a pro since she was 15.
At 30 the senior player in the Acura Classic field, Coetzer had to be feeling her years yesterday in her loss to Rubin.
Anschutz Entertainment Group
Might it have contacted operators of the Acura Classic concerning moving this event to a tennis complex AEG is creating in Carson? Jane Stratton, president of Promotion Sports Inc., said the firm has received no overtures from AEG. And if it would be contacted? "We're happy right here," said Stratton.
VENUS, THE BATTLER
The suggestion was made to Venus Williams yesterday that if she and younger sister Serena would choose to hang around that long, the Williams sisters might be able to command women's tennis for 25 years.
"Twenty-five years!" said Venus. "I'd be 47. People probably would be asking me to retire. 'Venus, go away.' "
Venus would put no ceiling on how long she intends to remain in tennis, but she indicated her departure from the game is in no way imminent.
"As long as we're working hard," she said of herself and her sister, "I feel we can be the best players for a long time."
Venus this weekend can become the first player to capture the Acura Classic three consecutive years. She is coming into her first match tonight full of fight.
"Normally, I don't go down easily," said Venus. "At least I'm going down with a fight when I do go down. I know that mentally I'm always there, and even when I'm not playing well I can just fight my way through a match."
In the tournament's court is John McEnroe, arms lifted questioningly, shrugging. It's not the real McEnroe, it's a life-size cutout, positioned there as part of an airline promotion.
Corina Morariu was presented a first Acura Comeback Award, with Capriati selected to make the presentation. "I didn't have an illness," Capriati said later, "but I know what it is like to come back from something."
At the tournament site: Brian Teacher, 47, the former San Diegan who captured the French Open in 1980. Teacher, who resides in Santa Monica, is coaching Marissa Irvin, a Southern California player who began well against Anna Smashnova of Israel. Smashnova, however, rallied for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Teacher was struck by the musculature of Francesca Schiavone of Italy. "A rock," he termed her. Her tennis was less substantial. After taking the first set from Anastasia Myskina, Schiavone had the Russian woman hit back for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
DID YOU HEAR?
"She has a good game. She's a good athlete who can move the ball around the court. I didn't really have any trouble with her pace." – Capriati on Harkleroad