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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 2002, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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reports from Dubai

Wednesday report

Olga cruises as Angelique, Camille and Galina win
By Moni Mathews

THE $100,000 plus ITF sanctioned Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge for women went a gear higher on the third day at the Metropolitan Resort and Beach last night.

Playing with greater precision than seen on the opening days, four girls, good enough to be in top flight women’s tennis a short time from now, made the quarter-final grades in contrasting styles.

Most impressive into the grove right from the word go in the pre-quarter-finals was Belarusian beauty Olga Barabanchikova who will easily put Anna Kournikova shades lower in terms of game ability and physical looks.

She made short work of Al Habtoor veteran Katalin-Marosi Aracama without losing a game (6-0, 6-0) in her short and sweet 35-minute episode on Court 1.

“I was playing really good today. I want to get back to where I belong. The long layoff due to injury and personal reasons have cost me a lot. I know I have the game and I want to do justice to the early promise shown in my career,” Olga, 433 in the world and a wild card here, said.

Olga who reached glorious heights in the junior Wimbledon some years back, is 22 now, and plans on a comeback in her tennis career.

There was hardly anything right 214 world ranked wild card Katalin could do in the last pre-quarterfinal singles game for the night and knowing the frame of mind that she was in, we did not press her for post match statements.

Giant-killer Galina Fokina (Russia) the 189 listed player in WTA had a 6-4, 6-2 win over Austrian hopeful, 174th world ranked Patricia Wartusch.

“Wartusch was on 60 in the world a couple of years back. I was into time-off recovering from an operation and I have been her coach for the past six months back.

“There are bound to be some ups and downs in a playing career. Patricia is 22 now and still has a future. Further Galina is playing well after upsetting the top seed on Monday,” said Stefan Leiner, Wartucsh’s coach, a former Austrian player in the men’s circuit.

WTA 199 Camille Pin from France booked a last eight slot beating Olga Blahotova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-4 where the first set was a real touch and go affair.

Blahotova was a trifle unlucky to lose serve early which Camille relied upon to settle for a two-game margin in the end.

The day’s best fought match was on Court 1 where crowd favourite, the polite and soft spoken Angelique Widjaja fought from nowhere to clinch a 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-1 triumph against the veteran Laurence Andretto from France.

Laurence, with a lot more of firepower in her game especially in her first serve and forehands than in previous years here also had a beautiful sliced backhand.

She had a ding dong battle in the first set before squeezing home 7-6 with an impressive tie-break scoreline of 7-2.

Laurence cruising along fine on the same lines when she led 3-2, 4-2 and held serve to sit pretty at 5-2 in the second set..

Angelique at this stage hampered by indifferent form when it came to her chips at the net and forehands, approached the game with a nothing to lose attitude which paid off.

The wiry Bandung based Wimbledon junior champ held serve to reduce it to 3-5, broke Laurence next for 4-5 and held again to square matters.

In the 11th, Angelique broke through on love game for 6-5 and finally served her way past 0-30 to clinch the set at 7-5 and force the rubber.

The third set was an anti-climax as a visibly tired Laurence began to make mistakes like in the late part of the second set.

“Laurence is a great fighter but she looked tired and could not play like in the beginning. I played with a more relaxed mind but never gave up when down 2-5 in the second after the narrow first set loss. I made her run more with cross court shots but my chips were not working at all today,” said Angelique.

Tuesday Report
Wimbledon junior champion impresses
By Moni Mathews

WIMBLEDON junior champion, world junior number five and Asia number four, Angelique Widjaja was as impressive as her credentials during play when she inflicted a 6-1, 6-1 whitewash on Belarus’s Al Habtoor regular, Nedejda Ostrovskaya yesterday in the $100,000 plus Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge.

On a busy second day when no less than 12 of the 14-match first round schedule were completed by 2100hrs, there were two upsets but not in the proportions of Day One when top seed Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus was shown the exit door by 18-year-old outsider, Russian Galina Fokina.

Alena Vaskova (Czech Republic), the seventh seed and world 126 went crashing in round one of the bottom half of the draw when team-mate Olga Blahatova, listed at 204, won 6-3, 6-2.

Following Vaskova was eighth seed Morrocan Bahia Mouhtassine, another Al Habtoor veteran.

Bahia fought back from the brink in the first set after being down 4-5 and against serve in the 10th to force out a 7-6 tie break decision in her favour against Belarusian Olga Barabanchiko.

Olga made amends with better controlled volleying and cross court shots to clinch the second set 6-3 and broke through Bahia’s armoury against serve in the ninth of the third set for 5-4 before wrapping up the issue 6-4 on her serve.

Stocky Bahia, rated 142 in the world, looked a tired player in the rubber against her taller and strongly built opponent. Her deep volleying suffered most as the returns without much punch were punished at will by the Belarusian world number 433.

Leading the seeds’ charge was Angelique with her superior court craft and intelligent play against Nedejda who found the going tough against the 17-year-old Bandung based Indonesian.

Angelique has the distinction of perhaps being the only player to have won a WTA tournament on debut when she won the previous $170,000 Bali Open. Angelique was then ranked 579 in the world and was given a wild card into the main draw on the strength of her being a promising local junior.

She has not looked back since.

Seeded six here and rated 128 in the world currently, Angelique found the conditions here to her liking. “The game was good but my opponent made a lot of errors on both hands,” she said.

Backed by her personal coach and ex-Indonesian Davis Cupper, Deddy Tedjamukti, the wiry Indonesian schoolgirl who these days only attend school part-time because of her fast improving status in the tennis world, won the first set 6-1 after breaking early against Nedejda.

The first set lasted hardly 18 minutes and the second went a few minutes longer because Nedejda was able to find better depth in her returns which the clever Angelique countered with a change in pace.

Angelique varied in her approach strokes by including the chip near the net and indulged in some serve and volley tactics to catch Nedejda on the wrong foot. Angelique’s forte, the forehand, hit with a lot of power but without much sound during impact between the ball and the strings, had the Belarusian baffled.

Denmark’s second seed Eva Dyrberg was to meet Italian Roberta Vinci in a late night game.

Angelique next runs into Al Habtoor senior, Frenchwoman Laurence Andretto and if she clears this, will probably have an interesting quarter-final clash with Eva in the bottom half.

Also in the bottom half, world 100 Seda Noorlander, who has big victories in her name against some of the big names in the WTA circuit, had a quick 6-2, 6-2 victory over team-mate Yvette Basting in a first round fixture.

Venezuelan debutant here, Maria Vento-Kabchi downed Luxembourg’s Claudine Schaul 6-0, 6-3, again in the bottom half.

Fifth seed Czech lady Klara Koukalova kept her second round appointment intact with a 7-5, 6-3 scoreline against German Adriana Barna of Germany.

Last year’s runner-up fourth seeded Aniko Kapros from Hungary was quick to get her second round warm-up with a 6-4, 6-0 first hurdle clearance over French entry Lea Girardi.

Austria’s Patricia Wartusch had to work hard for her 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 top half first round encounter against Italian Flavia Penetta.

In a clash of the qualifiers, Russian Ekaterina Syssoeva defeated Hong Kong’s top player Tong Ka Pong 6-2, 6-4.

In doubles action, the Klemenschits twins (Austria), Daniela and Sandra, sailed past Caroline-Ann Basu (Germany) and Maria Pavlidou 6-1, 6-2 while Russian pair Ekaternia and Goulnara Fattakhetdinc ousted Christine Fitz (Germany) and Eugenia Subbotina (Belarus) 7-5, 6-2.

Good luck to my favs


MINELLA TsurenkoAlize Lim*El Tabakh*Robson*Cirstea
*Bellis*Soylu*Sibille*Uberalova*Eden Silva*
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 2002, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Aniko, Seda sent out in Habtoor Challenge
By Moni Mathews

TWO big seeds went out of the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge on Day 4 at the Metropolitan Resort and Beach Club (MR&BC) yesterday.

The first blow came when the experienced senior Tour player from the Netherlands Seda Noorlander lost 1-6, 2-6 to qualifier Ekaterina Syssoeva of Russia in the pre-quarterfinal on Court 3.

Runner-up last year, Aniko Kapros (Hungary), seeded four this time, went down tamely to Japanese world number 168 Shinobu Asagoe 3-6, 1-6, later in a Court 1 last 16 encounter.

The others joining the quarter-final lineup yesterday were the second seed Eva Dyrberg of Denmark who withstood Venezuelan number one Maria Vento-Kabchi’s attacking baseline play for a 7-6, 6-4 win, and fifth seed Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic who had to wage a three-hour plus battle against team-mate Eva Krejcova before scampering home 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the quarter-finals starting at 4pm today, Indonesia’s Angelique Widjaja meets Eva in what should be a clash worth going all the way to watch at Mina Seyahi, where MR&BC is located.

The sixth seeded Wimbledon junior champion from Bandung has all the credentials for an upset against the fluent stroke-play of the Dane.

At the same time on Court 3 dangerous floater Camille Pin of France takes on another equally dangerous player here, Ekaterina.

Russia’s Galina Fokina’s giantkilling run will definitely be on test when Belarus’ strong Olga Barabanchikova will be there in her attempt to progress into the semis.

Olga with her good looks and powerful play looks a good bet for a win here but Galina has a forehand and a good serve to tilt the scales in her favour again.

Olga, now ranked 433 after slipping from below 50 two seasons ago is on a comeback trail after a long layoff. Her demolition of Hungarian veteran Katalin Marosi-Aracama on Wednesday night makes her one of the favourites for the title this year.

Today’s concluding last eight fixture is between Shinobu and Klara. Shinobu has the experience and guile after being a top 50 player in the world in 2001 but Klara is one that never gives up and has a superb running forehand that can trouble most players here.

Klara’s fightback in the last 16 yesterday is ample testimony to her fighting qualities.

Coming back to yesterday’s action, the match of the day turned out to be a near washout as Shinobu eased past a slightly heavier and slow serving Aniko who reached the final last year unseeded.

Surprisingly, Aniko whose serves let her down in against Eleni Danniidou in the 2001 showdown, still remain the same. The first serve had nothing in it in terms of speed and the second though spin charged fell far too short in length.

The 22-year-old Japanese lady was quick on her feet and had the ability to return deep off both hands against Aniko who last year was the world junior number two..

“I was better today and I am also lucky that my opponent made mistakes early in the match and I think the turning point was when she lost serve after a close third set to trail 3-0,” Shinobu said.

Ekaterina could prove to be the surprise package of the tournament this year. Ranked 326 in the world she had to qualify here and has been improving from game to game. The build-up looks solid.

Seda was expected to cruise past her but the Russian’s superior ground strokes and consistency with her cross court shots saw the latter advancing.

Czech Klara kept her seeding intact with a spirited fight-back against her friend from home. Krejcova shrugged off two service losses to clinch the first set 6-4 and led 4-3 with serve to come but somehow got lost in between to lose the second set 6-3.

The third was equally well fought but Klara’s improving form off late came to her help in the closing stages.

Eva is a fleet footed player and can actually play single handed shots both ways but prefers a double handed backhand. She has an effective first serve backed by a flat spin charged second.

Her match against Maria saw both players lose serves often.

“We lost serves so much that we lost count but I was unlucky when I sportingly agreed to a disputable line call in the second set after fighting from 2-5 to 4-5 with serve to come,” Maria said.

“The windy conditions affected us and in the second set I lost concentration for no particular reason. At that moment I led 5-2, struggled to a 5-4 situation before pulling it off with my serve in the 10th,” said Eva.

Eva in fact ended the affair in style with an ace to Maria’s right hand corner.

In doubles quarter-final action last night, Ekaterina partnered Goulnara Fattakhetdinc (Russia) to go past fourth seeds Caroline Schneider (Germany) and Andreea Vanc (Romania) 6-1, 6-4 while the Klemenschits (Austria) twins, Daniela and Sandra, went down in two closely fought sets 6-7, 4-6 to Bahia Mouhtassine (Morocco) and Angelique.

In the doubles semis tonight after the singles quarterfinals, the South Korean-Hong Kong pair of Jeon Mi-Ra and Tong Ka Pong meet Bahia and Angelique on Court 1 and Kirstin Freye (Germany) and Seda take on Ekaterina and Goulnara on Court 3.

Asagoe shocks Klara for semifinal slot
By Moni Mathews

JAPAN's Shinobu Asagoe knocked out fifth seed Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a semifinal date with Belarusí wild-card entry Olga Barabanchikova who steam-rolled over giantkiller Galina Fokina of Russia 6-3, 6-1 in the quarter-finals of the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge at the Metropolitan Resort and Beach Club last night.

Joining them in the semis and setting up a clash between themselves next were Camille Pin of France, a 6-0, 6-3 winner against Ekaterina Syssoeva (Russia), and Angelique Widjaja of Indonesia who put aside Denmarkís Eva Dyrberg.

Sixth seed Angelique shocked the second seeded Eva 6-2, 6-4 on Court One early in the evening.

Angelique had her job made easy when Eva made costly forehand errors while on the run and close to the net midway through he first set for a 6-2 romp.

The second saw Eva come back strongly, hardly ever going into the serve and volley mode, by holding and breaking for 3-2 and held again in the sixth for 4-2.

On Angeliqueís next serve, Eva slowly picking up in rhythm threatened to walk away with the set. The Dane played brilliantly mixing her stylish backhand with forceful forehands down the flanks.

Angelique is not one to give up till the end normally, as was shown in her great fight-back in the pre-quarters against veteran Habtoor player Laurence Andretto of France.

The Indonesian clung on from 0-30 in the seventh to level and go ahead 40-30 before Eva sent down one of her solid high back-lift forehands for deuce and three more deuces gone through before Angelique managed to reduce the set scores to 4-3.

On serve in the eighth Eva, as her coach mentioned later, seemed unsettled, calling out loudly in frustration. Here, the graceful, fast running Dane lost her focus and was literally broken down in most aspects of the game by Angelique.

The second set was in our bag but Eva who is a great sportswoman and a wonderful person to work with, just lost out in mind to clinch it,î said travelling personal coach Tine Scheuer-Larsen.

Camille was her usual efficient self in her baseline play returning everything and anticipating well which made her job that much easier in her quarters versus a surprisingly erratic Ekaterina.

First set went at love and the second except for a minor hiccup during serve in the fourth, Camille literally strolled into the final four for a date with Angelique.

Belarussian stunner Olga is the leading candidate, as far as player popularity is concerned at the beach complex courts.

Not only does she carry out her court-work with clinical fashion she is also friendly and easy to talk to, anytime she is approached irrespective of who it is.

On her win over giantkiller Galina who stunned top-seed Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus on the opening day, Olga in her good spoken English which she picked up when in London some time back, said: 'I played good today. Playing in windy conditions is something I hate. Galina is a good player but she committed too may errors to stay in the match.'

'Against Asagoe in the semis, I am confident though she manages to return without too many mistakes. Itís going to be a good game, but I am confident of going ahead.'

Galina said: 'The wind was no problem. It was one of my bad days. I did not do a single thing right throughout.'

First set was a cruise for 6-1 for the hard-hitting Minsk girl who at 22 is determined to get back at sub-50 in the world, a status she held before slipping to her current 433 due to injury and a long layoff a year back.

Olga went about her business the same way she did in the first and was 3-0 ahead in the second set with an inspiring show in the third game where she retrieved near impossible balls low down on the baseline corners and near the net to put Galina totally out of place.

In sheer frustration, the left handed Galina even cried out loud ìOh God!î when her usually reliable forehand executed with the quick turn of the wrist deserted her at crucial moments.

Osaka lady Shinobu at 25 is a tenacious player, never willing to give in. She showed that she could trade shot for shot against her seeded opponent.

Klara has the tournamentís best forehand. It is carried out with the minimum of back-lift and goes just inches above the net at terrific speeds which Shinobu countered well by bending down slightly while receiving to take the venom off it.

It was difficult to understand as to how a player with such command in forehands and running ability could lose out but one must understand that Shinobu was a former below-50 player.

'Klara made many mistakes in the first set. The second set, well I took it easy and paid for it. In the third set it was my serve and better mental outlook that helped me beat Klara today. The wind I did not like at all but the cooler evenings for the last two days has helped me conserve my energy,' Shinobu said.

Twenty-year-old Klara enjoying a career best 126 ranking in the world at the moment, had no excuses for her loss: 'Yes, I was getting frustrated but it was you know, I just lost, thereís nothing I can say about it.'

Shinobu led 3-1 with a break and services held in the second but Klara reduced it to 4-3 later before the Japanese went a notch ahead with deep returns for 5-3 on serve and waited till service changed after Klara held for 5-4, to set up a date with Olga.

'I have not seen Olga play but she is good and I say it will be a very good game tomorrow,' Shinobu said.

Good luck to my favs


MINELLA TsurenkoAlize Lim*El Tabakh*Robson*Cirstea
*Bellis*Soylu*Sibille*Uberalova*Eden Silva*
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