Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: in Cloud Cuckoo Land
LOCAL HOPES DASHED IN SINGLES
Ilke Gers, New Zealand's last hope in the qualifying draw, bowed out yesterday, falling 6-3 6-0 to American up-and-comer Ashley Harkleroad in the second round.
"I didn't get enough first serves in," said a disappointed Gers after the match. She struggled on second serve also, with five double faults. "I had my chances in the first set but didn't take them."
Gers will now focus on US$10,000 Wellington International at the end of January.
Harkleroad, on the other hand, has thoughts of the main draw in her mind as she faces fellow American Sarah Taylor in the final round of qualifying today.
"The past two matches I've played pretty well," she said. "I don't want to think about the main draw yet, I just want to focus on my next match." It'll be a reunion of sorts, the two meeting "a long time ago" on clay, with Taylor winning in three sets.
Win or lose, Harkleroad has made a bit of a splash with the media who have dubbed her the "Britney Spears of tennis".
She just hopes her groundstrokes are N'Synch.
There was better luck for the other Kiwi in action yesterday. Leanne Baker and her Indian partner Manisha Malhotra beat the Serra Zanetti sisters, Adriana and Antonella of Italy in the final round of doubles qualifying. In a thrilling final set tiebreaker, Baker and Malhotra came from 1-5 down to win 11-9. Now they face second seeds Tina Krizan and Katarina Srebotnik from Slovenia in the main draw.