DUTCH SCHULTZ ALIVE AT FAMILY CIRCLE
Saturday, April 4, 1992
HILTON HEAD, S.C. -- The Final Four at the Family Circle Cup features three of the best clay courters in the world -- defending champion Gabriela Sabatini, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez -- and surprise -- Brenda Schultz.
Schultz, the Dutchwoman who lives in Delray Beach, came through a giant hole in the draw, created by the upsets of Jennifer Capriati and Zina Garrison, to reach her biggest semifinal ever.
"I had a good draw but I still had to beat good players," said Schultz, ranked No. 30, whose lone pro title was the OTB Classic in Schenectady last year. "It's very exciting to do so well at a tournament like this, and especially on clay."
Schultz, who stands 6-foot-2 and boasts the fastest serve in women's tennis, proved that she could also stay in the rallies. She defeated Rosalyn Fairbank- Nideffer, Stacy Martin and Veronika Martinek, and then topped qualifier Caroline Kuhlman of Lakeside Park, Ky., 6-3, 6-1 in Friday's quarterfinals.
Today, Schultz steps up a class to challenge Sabatini (Channels 4, 5 at 2 p.m.)
"If I'm very patient like I was today, I give myself a good chance," said Schultz, who has Top 10 victories over Mary Joe Fernandez and Jana Novotna. "Sabatini can play incredibly well, but her game can also go off. I have to make sure that I use the time when she is not there."
Schultz won a second-set tiebreaker against Sabatini at Lipton, but got crushed in the other two sets 6-1, 6-0.
"Brenda is a tough player because she does not give you much rhythm," said Sabatini, who defeated Patricia Hy 6-2, 6-3 Friday. "Her serve is not as strong on clay, but she's playing much better from the baseline."
Schultz gets a lot of attention for her serve, which was been timed at 120 miles per hour during a doubles match in Boca Raton three years ago.
"I don't believe that," said Schultz, who was timed at 109 miles per hour Friday. "Everyone talks about my big serve, but it's not true that I'm just a big server."
Today's other semifinal matches the two best players in Spain, who are both off to superlative starts. Sanchez won Lipton, while Martinez reached back-to-back finals at Indian Wells and the Virginia Slims of Florida.
Sanchez defeated Leila Meskhi 6-3, 6-3 Friday. Martinez ousted Natalia Zvereva 6-2, 6-2.
"It's nice to play a player from your country," said Sanchez, who teamed up with Martinez on Spain's winning Federation Cup team last year. "There's no pressure to beat Conchita because she is No. 2 in Spain."
Sanchez beat Martinez 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals at Sydney last January, the only time they've played as pros.
"Arantxa is very quick on the court and she runs to every ball," said Martinez, who will play doubles with Sanchez at the Olympics in their hometown of Barcelona this summer.
"I have to be ready on every ball. I am playing well and I am playing happy. This should be a good match."