Harkleroad happy with efforts
By Dale Budge at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre
It is a very happy Ashley Harkleroad after her first up win at the ASB Classic on Monday.
The 18-year-old American will now have a day off before facing a possible showdown with 2002 champion Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi on Wednesday in the second round.
She looked very comfortable during the first set of her match against Teryn Ashley but was pushed a lot harder in the second set.
"I know her (Ashley) very well, I've played doubles with her," Harkleroad said following her victory on Monday.
"I was pretty pleased with it. It is my first tournament of the year and it was my first match of the year. I was a little nervous at the beginning but I am happy I got through it and I think I played pretty well," she said.
It would have a tough start to her 2004 calendar with a one hour and six minute battle in very hot conditions on centre court at Auckland.
Not only was the heat a major factor but also the wind at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre was causing some players a few problems.
"I have been in Miami so its very windy there and so I am used to it. It was a little more windy in the second than in the first set," she admitted.
"It is hotter here. In Miami it is winter so its only about 60 degrees."
The fact that she was forced to work much harder in the second set may well be a blessing in disguise, not that she would admit that after her first round match though.
"Umm, no," she laughed.
"I just kept trying to do the things that I knew I should do and just try to stay focused but like I said it was my first match of the year so I was pretty happy with the way I competed."
Harkleroad's second round match will be against either Smashnova-Pistolesi or Julia Vakulenko.
"I have never played her in a tournament but I practised with her this week and she likes to move me around a little bit."
Harkleroad admitted that she was happy with the draw in Auckland, which sees her get a day off from singles action on Tuesday.
"I can practise and just work on doubles and then concentrate on singles again on Wednesday."