RAYMOND FEELS AT HOME IN OPENER
Philadelphia Daily News
Tuesday, November 10, 1992
Author: Bill Fleischman
Playing her first pro tennis match in her hometown made Lisa Raymond understandably nervous. But she fooled the sparse crowd last night at the Civic Center. And to her opponent, Raymond was a swift sorceress.
Beverly Bowes, an eight-year tour veteran, won only two points in the first three games as Raymond swept their first-round Virginia Slims of Philadelphia match, 6-1, 6-3.
"I was very nervous going into the match," said Raymond, a Wayne resident and the reigning NCAA singles champion. "I wasn't too worried about winning or losing. I just wanted to play well.
"There were so many people out there that I hadn't seen in so long," the University of Florida sophomore continued. Raymond, 19, said friends from the Academy of Notre Dame were among the crowd of 1,965, greeting the wild-card entrant before the match with such casual greetings as "Hey, what's up?"
What's up for Raymond is a tennis career hovering close to full-fledged pro status. She intends to compete for Florida through the spring. Then, if she feels sufficiently improved, she will wave farewell to her Gators teammates and join the pro tour.
When Bowes, 27, ranked No. 109 in the world, began hitting moonball returns early in the match last night, Raymond knew her more experienced rival was in trouble. The first set lasted a mere 19 minutes.
"When she started hitting lobs," Raymond said, "I knew she was having problems with my aggressiveness and the hardness of the ball. It does signal to me that she can't stay out there and hit with me. She has to mix it up.
"I expected Beverly to play a little better," Raymond said. "I had never played her before, but I had seen her play."
After breaking Bowes's serve in the second and sixth games of the first set, Raymond broke again in the third game of the second set. With a 5-3 lead and Bowes dangling at double match point, Raymond hit a forehand long. But on the second match point, Raymond confidently stroked an unreturnable backhand passing shot to clinch the match.
Some of Raymond's confidence against pro like Bowes can be traced to her second-round U.S. Open match against top-ranked Monica Seles two months ago. Raymond lost, 7-5, 6-0, but she left New York encouraged by her performance in the first set.
"I wanted to go back to 5-all so bad," said Raymond, ranked No. 132. "I kept replaying that game. It gave me a lot of confidence, knowing I could play with the top player in the world, at least for a set."
Raymond's second-round outing here will be against the winner of tonight's match between seventh-seeded Amy Frazier and Caroline Kuhlman.
Four years on the pro tour has given Amanda Coetzer a reality check on several things.
One is, the climb up the rankings ladder toward the top 10 is difficult. Another is, when you're from South Africa, you get home very little.
After finishing last year at No. 67 in the world, Coetzer has moved up to No. 20 with victories over Gabriela Sabatini and Jennifer Capriati. But Coetzer knows the next few steps will be the toughest.
"It's a long way up there (to the top 10)," Coetzer said yesterday after winning her first-round match over Shaun Stafford. Stafford, a former NCAA singles champion from the University of Florida, retired with an ankle injury after Coetzer took the first set, 6-1.
"In the last few tournaments I played, I put too much pressure on myself," Coetzer said. "In Taiwan, I was the top seed. In Puerto Rico, I was the second seed. I'm not used to that. I have to learn to deal with that."
Coetzer, 21, hasn't made the 18-hour trip home since July. One of her stops was in Barcelona, Spain, for the Olympics. She defeated Zina Garrison in the first round, but then bowed to Spain's Conchita Martinez in the round of 16.
When Coetzer is in the United States, she plays out of the Dennis Van Der Meer's tennis center in Hilton Head, S.C.
While South Africa was banned from international competition for its apartheid policy, the Olympics weren't even shown in the country, except on the nightly news highlights.
"I didn't know what to expect," she said. "It was a great experience. It was nice to meet the other South African athletes.
"I've never had any animosity toward me because I'm from South Africa. But we've been so removed from the world, the young people are anxious to get out and travel."
Third-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is Coetzer's next opponent. Later yesterday, Coetzer and Californian Cammy MacGregor lost their first-round doubles match to Lori McNeil and Brenda Schultz, 6-4, 7-5.
Top-seeded Steffi Graf plays tonight's featured match at 7 o'clock vs. Elena Brioukhovets, a first-round winner yesterday over Jill Hetherington, 6-2, 6-0. Sixth-seeded Mary Pierce opens today's schedule at 10 a.m. vs. Kathy Rinaldi . . . No. 5 Conchita Martinez, the only seeded player in singles yesterday, defeated Nathalie Herreman, 6-4, 6-1 . . . As part of Arthur Ashe Night at the tournament, Ashe Foundation volunteers tonight will distribute AIDS educational information and collect donations. Ashe, a former U.S. and Wimbledon champion, announced last spring that he was infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, during surgery several years ago.