Dechy win sets up rematch
Top-seeded Clijsters lost to Frenchwoman in last year’s event
March 10 2003
By Patti Myers
The Desert Sun
INDIAN WELLS -- Nathalie Dechy smiles when she talks about the Pacific Life Open.
The tournament has been good for her, and she has fourth-round appearances on her resume to show for it.
Dechy is on track toward another late-round appearance following Sunday’s 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Italy’s Silvia Farina Elia.
The 21st-ranked Italian has always been a tough opponent for Dechy, who is ranked No. 22 in the world. However, she now leads the series 4-2.
"It’s a good tournament that I like,’’ Dechy said of her fourth appearance in Indian Wells. "It’s always good to come here, to have this great place here. It’s so calm, like peaceful. You’re there just to play tennis and focus on the tennis.
"Yeah, I like this place. I always did some great matches. I had some great victories. Why not keep going?"
Dechy will have a chance to pull another upset Tuesday when she meets top-seeded Kim Clijsters.
Clijsters, the top seed a year ago as well, was on the losing end of last year’s second-round match against Dechy (6-2, 7-5). The 24-year-old Frenchwoman said that match is sure to be in the back of her mind -- and Clijster’s as well.
"Both of us will have this match in a little corner of our mind,’’ she said. "It won’t be the same because Kim -- since that match -- has won a lot of matches and is now the No. 3 in the world, has won more championships.
"On the court, it’s going to be really tough for sure. But I’m happy to play against her for sure."
Still, during Sunday’s match, Dechy had to overcome Farina Elia. She doesn’t have an answer for all of the tough matches she’s had against Farina Elia.
"Maybe she likes my game," Dechy said. "She’s really hard -- it’s hard to win a point against her because she moves really well. She changes the pace. Her balls are always well-placed in the court. It’s a game that bothers me a little bit, so I had to be really careful on her."
Farina Elia started well Sunday, and Dechy found herself trailing for most of the first set. She admitted she had to fight to stay in the match and grab a point at a time.
The turning point came in the second set.
"In the beginning of the second set, I start to feel really better, like try to move much better, to hit the ball better," she said.
Dechy tried desperately to step up in the court, go to the net and alter the pace of the game.
"On the first set, I was always behind my line,’’ she said. "She was like the boss on the court, making me run. In the second set, it started to change."
Dechylikes where her game is going and has played solid tennis already this season, winning her first career WTA Tour title at Gold Coast in Australia.
"For the last few months, my tennis has been improving a lot," she said. "There are more and more players, top 20, top 30, who are able to play well and beat the top 10."
Dechy gets her chance to do just that Tuesday against Clijsters, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over Italy’s Francesca Schiavone.