Italy's Mara Santangelo caused an upset on Sunday morning at the ASB Classic by defeating seventh seed Alina Jidkova in the second round qualifying tournament in straight sets, 7-6 6-1.
Santangelo, ranked 138 in the world, made Jidkova pay for not making the most of her advantages in a match that lasted just over an hour on Centre Court at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre.
The Russian Jidkova held a break lead in the first set but let it slip with Santangelo then taking the set into a tiebreak.
Jidkova shot out to a 5-2 lead in the decider before her game capitulated and she lost five straight points to go down in a set that she really should have won.
The second set was a much more straight forward affair with Jidkova, ranked 97, spending more time gazing into her racquet after she'd slammed into the floor, rather than concentrating on winning points as Santangelo comfortably took the set to go to one match away from being in the first round proper.
Jan 4th, 2004, 03:02 AM
I also hear that Craybas def. Paula Marama easily.
Too bad for Kim Grant :sad: :sad:
Why on earth Shinobu had to play qualifying!
Jan 4th, 2004, 10:11 AM
OMG, Meilen :woohoo:
Such a fighter :yeah:
Jan 4th, 2004, 10:12 AM
Tu too good
By David Long at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre
Two former ASB Classic finalists met up in the second round of qualifying on Sunday afternoon with 2001 champion Meilen Tu defeating Tatiana Panova 5-7 7-6 6-1 in a match that lasted two hours and 20 minutes.
In a match with enough quality to be a final the two former high ranked players slugged it out with some sublime tennis.
Oddly the match was played on court four and not centre court but there were still plenty of people packed around the perimeters and in the stand to watch the match.
Panova jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first set before Tu then squared it up.
However, Panova, who was a finalist in 2002, was able to serve for the set at 5-4 and had two set points but both times Tu won the point. Although she was to falter when serving at 5-6 to go down in the set.
Tu got a big lead in the second set and was up 5-1 at one point, but she then slipped off the pace and Panova brought it back to 5-5 with plenty of games going to deuce along the way.
Inevitably the set went into a tiebreak which Tu won 7-2 to split the sets.
Although Panova didn't look tired in the third set, Tu played much better and broke three times to win the set 6-1.
After the match Tu admitted that she didn't play well at the beginning of the match.
"I played pretty poorly at the beginning of the first set and I fought my way back.
"I could have won in two sets but I could have easily lost in two sets."
But it was Tu's superior fitness that saw her home in the end and she said she thought she felt the fresher of the two players.
"It definitely helped that it wasn't sunny today," she said. "I was getting a little bit tired in the third, but I think she was feeling even more tired, we were both running a lot."
Tu will play the Jill Craybas in the final round of qualifying on Monday. Craybas defeated Tu in the second round of the classic last year.
Jan 4th, 2004, 10:16 AM
Learning experience for Marama
By David Long at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre
Paula Marama hopes to learn from her first experience at a WTA tournament after going down 6-2 6-0 to the vastly more experienced Jill Craybas on Sunday afternoon.
In patches Marama demonstrated the potential she has as a tennis player, but also showed that she's got a few rough edges to smooth down just yet.
After the match Marama said she now appreciates the intensity of tennis required to win this class of matches.
"She had a lot of experience at this level and was very consistent and fast," Marama said. "Now I know what it's like to play at this level.
"I have to be more aggressive and a lot more consistent too."
Marama told nzoom.com after beating Diane Hollands in the first round of qualifying that she wanted to cut down on the number of errors she's making for the match against Craybas, and she felt that to some degree she achieved that.
"Maybe just a little but not so much," she said. "I was working on that because I wanted to do something good here, but it didn't come off."
Marama will play with her sister, Eden, in the first round of doubles on Tuesday and her plan is to go out and enjoy the experience, although they have a good chance of winning against the poorly ranked American duo of Jennifer Hopkins and Janet Lee while Craybas goes on to play Meilen Tu in the final round of qualifying on Monday.
It may not have been a tough match for Craybas in the second round, but she felt that Marama is a player with plenty of potential.
Craybas observed Marama in her first round victory over Diane Hollands on Saturday and was impressed by what she saw of the 19-year-old.
"I knew she had a big serve," Craybas said. "My coach and I were commenting that she's a talented player, just the way she hits the ball and the way she moves.
"I don't really know that much about her, maybe if she had a bit more experience or something, it seemed like she hadn't played a lot of matches.
"But I think she could do well, she's got a big serve, she's strong and she's definitely talented.
"I was moving a little bit to try and put her off with her serve, but my return is probably one of my strengths and usually I'm not too worried the opponent's serve.
"It's always different watching someone play from actually playing them, so it was still difficult to get accustomed in the beginning because I've never played her before.
"I didn't really have a certain game plan against her I was just had what I'd been working on and what I knew could win."