US OPEN: Harkleroad Comeback Trail Hits Snag
/noticias.info/ by Whit Sheppard
Monday, August 29, 2005
Flintstone, Georgia's most famous resident, 20-year-old Ashley Harkleroad, hit a bump Monday on what has been an impressive summer comeback road, retiring down 0-6, 0-3 from her first-round match with 58th-ranked Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia.
Zuluaga pinned her opponent down from the outset of the match with flat, blistering groundstrokes and heavily angled serves, never giving the American wild card recipient a chance to play her way into the match.
Harkleroad's coach, Heath Waters, said she has been suffering recently from a respiratory infection and had been forced to cut short a training session Sunday. Monday's humid, muggy conditions likely exacerbated the situation. Harkleroad called for a trainer after the third game of the second set and, after a cursory on-court examination, shook the umpire's hand and left the court in front of a surprised crowd on the Grandstand court.
After Zuluaga broke Harkleroad in the second game of the match, the American turned to her supporters at mid-court and mouthed, "I'm so nervous." She never managed to attain any sort of rhythm on her strokes and was forced to play defensively throughout the match, which lasted only 27 minutes.
The match was indeed as lopsided as the scoreline. The final ledger: three winners and 18 unforced errors for Harkleroad compared to 14 and seven for Zuluaga, a 16-minute first set, and 12 total points won by Harkleroad, including only four on her own serve.
"She was as tight as a drum," said Waters of his charge, adding that he was still pleased overall with Harkleroad's recent progression, which has included Challenger wins in 2005 in Louisville and Washington D.C.
Zuluaga advances to a second-round match against fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters, a straight-set winner over Martina Muller of Germany.
Aug 30th, 2005, 03:28 PM
Aug 30th, 2005, 04:07 PM
Here is the segment of the Tennis Week interview I referred to, dated 7/27/05:
Ashley Harkleroad: She's OK now. She has to be very careful. She had a tumor in her neck. It was the worst stage of melanoma :sad: so she's got to go back quite frequently for visitations with the doctors, but other than that, she's doing well. Her sister is struggling now, unfortunately. But she's doing better herself, that's for sure.