View Full Version : Harkleroad Storms Into Family Circle Cup Quarters

Apr 10th, 2003, 11:19 PM
Harkleroad Storms Into Family Circle Cup Quarters

By Brad Falkner

Ashley Harkleroad aspires to be a top 10 player someday. Today, she played like one. The 17-year-old Harkleroad crushed a seeded player for the second successive match as she swept aside 11th-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy, 6-2, 6-2, today to advance to her first career Tier I quarterfinal at the Family Circle Cup.

The victory came the day after the 5-foot-5 Harkleroad blew ninth-seeded Elena Bovina way by the same 6-2, 6-2, score.

The 23-year-old Shaughnessy, whose hard work in the weight room has helped her pack 15 pounds of muscle onto her 5-foot-11 frame, entered this event coming off an impressive straight-set victory over second-ranked Venus Williams en route to the quarterfinals of the Nasdaq-100 Open.

With a strong serve and fearsome forehand, Shaughnessy is accustomed to controlling play against lower-ranked opponents. But today, Harkleroad took the court determined to execute a decisive game plan — dictate play from the outset.

"I just went out there ready to go," Harkleroad said. "My coach (former ATP pro Jay
Berger) said: 'Let's take it to her.' I came out just really hitting the ball well."

Hitting with crisp conviction, Harkleroad dominated Shaughnessy for the entire match. Typically, the Harkleroad serve has not been her biggest weapon, but today she won 79 percent of her first-serve points and 67 percent of her second serve points.

Moving quickly across the clay and exploding into her shots from a low crouch, Harkleroad put a brilliant display of baseline tennis, repeatedly forcing Shaughnessy into sideline-to-sideline sprints in a thorough thrashing. Harkleroad hit 23 winners, the majority coming with laser-like precision from the baseline. It was an impressive performance coming against the 19th-ranked player in the world who is extremely fit, on a slow, clay court amid a gusting wind that sometimes blew the ball around.

Controlling the conditions superbly, Harkleroad played with a composed confidence of a player convinced of the outcome of the match before it was even over.

"I was just in the zone I guess," Harkleroad said. "I was not going to hold back from the first point on. I love my forehand and backhand. Today, I just felt like I could not miss."

Harkleroad, who was nicknamed "Pebbles" because she grew up in Flintstone, Georgia, has also been tagged as the "American Anna" for her resemblance to Anna Kournikova. But the teenager who now lives and trains in Wesley Chapel, Florida is establishing her own identity and while she's been tagged with several nicknames, she's making name for herself as a winner now.

In the quarterfinals, Harkleroad meets Daniela Hantuchova in a match featuring two women who could easily pursue careers in the modeling industry.

Due to the WTA age eligibility rule Harkleroad, who does not turn 18 until May 2nd, will not be eligible to compete until next month's German Open.

"It's been pretty fun," Harkleroad said of her Charleston run. "I'm just trying to enjoy every minute of it because this is my last tournament before I turn 18. I plan on playing either the German Open after my birthday."

Apr 10th, 2003, 11:34 PM
Wow...I love that it was Ash playing great...I hope she has the same gameplan against Dani...

Apr 10th, 2003, 11:40 PM
She comes across very mature. I'm going to have to follow her a bit more closely! :)

auntie janie
Apr 11th, 2003, 12:02 AM
23 winners against Meghann, and on clay, that is very impressive! :hearts:

I like Ashley's unfettered spirit. And I think it is good she has not zoomed up through the ranks. She does not have a swollen head; she has paid her dues with hard work and Challengers, and now she's ready to join the Club! Best of luck to her, this week and all year. :):):)

Brad Faulkner always seems to be on the spot recently, doesn't he? :kiss:

Apr 11th, 2003, 12:18 AM
This girl must be for real. She just beat over 12 feet worth of top 20 player in 2 days.

Apr 11th, 2003, 12:52 AM
That's great to hear! BK4ever, what happened to Jose Luis Clerc? Wasn't he coaching her last year?

Apr 11th, 2003, 12:58 AM
That's great to hear! BK4ever, what happened to Jose Luis Clerc? Wasn't he coaching her last year?

As far as I know, he is still her main coach. She is in the USTA High Performance Program as well, so she trains at Key Biscayne sometimes and she has access to the travelling coaches...Jay Berger being one of them.

She mainly trains at Saddlebrook though.