View Full Version : Harkleroad Reaches Semifinals

Apr 12th, 2003, 02:29 AM
Harkleroad Reaches Semifinals

By Brad Falkner

Ashley Harkleroad finally cracked. The wild card who has played the best tennis of her career the Family Circle Cup in Charleston this week ran confronted her toughest test in the form of fifth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova today.

Moments after Harkleroad completed a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1 victory over Hantuchova, she cracked a wide smile of success.

The 17-year-old Harkleroad had cause for celebration. The victory vaulted her into the Family Circle Cup semifinals where she will face Justine Henin-Hardenne.

It has been a tremendous week of tennis for Harkleroad, who dictated play from the baseline and never permitted the 2002 Indian Wells champion to get into the match. Hantuchova committed an astounding 41 unforced errors as her game dissolved beneath the pressure posed by Harkleroad.

It was Harkleroad's third consecutive victory over a seeded player. She blew away ninth-seeded Elena Bovina, 6-2, 6-2 in the second round before thrashing 11th-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy by the same score in the third round.

Playing with the pure joy of a player who has found the flow in all phases of the game, Harkleroad posted her fourth victory of the tournament.

"I’m really actually having a lot of fun out there and playing my best tennis," Harkleroad said. "And it just feels like everything is just falling into place. When I first got here, I was focusing on getting past my first round because the girl I was playing was a clay courter (who)hits a lot of slice and everything. I just kept learning and kept improving from every single match."

Harkleroad, who will celebrater her 18th birthday on May 2nd, has been limited in the number of events that she has been allowed to play by the WTA age eligibility rule, which states that a 17-year old may play 13 professional events (WTA Tour and ITF women circuit) plus the season-ending championships.

The highly touted, talented teenager from Flinstone, Georgia has been struggling of late on the WTA Tour posting a mediocre 6-4 prior to her four straight Family Circle Cup wins.

"Being able to play a couple of tournaments back to back, you know, maybe you have a good week here a bad week there, you learn from that," Harkleroad said. "I think it (unrestricted tournament play) will definitely help me to get a good rhythm. That's what I’m excited about the most for me turning 18, is to be unrestricted."

Apr 12th, 2003, 05:29 AM
I just wondering, what would be her NEW Ranking next week?

She beat Bovina, Shaughnessy and Hantuchova all the way to The SF?

Apr 12th, 2003, 06:22 AM
omg, Daniela hit 41 unforced errors in 15 games :sad: