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Jan 5th, 2004, 03:44 AM
Harkleroad delights crowd at Classic

By Dale Budge at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre

Crowd favourite Ashley Harkleroad has moved swiftly through to the second round of the ASB Classic with a 6-2 6-4 win over fellow American Teryn Ashley.

The 18-year-old Harkleroad breezed through the first set in just 28 minutes, easily seeing off anything Ashley threw at her.

The second set provided a far tougher workout for Harkleroad as Ashley began to grow in confidence.

Harkleroad's serve began to fall away slightly, double faulting on a couple of occasions.

Although she broke Ashley's serve in the first game, Harkleroad was broken herself in the second.

The world number 52 then broke serve again in the seventh and ninth games but dropped the eighth game on serve.

She broke Ashley one last time in the ninth and held serve to claim the match in one hour and six minutes.

She delighted fans in her debut at Auckland last year and has already proven a success with fans in the 2004 event.

Known to her fans as Pebbles after The Flintones ' character because she grew up in Flintstone, Georgia, Harkleroad appears to have taken over Anna Kournikova's reigns as the new tennis Barbie.

Harkleroad will meet the winner of the Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi v Julia Vakulenko match in the second round on Wednesday.

Source: nzoom

Jan 5th, 2004, 08:17 AM
Harkleroad happy with efforts

By Dale Budge at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre

It is a very happy Ashley Harkleroad after her first up win at the ASB Classic on Monday.

The 18-year-old American will now have a day off before facing a possible showdown with 2002 champion Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi on Wednesday in the second round.

She looked very comfortable during the first set of her match against Teryn Ashley but was pushed a lot harder in the second set.

"I know her (Ashley) very well, I've played doubles with her," Harkleroad said following her victory on Monday.

"I was pretty pleased with it. It is my first tournament of the year and it was my first match of the year. I was a little nervous at the beginning but I am happy I got through it and I think I played pretty well," she said.

It would have a tough start to her 2004 calendar with a one hour and six minute battle in very hot conditions on centre court at Auckland.

Not only was the heat a major factor but also the wind at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre was causing some players a few problems.

"I have been in Miami so its very windy there and so I am used to it. It was a little more windy in the second than in the first set," she admitted.

"It is hotter here. In Miami it is winter so its only about 60 degrees."

The fact that she was forced to work much harder in the second set may well be a blessing in disguise, not that she would admit that after her first round match though.

"Umm, no," she laughed.

"I just kept trying to do the things that I knew I should do and just try to stay focused but like I said it was my first match of the year so I was pretty happy with the way I competed."

Harkleroad's second round match will be against either Smashnova-Pistolesi or Julia Vakulenko.

"I have never played her in a tournament but I practised with her this week and she likes to move me around a little bit."

Harkleroad admitted that she was happy with the draw in Auckland, which sees her get a day off from singles action on Tuesday.

"I can practise and just work on doubles and then concentrate on singles again on Wednesday."

Source: nzoom