French Qualies: Rubin goes out
</IMG>American Bettanie Mattek upset former world number 6 Chanda Rubin 2-6 6-3 6-1 on day two of the Roland Garros qualifiers. On the Men's side Finland's Jarko Nieminen is only one game away from claiming a place in the main draw.
The qualifiers at Roland-Garros often see the emergence of promising youngsters; they also provide an opportunity to check out better-known faces as they attempt to recreate their glory years. And so it was today, as many of the spectators who poured along the stadium's walkways on this sunny Wednesday morning found themselves cheering on a former world number six, three-time finalist at "Roland", 1996 Australian Open semi-finalist and winner of seven WTA tour titles.
But at 29, Chanda Rubin is no longer the champion she once was, her career having been disrupted by almost every injury imaginable. Operated on in 2001, her left knee has been giving her trouble recently, and the problem hasn't gone away. Consequently, until this week, the American had not been seen at a major tournament since September 2004! No surprise, therefore, that her return to competition proved problematic in Paris. Her ranking of 127th in the world earned her seeded status (14th) here, but her compatriot Bethanie Mattek was far from overawed, winning 2/6, 6/3, 6/1.
The flying Finn
Rubin's exit illustrates the extremely high standard of these "qualies", which have already turned up several young talents in full bloom. Michaella Krajicek (seeded 6), Richard's half-sister, overcame the first hurdle without difficulty. Other players more accustomed to the limelight of big tournaments, such as the American Meilen Tu, Belgium's Els Callens, Hungary's Petra Mandula (a former quarter-finalist in Paris) and the Argentine Clarisa Fernandez (a semi-finalist in 2002) have all survived the first round.