Harkleroad advances in Philadelphia
Villanova, PA (Sports Network) - American teenager Ashley Harkleroad was a first-round winner Monday at the $585,000 Advanta Championships.
Harkleroad, 18, was leading Elena Likhovtseva, 6-0, 2-0, when her Russian opponent was forced to leave with a right shoulder strain. Tenth-seeded Slovenian Tina Pisnik also posted a first-round victory earlier in the day. Pisnik, who became a seed this week following withdrawals in the field, handled lucky-loser Janet Lee of Taipei 6-4, 6-4. Pisnik picked up a seeded slot when Venus Williams (1) and Paola Suarez (8) pulled out of this indoor hardcourt event on the campus of Villanova University. In other opening-round play at The Pavilion, Yugoslavian qualifier Jelena Jankovic erased American wild card Shenay Perry 6-0, 6-3; France's Stephanie Cohen-Aloro topped Hungarian qualifier Aniko Kapros 6-3, 6-3; Italy's Tathiana Garbin pounded American Marissa Irvin, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2); and Slovakian qualifier Martina Sucha dismantled Zimbabwe's Cara Black 6-0, 6-3. Cohen-Aloro will meet fellow Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo in the second round. The Advanta Championships returned to the WTA Tour calendar this year for the first time since 2000, when Lindsay Davenport bested Martina Hingis in a marquee final here. An injured Davenport and a retired Hingis are not part of this year's field. This week's top seeds, following Sunday's withdrawal by an injured Venus, are Mauresmo (2), Russian Anastasia Myskina (3) and American Chanda Rubin (4), last week's Luxembourg runner-up to world No. 1 Kim Clijsters. Venus hasn't played tennis since the Wimbledon final in July because of a nagging abdominal strain injury. The Philadelphia field also features fifth-seeded Japanese Ai Sugiyama, who is fresh off her indoor title in Linz, Austria. The 2003 Advanta titlist will collect $93,000.