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The Russians are coming, the Belgium’s have arrived. Where did the Americans go?

The Russians are coming, the Belgium’s have arrived. Where did the Americans go?
By Brad Falkner in CARLSBAD
Exclusive to WTAFANS.COM

Seven Russians players entered the main singles draw of the 2003 Acura Classic, and six of them advanced into the third round . Only the United States had better representation with nine players in the field, now there are three. There may only be only two Belgium’s in the draw, however seldom has less ever meant more.

The brutal combination of injuries and stiff competition have left most of the American contingent licking their wounds.

The withdrawals of both three time(2000-02) defending champion Venus Williams and her older world number one Serena have hurt. Serena was scheduled to make her first appearance at the Acura classic after older sister Venus withdrew due to an abdominal strain. Instead she will join her sister on the sidelines, with a strained left quadriceps along with fellow Americans Alexandra Stevenson ( shoulder) Monica Seles (Foot) and Ashley Harkelroad (elbow).

American Wild cards at this years event, Leslie Koffi and Angela Haynes are still gaining experience, after both losing in the first round. After the third round three Americans are left in the draw Lindsay Davenport, Lisa Raymond and Chanda Rubin.

The young Russians players have each other to thank for their recent raise to the top echelons of the women’s game. “We’re all young and we’re really competitive with each other,” said Svetlana Kuznetsova, who plays compatriot 16th seed Elena Bovina in the third round tomorrow. “If you have someone to compete with , you get better faster.”

As for the Belgium’s, Justine Henin-Herdenne and Kim Clijsters appear to be the only women on the WTA capable of beating Serena Williams. Justine has never played better and Kim has never been hungrier.

According 18 time Grand Slam Single title holder Martina Navrtilova the WTA tour has never been stronger. “There is much more depth in the women’s game than when I played. Week to week you never know who will win the tournaments.” Navratilova said. If Martina is right the 2003 Acura Classic is wide open. Here is a look at how the tournament looks after three rounds:

Number Eight seed Chanda Rubin squares off in the third round against the hard hitting ninth seeded Jelena Dokic in what surely figures to be an aggressive baseline battle. Rubin captured her second Eastbourne championship earlier this month and has been playing some the best tennis of her career this season. Dokic on the other hand has been struggling this year (17-18) to find her 2002 form where, she reached a career high number four in the world rankings. Going into their third round contest Dokic holds a 2-1 edge in their head to head meetings. Despite the fact Rubin remains confident about her chances against Dokic “I’ve have played her a few times and have the pace to match her,” Rubin said. “It’s a match where I will need to be aggressive.”

1998 Acura Classic title holder Lindsay Davenport has been plagued with a nagging toe injury (Mortans Nueroma) that kept her out of Stanford last week. Davenport showed no ill effect in her straight set route over Amy Frazier advancing easily to the 3rd round where she will take on Lina Kranoroutskaya who upset Wimbledon quarterfinalist 15th seeded Silvia Farina Elia in the second round.

Newly crowned 2003 French Open queen Justine Henin-Hardene breezed into the third round with a 6-1, 6-1 route over the charismatic Greek sensation Eleini Danilidou . Henin-Hardenne was competing in her first match since her semifinal Wimbledon loss to eventual Champion Serena Williams. Next up for Henin-Hardenne is the unpredictable Elena Dementieva, who defeated last weeks Stanford semifinalist Italian Francesca Schiavone 7-6(6) 6-2. “She tough player because you never if she is going to be making a lot of errors or not making any at all.” Henin said. Dementieva prevailed in the pairs most recent meeting, a three set semifinal win at Amelia Island.

Unseeded Marion Bartoli of France is making her debut at the Acura Classic. In her second round match she out blasted 14th seed Maghann Shaugnessy 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5, producing the first upset of the tournament. Bartoli, who plays two hands off of both wings, will have both hands full in her third round match against the 2nd ranked Clijsters, who easily dismissed Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-0. Clijster’s, who has never played Bartoli realizes the apparent danger in any first time match up. “She’s a very good player, Clijsters said. “She’s not scared and has nothing to lose.”

Seventh seeded Slovakian Daniela Huntuchova saved a match point to survived a serious second round scare from Katarina Srebotnik . Hanutuchova has struggled to find her 2002 and has admitted to lacking confidence on the court. “Right now my problem is more mental than physical than mental. I am unable to play in my matches like I do in practice.” Today victory was the boost Daniela needed “ Winning a match like this is worth another ten matches” she said with a total satisfaction in her voice. Next up for the Daniela is French Open semifinalist Nadia Petrova who defeated Amanda Coetzer 6-3, 6-3 in the second round.

Jennifer Capriati lasted all of nine minutes and five games before being forced to retire do to a strained right pectoral muscle. Elena Likhovtseva was ahead 4-1 in the first set when Capriati retired. “It’s very hard to just stop and pull out. Even today it feels weird for me to do that.”. Capriati lamented. To be sure, Likhovtseva will have to work much harder to overcome the number ten seed Magdalena Maleeva who breezed into the 3rd round with a routine 6-1, 6-3 win over Angela Molik

A resurgent Mary Pierce continued her impressive run into the third round with a 6-1, 6-3 win over San Diego resident 11th seed Conchita Martinez. “I have had a long history against both Conchita and Lisa“. Pierce said. “You always have memories of previous matches and hopefully you figure out how to beat the player.” Pierce will need to use that experience to get by the unseeded Raymond, who won her second straight three match with a stunning 4-6, 6-3,6-2 upset over the number eight seed Ai Sugiyama, who is currently playing the best tennis of her career .
 

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As for the Belgium’s, Justine Henin-Herdenne and Kim Clijsters appear to be the only women on the WTA capable of beating Serena Williams. Justine has never played better and Kim has never been hungrier.

Uhm, Kim Clisjsters has not beaten either Williams sisters this year yet :rolleyes: and I wish that they would stop saying that she did.
 

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Luci said:
As for the Belgium’s, Justine Henin-Herdenne and Kim Clijsters appear to be the only women on the WTA capable of beating Serena Williams. Justine has never played better and Kim has never been hungrier.

Uhm, Kim Clisjsters has not beaten either Williams sisters this year yet :rolleyes: and I wish that they would stop saying that she did.
They said Srena Williams and not the Wililams sisters (they are two different players u know), and yes they are the onely two who were able to defeat Serena in abig tourney (the championships and roland garros.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Luci said:
As for the Belgium’s, Justine Henin-Herdenne and Kim Clijsters appear to be the only women on the WTA capable of beating Serena Williams. Justine has never played better and Kim has never been hungrier.
eh. Serena only won Wimbledon because Venus was injured. Venus is more then capable of beating Serena.

Mauresmo beat Serena this year as well. Capriati is more then capable of beating Serena, if she can get healthy and fit. Rubin is capable of beating Serena...she did last year.

It's ignorance like this that pisses others off
 

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Sofiane said:
They said Srena Williams and not the Wililams sisters (they are two different players u know), and yes they are the onely two who were able to defeat Serena in abig tourney (the championships and roland garros.)
Same thing! Kim Clisjster is currently 0-2 (0-3 counting Hopeman Cup) vs Serena, this year. Last I checked, the championships was in 2002.
 

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tennisIlove09 said:
eh. Serena only won Wimbledon because Venus was injured. Venus is more then capable of beating Serena.

Mauresmo beat Serena this year as well. Capriati is more then capable of beating Serena, if she can get healthy and fit. Rubin is capable of beating Serena...she did last year.

It's ignorance like this that pisses others off
I agree (even though I think had Venus not been injured Serena would've played a better match and we would've seen a serious final, not know whom would win, and had Serena played against Venus the way she smoked Henin in the semis, it would've have been another walk in the park for Venus JMHO ;) )
 
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