Coetzer the conqueror

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The Independent Online

Mary Pierce of France was surprisingly beaten in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Open yesterday in Toronto when she lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 to South Africa's Amanda Coetzer.

It was Coetzer's second major shock of the tournament. On Tuesday she beat the joint No 1 seed Steffi Graf in the second round. Coetzer then beat the No 17 seed Sabine Appelmans on Thursday night in the third round.

Pierce, the No 5 seed, had beaten Martina Hingis 6-0, 6-0 in the third round, and claimed that she was playing the best tennis of her life. She won the first three games of the first set against Coetzer, but then began to fall apart. The South African was soon in command, and won the five games in a row to take the set.

The second set was almost identical. This time Pierce went 4-0 ahead, but again she was unable to capitalise on her lead. Coetzer fought back and drew level at 5-5. This time Pierce was able to temporarily regain her composure, and she won the set 7-5.

Any thoughts that Pierce's recovery would set up victory were soon dispelled in the final set, however. Coetzer broke Pierce in the first game and dominated play the rest of the way to earn a place in the semi-finals.

nAvon's Nick Gould reached his second final in a fortnight after knocking out the top-seed Luke Milligan of Middlesex 6-4 6-4 at the LTA Summer Satellite Tournament in Worthing yesterday. In today's final Gould will meet the South African Chris Haggard for the second week in succession. Last week in Southsea Gould was forced to retire from the final with a hamstring injury.