Tennis: Likhovtseva's surprise for Seles

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ELENA LIKHOVTSEVA upset the second seed Monica Seles and Henrieta Nagyova eliminated the defending champion Amanda Coetzer from the Family Circle Cup on Thursday.

Neither Likhovtseva, a 23-year-old Russian with seven years on the tour, nor Nagyova, a 20-year-old Slovak with five years as a professional, is a fresh face on the circuit anymore but both players delivered significant victories to reach the quarter-finals at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Likhovtseva surprised Seles 7-6, 6-2 in the rain-delayed night match after Nagyova breezed past Coetzer, the fifth-seeded South African, 6- 2, 6-3.

"She just played a lot better than I did," admitted Seles after falling to Likhovtseva. "After she won the first set, I definitely got down on myself, but she still played some great tennis."

The match score was the mirror opposite of a hard-court match between the two players last month at Indian Wells, California, when Seles won. "It was definitely a slower court. It was harder for me to finish off points on clay," Seles said.

Seles appeared to be overwhelming Likhovtseva at times with her two-fisted groundstrokes, only to see the Russian hit the lines or deliver a big serve. "I thought this time if I won the first set, the second set would be easier," said Likhovtseva, the tournament's 14th seed and world-ranked 22nd.

Nagyova earned a place in yesterday's quarter-finals against the third- seeded Czech Jana Novotna, a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 winner over the 13th seed, Silvia Farina of Italy. The top seed, Martina Hingis, beat the 10th seed, Conchita Martinez, 7-5, 6-1, the previous day.

"Last year I didn't win against a player in the top 10 and now I beat Monica [Seles] two weeks ago and now Amanda," Nagyova said.

Results, Digest, page 25

Comments