Tennis: McNeil regains her composure: Garrison Jackson fails to flummox her friend

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The Independent Online
ZINA GARRISON JACKSON, surviving one fractious incident on Saturday, after which she accused her opponent, Pam Shriver, of racism, prospered from another during the final of the DFS Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club here yesterday - but still lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to her friend and neighbour from Houston, Lori McNeil.

The former Wimbledon finalist said she has not decided whether to resign from the board of the Women's Tennis Association, after its president, Shriver, swore at her entourage. During a series of Shriver eruptions, Garrison Jackson told the umpire, Jane Tabor, she was amazed Shriver had not gained a code violation warning.

Yesterday, however, Garrison Jackson told Tabor that a warning was too much for McNeil, who lashed a ball over the stand and into the swimming pool after the second of two incorrect line decisions had gone against her.

'The lob was out but I guess I deserved the warning. I hit the ball pretty hard,' McNeil said.

McNeil immediately took five minutes out for a break, and the incident contributed to her dropping serve and ultimately losing the second set.

Garrison Jackson, however, could not capitalise. She alternated between serve and volley and hugging the baseline, but never quite found a winning pattern, dropping her delivery in the opening game of the final set and being unable to repair the damage.

In contrast, McNeil came to the net behind almost everything, chipping and charging on service returns and surviving two crucial break points at 15-40 in the sixth game, when Garrison Jackson's backhand surprisingly twice failed to return McNeil's second delivery.

McNeil, who won Eastbourne last year, thus again earned exactly the kind of Wimbledon preparation she would have wanted. 'I've had a great week,' she said. 'I feel good for Wimbledon.'

Garrison Jackson gained plenty of grass-court practice and was presented with life membership of the Edgbaston Priory Club after her match with Shriver on Saturday.

Shriver, in mid-tantrum, stormed off and did not get hers. The club declined to give it to her yesterday either. Further developments are awaited with interest.

DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston): Quarter-finals: L McNeil (US) bt N Tauziat (Fr) 6-4 6-3; L Savchenko-Neiland (Lat) bt K Radford (Aus) 6-3 6-2; Z Garrison Jackson (US) bt P Shriver (US) 4-6 6-3 6-2; C Rubin (US) bt L Golarsa (It) 2-6 7-5 6-4. Semi-finals: Garrison Jackson bt Rubin 6-1 6-2; McNeil bt Savchenko-Neiland 7-5 6-2. Final: McNeil bt Garrison Jackson 6-4 2-6 6-3.