Coetzer enjoys rare Garden win

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Amanda Coetzer enjoyed a rare victory in an arena that has brought her nothing but trouble, allowing her to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of the $2 million Chase Championships.

Amanda Coetzer enjoyed a rare victory in an arena that has brought her nothing but trouble, allowing her to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of the $2 million Chase Championships.

The 5-foot-2 (157 centimeter) South African routed eighth-seeded Chanda Rubin 6-2, 6-1 in the season-ending event at Madison Square Garden. Rubin pulled out of a tournament last week because of an injury.

With more than 2,000 students cheering every point in the morning match, Coetzer gained just her second victory on the blue carpet in her eighth trip to the Garden and her first since her Championships debut in 1993. It was only her third win in nine matches against Rubin.

"It was nice to know what it feels like to win here," Coetzer said.

Rubin's left knee was heavily taped, and it appeared to hamper her movement. After losing the first three games of the second set, she had the tape removed and replaced it with a bandage just below her knee.

It may have improved her mobility, but it had no effect on Coetzer, who won in 54 minutes. Rubin had 28 unforced errors to just five for the South African.

"The only time I noticed it was on the serve," Coetzer said of Rubin's injury. "She had difficulty putting weight on that knee and I broke her a lot, and that really helped me."

Kim Clijsters enjoyed her Garden debut Monday night.

"I'm just playing to have fun," the 17-year-old Belgian said, "and I love being on the tour. It's just like a hobby for me."

A last-minute replacement when five higher-ranked players pulled out of the tournament Clijsters overpowered fifth-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 7-5, 6-4.

Sanchez-Vicario, who sustained her third consecutive first-round defeat in her 12th Championships, was impressed. Clijsters has beaten the Spanish veteran twice this month.

Considered one of the future champions on the WTA Tour, Clijsters won at Leipzig, Germany, earlier this month. In the Garden, she kept Sanchez-Vicario running along the baseline until she found an opening for one of her rocketing ground strokes.

"I'm 12 years older than her," the Spanish veteran said. "You know, she definitely reminds me (of me) a little bit. She's young, she hits the ball well, she runs after all the balls. She's very hungry."

In the tournament's opening match, No. 4 Conchita Martinez outlasted Elena Likhovtseva 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

On Tuesday night, it was top-seeded Martina Hingis vs. Julie Halard-Decugis and No. 7 Anna Kournikova vs. Jennifer Capriati.

The first round will be completed Wednesday with No. 6 Nathalie Tauziat against Amy Frazier, No. 3 Monica Seles against Sandrine Testud and No. 2 Lindsay Davenport against Elena Dementieva.

This is final year this event will be held at the Garden. The tournament will move to Germany in 2001.

This week's champion will earn $500,000, with the other finalist earning $250,000.

Results from the $2 million Chase Championships of the Sanex WTA Tour at Madison Square Garden:

Singles First Round

Amanda Coetzer, South Africa, def. Chanda Rubin (8), United States, 6-2, 6-1.

Doubles First Round

Lisa Raymond, United States, and Rennae Stubbs (3), Australia, def. Alexandra Fusai and Nathalie Tauziat, France, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Comments