Kournikova and Coetzer ease into second round

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The Independent Online

Amanda Coetzer, looking ahead at a field in the Bank of the West Classic that includes Lindsay Davenport and Wimbledon winner Venus Williams, already has her tactic down.

Amanda Coetzer, looking ahead at a field in the Bank of the West Classic that includes Lindsay Davenport and Wimbledon winner Venus Williams, already has her tactic down.

"You try to intimidate them, if that's at all possible," she said.

Coetzer, the sixth seed, intimidated qualifier Janet Lee in the first round of the $535,000 tournament at Stanford University in California last night, coming away with a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

The South African, playing in the same bracket as top-seeded Davenport and fourth-seeded Monica Seles, countered Lee's 100 mph (160 kph)-plus serve with a baseline attack.

"I don't hit every ball as hard as some of the other girls," the 12th-ranked player in the world said. "But I can generate some power when I need it."

Lee kept her hard serve going, but was dealing with the exhaustion of qualifying.

"It's hard," she said about keeping up with Coetzer. "You feel like you've hit a winner, and then all of the sudden she's back in the point. It forces you to have to hit maybe four or five good shots."

In the other featured match last night, Anna Kournikova easily beat Anne Miller 6-1, 6-2.

Kournikova went up 4-1 in the first set with a running, off-balance shot at the net that Miller had to try to backpedal to return.

In the second set, the ninth-seeded Kournikova double-faulted to lose serve and even the set at 1-1, then regained her composure to break Miller in the next game.

After a forehand sailed past Miller for match point, Kournikova waved to the supportive crowd at Stanford's Taube Family Stadium.

One fan held up a sign that read: "I Play Hockey," a reference to the tennis star's high-profile social life.

"I think she was really nervous, and I think I played well," Kournikova said of Miller. "It was one of the most enjoyable matches I've played in the last few months because I played the way I wanted to play."

Kournikova, ranked 19th in the world, capitalized on six of seven break-point opportunities. She played the 48-minute match with a calm focus.

Miller, who took a two-year break from tennis to attend college, admittedly didn't play her best in her first match back.

"I don't really think I gave her too much competition tonight," Miller said.

Kournikova will play Jana Nejedly in the second round. Coetzer faces Cara Black.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mashona Washington defeated her doubles partner, Russian Alina Jidkova, 7-6 (3), 6-2 to advance to the second round.

Washington, the younger sister of 1996 Wimbledon men's singles finalist MaliVai Washington, next meets 18th-ranked Chanda Rubin.

In other first-round singles matches Tuesday, Australia's Nicole Pratt defeated former Stanford standout Marissa Irvin 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4; Tatiana Panova of Russia edged Canadian qualifier Maureen Drake 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3); Canada's Jana Nejedly beat Pavlina Nola of Bulgaria 2-6, 6-1, 6-0, and Tathiana Garbin of Italy stopped Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay 6-0, 6-0.

Results from the $535,000 Bank of the West Sanex WTA Tour hard-court tournament:

Singles - First Round

Nicole Pratt (Aus) def. Marissa Irvin (US) 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4. Tatiana Panova (Rus) def. Maureen Drake (Can) 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3). Mashona Washington (US) def. Alina Jidkova (Rus) 7-6 (3), 6-2. Jana Nejedly (Can) def. Pavlina Nola (Bul) 2-6, 6-1, 6-0. Tathiana Garbin (It) def. Rosanna De Los Rios (Par) 6-0, 6-0. Amanda Coetzer (SA) def. Janet Lee (Taipei) 6-2, 6-3. Anna Kournikova (Rus) def. Anne Miller (US) 6-1, 6-2.

Doubles - First Round

Chanda Rubin (US) and Sandrine Testud (Fr) def. Benjamas Sangaram (Thai) and Kim Grant (SA) 6-0, 6-2. Kim Clijsters (Bel) and Meghann Shaughnessy (US) def. Maureen Drake (Can) and Tatiana Panova (Rus) 6-1, 7-6 (4).