Stevenson upsets Huber in Advanta

Alexandra Stevenson, playing her first match in the Philadelphia area since revealing her father was a former basketball star nearby, beat Germany's Anke Huber 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 on Monday night in the Advanta Championships in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

Alexandra Stevenson, playing her first match in the Philadelphia area since revealing her father was a former basketball star nearby, beat Germany's Anke Huber 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 on Monday night in the Advanta Championships in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

Stevenson, ranked 52nd in the world, broke Huber's serve twice in the final set. Former 76ers star Julius Erving is her father.

"She's a veteran, but I kept moving forward and played the net," Stevenson said.

Huber, ranked 17th in the world, defeated Stevenson in straight sets earlier this year.

"She served more consistent," Huber said. "She hits the ball very hard. I didn't play well."

Stevenson, who had won only one match on the WTA Tour since reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon as a qualifier, will face second-ranked Lindsay Davenport in the second round.

"After Wimbledon, it was tough going from grass to hard court," Stevenson said. "I wouldn't call it a funk. I lost to a lot of tough opponents. I was learning. Every great champion that just starts loses a lot. I'm glad it lasted only four or five weeks."

Stevenson, whose mother was in the stands, has trained recently with coach Nick Bolletieri in Florida.

"I'm training, which I never used to do before," Stevenson said. "I'm usually sitting in a classroom eight hours a day. Now tennis is my job. It's great because I play tennis in the morning, work out, play tennis again and work out. I'm getting better and better."

Maria Vento of Venezuela also advanced, beating 27th-ranked Irina Spirlea of Romania 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

"This is a very good win for me," said Vento, ranked 132nd in the world. "Spirlea is an excellent player. I was not having a good year. This gives me confidence."

It was Spirlea's last singles match of the year. She will participate in doubles only next week in the Chase Championships in New York, the WTA Tour's season-ending tournament.

"This was my worst year," said Spirlea, a 25-year-old Romanian who was ranked as high as No. 7 in the world in 1997. "After the first set, I couldn't concentrate. At the end of the year, everyone is tired."

In the night's final match, Lisa Raymond, a Philadelphia-area resident, defeated 10th-ranked Amanda Coetzer 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a two-hour match. The 30th-ranked Raymond will play Slovakia's Henrieta Nagyova, who defeated Seda Noorlander of the Netherlands, 6-0, 6-3.

"The only time I had beaten Amanda was on a quick, indoor court," Raymond said. "I knew coming in here, if I played well, I had a shot against her. Playing in Philly, I always want to do well."

In other action, eighth-ranked Julie Halard-Decugis of France beat the No 14 ranked Conchita Martinez of Spain 7-5, 6-2.

First Round Results

Henrieta Nagyova, Slovakia, def. Seda Noorlander (11), Netherlands, 6-0, 6-3.Maria Vento, Venezuela, def. Irina Spirlea, Romania, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.Julie Halard-Decugis (8), France, def. Conchita Martinez, Spain, 7-5, 6-2.Alexandra Stevenson, United States, def. Anke Huber, Germany, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.Lisa Raymond, United States, def. Amanda Coetzer (6), South Africa, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

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