Draw Meeting and Day One of the Bank of the West Classic
by Michelle Chuang
The Draw Meeting
July 23, 1999
The draw meeting was held on Friday afternoon with Donna Butler and player
representative, Iva Majoli. It was a beautiful day, so no one complained that it was being
held outdoors. It was a rather intimate gathering of media. While the draw was being
made, many interesting match-ups arose. The first one was the possible quarterfinal
match-up between Anna Kournikova and Venus Williams. Later on, we learned that Anna
would have to play Mirjana Lucic in the first round. Jennifer Capriati was a late entry into
the tournament, and she drew Barbara Schett in the first round. Elena Likhovtseva vs.
Patty Schnyder, Irina Spirlea vs. Chanda Rubin, and Sandrine Testud vs. Iva Majoli
rounded out the interesting first round match-ups. Afterwards, there was a question and
answer session with Iva Majoli. Monica Seles’ late entry into the tournament was one of
the hot topics of discussion. Along with many clueless questions from the media, there
were some good ones inquiring about Majoli’s injuries, recent slump, and her tough first
round match-up with Testud. Majoli kept a good sense of humor while the press
bombarded her with questions about how the other players were feeling and thinking. A
few times, Majoli’s friend, who happened to be sitting next to me, quietly smiled to
herself. After the session ended, Majoli was in a hurry to leave with her friend. The session
went along very well. Hopefully, this is an early indication of what the tournament will be like.
July 26, 1999
Day one was a busy one for the press. With all the hype Monica Seles brought into
the tournament by entering, it was a huge disappointment when Monica had to withdraw
just two days after she entered due to a left forearm injury. This changed the main draw
significantly for a few players. Conchita Martinez will have to face Jennifer Capriati in the
first round instead of Corina Morariu. Barbara Schett receives a bye instead of having to
face Capriati in the first round. With the extra space in the draw, Jane Chi got the nod, and
she will face Katarina Srebotnik in the first round despite losing in her qualifying match.
Final Singles Qualifying Rounds
Meilen Tu vs. Maureen Drake
It was a battle for a spot in the main draw between Drake and Tu, the former
junior standout. This was the same Meilen Tu who beat Martina Hingis in the US Open
Junior Finals in 1994. A fairly small crowd was in attendance. At times, it didn’t seem as if
anyone was watching. Tu jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with powerful groundstrokes
and no unforced errors. Drake quickly woke up and went on a six game run to take the
first set 6-2. The second set turned out to be a close one. They traded breaks in the first 2
games of the set. Both were holding serve until Drake finally broke Tu for a 6-5 lead.
After having her serve broken, Tu turned to the line judge to scold her for not making a
crucial call during the game. She continued to complain while she was sitting in her chair
during the changeover. Drake, the more composed player between the two, fought off a
pair of break points to take the match 6-2, 7-5.
Jane Chi vs. Fabiola Zuluaga
What’s great about the Bank of the West tournament is that there are two matches
being played simultaneously until the tournament reaches the latter stages (quarterfinals,
semifinals, finals), so if one match is boring a person then he/she can just turn their head to
watch the other match. I gave this match my full attention at 6-6 in the first set. Chi is a
very aggressive and athletic player. She played Lindsay Davenport at the French Open this
year, and she gave Lindsay a run for her money. Zuluaga just hung in the set with her
intelligent play. Zuluaga moved Chi around endlessly, and most of the time she forced Chi
to make an error. Other times, Chi would make a great play or shot. Zuluaga knew that
Chi could not continue to play at this level for two complete sets. At 4-2 Chi in the
tiebreaker, Chi’s groundstroke seemed to land out, but there was no call. Promptly,
Zuluaga dropped her racquet in protest but to no avail. She came back to win her two
service points, so it was now 5-4 with Chi serving. She held both her service points to take
the first set. A more consistent and aggressive Zuluaga took the second set easily 6-2.
Then Zuluaga just dominated the third set by moving Chi around with sharp angled
groundstrokes. Zuluaga bageled Chi 6-0 in the third set.
Final score: Zuluaga defeats Chi 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-0.
Other Qualifying Matches Scores
Anne Gaelle Sidot defeated Gabriela Lastra 7-5, 6-3
Tamarine Tanasugarn defeated Kimberly Po 6-3, 6-1
Anna Kremer vs. Dominique Van Roost
This was probably the most anticipated morning session match. Anne Kremer, the
former Stanford star, against Dominique Van Roost, the #14 player in the world. This was
a homecoming for Kremer who has reached a career best #34 ranking with wins over
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Monica Seles this year. Van Roost came out firing away, but
she made many more unforced errors than winners. Kremer got out to an early 3-0 lead.
During the changeover at 3-0, the WTA trainer came out to evaluate Van Roost. While
this was going on, Kremer turned her head to watch the Lisa Raymond vs. Cara Black
match. Van Roost continued to receive treatment during every changeover. There wasn’t
much for Van Roost fans to cheer about, so they just cheered when Kremer made errors.
They were hoping to give Van Roost a spark, but that failed because Dominique lost the
first set in a hurry 0-6. Obviously, something was really bothering her. With the dismay of
the crowd, Van Roost retired due to injury. Kremer took the match 6-0, 1-0. After
Dominique left the court, the journalists and writers all hurried back to the press room.
They all wanted to know what went wrong since it looked like Van Roost was running
and hitting fine. We later found out that Van Roost had a cervical strain that she injured
during the match. It was probably during her serve at 1-0. The media requested her for an
interview, but she declined because she was getting treatment. Kremer entered the press
room at ease but seemed uncomfortable in the spotlight. Kremer is very soft- spoken, and
she admitted that her parents didn’t want her to leave Stanford and turn pro. Now they
think otherwise though. Kremer took little credit for her win citing, “She definitely wasn’t
at her best.” Regardless of Van Roost’s injury, Kremer looked strong. She will face a
qualifier next, so she seems to have a clear path into the quarterfinals.
Other Morning Session results
Lisa Raymond defeats Cara Black 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
In the last two sets, Raymond played some incredible tennis reminiscent of her
great Wimbledon run this year. Next, Raymond meets the #4 seed, Amanda Coetzer, in
what should be a very interesting second round match.
Kim Po/Coetzer defeated Kunce/Sidot 7-5, 6-1
Irina Spirlea vs Chanda Rubin
This was the featured match of the evening. Both players showed some nerve
because both were broken in their first service games. In the first few games, many great
points were played, so the crowd knew they were in for something special. After many
close games, Chanda broke Irina at 4-4 and won the first set 6-4. The crowd was pro
Rubin and rarely acknowledged Spirlea’s play. In the second set, Spirlea jumped out to a
3-0 lead. All of Spirlea’s shots were working during this span. Irina is such a talented
player, but it seems like she lacks enthusiasm and intensity. She would always look at the
other match (Huber vs. Frazier) when she got bored. Irina was only up a break at this
point, and Chanda fought back to even the score at 3-3. After this, Irina never recovered.
Chanda won 6-4, 6-4. On match point, Irina netted an easy volley to the delight of a fan
who yelled, “Yeah!” Irina then picked up the ball and slammed it into the crowd. A
spectator might have been injured. Asked during the post match press conference if this
had ever occurred before in her experience of match play, Chanda Rubin responded, “I
can’t say that I have.” The press requested an interview with Spirlea, but she was out of
the facility in five minutes after the match.
Note: Spirlea can be fined a maximum of $1000 for ball abuse, but that decision is up to
Amy Frazier vs. Anke Huber
While most people were focusing on the Rubin/Spirlea match, I focused on this
match. I snuck out of the press room before the evening session began to watch Corina
Morariu and Lindsay Davenport practice. Next to them, Anke Huber was practicing with
her coach. She seemed to be hitting pretty well, and I thought Anke would have an easy
time with Amy. I have never seen Frazier play, so tonight was the first time. To my
surprise, the crowd seemed to favor Huber. The American, Frazier, started off strong with
overpowering groundstrokes, and she seemed to always be one step ahead of Huber.
During a crucial point at 2-4 Huber serving, Huber made a couple of unlucky mistakes,
and the crowd moaned with Huber in distress. Throughout the first set, Huber never
looked quite comfortable, but Frazier looked to be “in the zone.” Frazier easily took the
first set 6-2. The second set started off with an ace by Huber, so the crowd was hoping for
a comeback. At 2-6, 2-3, the chair umpire made an unfavorable call by calling Huber’s
baseline groundstroke out. The crowd whistled and hollered because they saw the ball in.
Huber was pumped up at this point. Despite any momentum Anke might have gained,
Frazier stepped up big to hold her serve to go up 4-2. Huber played a great service game
and return game to break back into the match to even it up at 4-4. Every time Huber
screamed and scolded herself in her native language, German, the crowd seemed to get a
laugh out of it. During her service game, Huber double faulted at break point to hand
Frazier the break back with Frazier serving for the match. Frazier closed out the match 6-
2, 6-4. The press wanted to speak to Anke after the match, and she complied. She was
obviously not happy with her performance today, and she made it clear that she thought
today’s match was a setback. Frazier came into the press room, and the press struggled to
come up with questions to ask her. Frazier was the only player today to spend a significant
time signing autographs after her match to the delight of many kids. She faces Barbara