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Day Two of the Bank of the West Classic
by Michelle Chuang
Day Two

Morning Session

Sandrine Testud vs. Iva Majoli

This was the featured morning match today. It was supposed to be an interesting one with Iva Majoli, 1997 French Open Champion, versus Sandrine Testud, the #17 player in the world. Majoli has not played much this year due to a shoulder injury. In a brief press conference following the draw meeting, Iva said that she had to spend eight weeks in a hospital for it. Her last tournament was in Bol, Croatia in late April. Iva made the Bank of the West tournament her first tournament back in three months. She drew a tough first round match against Testud. From the beginning of the match, it wasnít a pretty sight. Iva sprayed unforced everywhere and missed easy approach shots and volleys. Iva forced some close games with her down the line backhand which was the only shot that worked for her today. In the first set, Testud broke Majoli two times to take the set easily at 6-1. At this time, many fans turned their attention to the practice courts. From the balcony of the stands, fans could see Lindsay Davenport practicing with her coach Robert Van t Hof. In the farther court, Chanda Rubin, Davenportís second round opponent, was practicing with a fellow player with both coaches standing right behind their respective pupils. Back to the match, Iva just couldnít find any rhythm. Testud would blast a serve past Majoli whenever she got into a little trouble on her serve. The second set went by even quicker but with the same score 6-1. Final score 6-1, 6-1. Testud faces the winner between Patty Schnyder/ Elena Likhovtseva.

Note: Iva was very pleasant after the match with her handshake. She congratulated Testud with a smile and firm handshake which is rare nowadays.

Jane Chi vs. Katarina Srebotnik

Fans didnít really know who both these players were, so there was some confusion. Srebotnik was first spotlighted during this yearís French Open in doubles when she and her partner almost took down Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis. During the first two games, Srebotnik seemed to either be bothered by nerves or the wind because she mishit the ball horribly a few times. Watching Srebotnik play singles is a lot like watching her play doubles. In singles, she tries to get to net as much as possible. Today she showed her net prowess, and this is why she is so successful in doubles even without a great doubles partner. I would like to see her team up with a marquee doubles player. That would truly be interesting to watch. In the first set, Strebotnik breaks Chi twice to take the set 6- 3. I donít think there was any doubt who was going to win this match. Strebotnik dazzled the crowd with her outstanding net play. The second set went by quickly with Strebotnik dominating 6-1. Final score 6-3, 6-1. Strebotnik faces Venus Williams in the second round.

Interesting Note:
Today, lots of players were out hittingÖ Davenport with her coach, Robert Van t Hof, Chanda Rubin with a fellow WTA player, Patty Schnyder with Jennifer Capriati, Kim Po with a practice partner or coach, and Lisa Raymond and her coach with Mary Joe Fernandez and her coach (playing doubles). I think those courts attracted much attention from the main events going on in the show courts.

Other Morning Session Scores
Corina Morariu defeated Anne Gaelle Sidot 6-1, 6-4.
Fabiola Zuluaga defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Testud/Rubin defeated Schnyder/Schett 6-2, 6-1
Fernandez/Raymond defeated Strebotnik/Krizan 6-2, 6-2
Frazier/Schlukebir defeated Drake/Pleming 6-4, 2-6, 6-2

Late Night Main Draw Doubles Score (July 26)
Davenport/Morariu defeated Lucic/Neiland 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

Evening Session

Conchita Martinez vs. Jennifer Capriati

This was another profiled first round match-up. Both players seemingly were on a roll. Jennifer Capriati winning the exhibition in Mahwah just last week with wins over Steffi Graf and Chanda Rubin. Conchita Martinez just won her first tournament of the year two weeks ago in Sopot, Poland with wins over Barbara Schwartz, player who beat Venus Williams at the French Open this year, and Sandrine Testud. The difference being that the tournament in Sopot was on clay and the exhibition was held on hard courts. Conchita was having a lackluster year before her win at Sopot, and Capriati was looking to be on the comeback trail with impressive tournament showings throughout the year. The head to head series was a toss up to- being at 3-3. The match started off with a long game with Capriati finally holding. The long game was an indication for the impending match because there were long rallies and many great shots made by both players. Conchita and Jennifer both had tough times holding their serves. Most of their games went into long deuces. In the first set, Conchita seemed to just be getting everything back, and Jennifer would eventually make the error. I donít know how many times Jennifer missed her forehand down the line shot. Conchita first broke Jennnifer at 2-2 for a 3-2 lead. Later on, Jennifer converted on a break point to even it up 4-4. During Jenniferís service game, she fell on the ground, and Conchita just placed it in the open court. Since this was a crucial point, Jennifer threw her racquet to show her anger. Jennifer saved two break points, but that wasnít enough and she handed back the break. It was 5-4 with Conchita serving for the set. Capriati was down 0-40 when a lines person called Jenniferís shot good when it was actually a foot long. This led to Capriatiís five point run to take the game and break. Conchita won the next two games by painting the lines on many shots. Patricia Tarabini, Conchitaís coach, showed her pleasure. She was sitting among the crowd on the grandstand which is unusual for a coach, but I spotted her out quickly with her bright red hat because I saw Conchita warming up with her prior to the match. After the first set, the Kournikova vs. Lucic match was over soon after, so the press quickly went back to the press room to wait for the arrival of Anna Kournikova. We had to wait 45 minutes for the tennis diva to arrive, so we missed the second set of the Capriati vs. Martinez match. Capriati took it 6-4. The third set was a thriller. It was freezing at Taube Stadium, but no one had left their seats. The atmosphere was PRO Capriati of course. Capriati went up 5-2 with much help from Conchita who threw in some untimely double faults and errors to give Capriati a couple of breaks. Conchitaís service game at 5-2 was a thrilling one. There were so many great points played just in that one game. Capriati had two match points, but she failed to convert. Now it was 5-3 with Jennifer serving for the match. Here is the play by play for that game:
0-30 2 errors by Jennifer then an ace
15-30 Error by Conchita
30-30 Capriati makes a rare appearance at net but misses
30-40 Jennifer misses an easy volley
Break goes to Conchita, so they were back on serve.

Jennifer jumped out to a 40-15 lead on Conchitaís serve. She had two match points when someone in the crowd yelled, "Letís go home, Jennifer!!!" Finally on the second match point, Capriati completed an epic 2 hour 46 minute match with an exuberant forehand volley. The crowd screamed and yelled. Capriati showed her appreciation and delight by raising her arms. This was one of the best matches of the year in my opinion. Jennifer seemed very fatigued at the press conference which she admitted, but she managed to be very humorous and friendly to the press.

Mirjana Lucic vs. Anna Kournikova

Tonightís sellout crowd of 4,500 at Taube Stadium was due to the fact thatÖ. Anna Kournikova was playing. Wherever Anna Kournikova goes, you will see a crowd. The press room was packed with media. People waited in long lines just to catch a glimpse of this tennis diva. This was projected to be a formidable match-up with Lucic coming off a semifinal Wimbledon run, and Anna Kournikova being the #13 player in the world. From the beginning, Lucic made unforced error after unforced error. Anna broke Mirjana right from the beginning. This led to Anna winning four straight games, but then Lucic finally held to make it 1-4. During the next game, Anna foot faulted to give Mirjana a break back. Lucic played a magnificent service game with her backhand down the line doing all the damage, but Lucic was still down a break at 3-4. Next two games were close, but both players held serve. Anna is notorious for losing leads, so as things tightened she started to make more errors- Lucic just made more. Anna held her final service game of the set to take the lead 6-4. Lucic seemed to get off to a good start in the second set with an ace and a winner, but today Anna didnít unfold. Anna didnít lose her serve once in the second set. When Anna is holding her serve, thatís when her opponent knows they are in trouble. Anna actually won the toss at the beginning of the match, but she chose to return instead of serve which is understandable. Annaís return game has to be one of the best in the game today, and she displayed it with great consistency and power. Anna broke Mirjana twice in the final set to take the match handily 6-4, 6-2. Outside the press conference room, fans and admirers of Kournikovaís packed themselves as close to the window hoping to catch a peek of Anna. Carla Johns, WTA Communications Director, kept things in control. Guys were knocking on the window, but Johns just gave them a look to stop, and they did. Anna K had to leave through another exit, but she was wearing a fluorescent orange shirt, so people could easily spot her. I will provide some overviews and quotes from the press conferences, but I donít have time to do it nowÖ so stay tuned next week.