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

Morning Session

Mary Joe Fernandez vs. Maureen Drake

Mary Joeís first round match didnít really compare to all the other tough match ups. From the beginning, Fernandez had no problems. In the first set, she was in firm control of most of the rallies despite making a some unforced errors along the way. She took the first set 6-2. In the second set, Drake started to pick things up after Fernandez sprung out to a 3-0 lead. Drake broke Fernandez to win her first game of the set with outstanding groundstrokes, and she just forced the errors from Fernandez. Next game, Drake would hold serve, but that would prove to be the last game she would win. The score in the second set doesnít serve Drake justice because I canít remember a game that didnít go to deuce. Fernandez took the match 6-2, 6-2. She left the court with much deserved applause. She faces Anna Kournikova next.

Patty Schnyder vs. Elena Likhovtseva

My focus was definitely on this match. Elena, the #20 player in the world and Russian Fed Cup superstar, had to be the favorite going into this match despite the fact that Patty is the #19 player in the world. Schnyder has been in a slump recently- losing in the 1st round of Wimbledon to Dechy and losing in the first round of Portschach to Nemeckova. It should be noted that Schnyder won their last meeting at Hilton Head 7-6(7-3) in the third set. Elena came out early trying to dictate play, but she made too many unforced errors. Throughout the first set, Elena had trouble with her first serve. It didnít seem like she could buy one. Patty broke Elena early to take the 3-0 lead. Both players held serve, and with Schnyder up a break at 5-3, she was serving for the set. Elena had one break point, but she sailed a forehand long. Patty then took the first set 6-3. Both players held serve until 5-5 in the second set. Thatís when Patty broke Elena for 6-5, and Patty showed her pleasure by pumping her fist. Patty had to hold serve one more time to win. Elena made one error too many, so Patty took the match 6-3, 7-5. Patty faces Sandrine Testud next.

Other Morning Session results

Frazier defeated Schett 6-4, 6-0
Kremer defeated Zuluaga 6-2, 6-4
Note: Kremer meets Frazier next

Anna Kournikova/Elena Likhovtseva vs. Catalina Cristea vs. Anke Huber

This doubles match made a late start in the afternoon. Fans had to wait over an hour between the last singles match and this last morning session match to begin. Anna started the match with a double fault. This foreshadowed the coming events of this match. Basically, both Anna and Elena didnít play up to par, which is understandable since they arenít regular doubles partners. Both teams choked, but finally Anna and Elena prevailed 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). Yes, it was a close match. Yes, Anke and Catalina blew two match points. Yes, Anna made a couple of double faults at extremely crucial times. And yes, the match wasnít that well played. Anna had a scheduled Bank of the West site chat at 6:30 PST, but she canceled because she was too exhausted from her 2 hour 30 minute match. Since Iím sitting in the press room right in front of where the players are chattingÖ the guy running the show read aloud what some of the chatters were saying when they found out the news that Anna would not be chatting. The whole press room got a huge laugh out of it. Anna plays singles against Mary Joe Fernandez tomorrow in an early start. Later on, she will have to play her doubles match with Elena. Apparently after the match, Elena wasnít too happy with the way she played. It was a tough day at the office for Elena in both singles and doubles today.

Evening Session

Lindsay Davenport vs. Chanda Rubin

A definite tough match-up for both players this early in the tournament. Davenport fresh from her Wimbledon victory was looking to defend her Bank of the West Classic title. Lindsay started off poorly in the first game with a poor forehand put away volley to give Chanda the early break. Chanda quickly returned the favor by getting broken by Lindsay at love. Throughout the first set, Chanda was trying to beat Lindsay from the ground, but that obviously didnít work. What did work for Chanda was getting Lindsay at the net, where Davenport often looked dumbfounded and uncomfortable. That wasnít enough though, and Lindsay took the first set 6-3. Chanda got off to a good start in the second set. Chanda was leading 3-1 when she served a ball that looked to be out, but the lines person made no call. Lindsay let out a frustrated scream to the delight of the crowd. She stood still for about a minute staring at the chair umpire. Chanda eventually held for 4-1, but Lindsay broke back to even it up at 4-4. Chanda serving at 15-0Ö the lines person calls another foot fault (many were called on Rubin tonight), and Chanda screamed, and the crowd went wild. Both players continued to hold serve until 6-6 when the set went into a tiebreaker. Chanda took charge of this tiebreaker right from the beginning. She dominated and took it 7-2. After the set, Lindsay took a restroom break which is extremely unusual since she takes a lot of pride in not having to take breaks. Tonight was different though since it was very cold, so it was understandable. When the third set started, Lindsay looked to be more relaxed than she was in the second set. That probably had a lot to do with her restroom break. At 1-2 Rubin serving, Chanda was wrong footed by Davenport, and we later found out that she strained both her quads. Lindsay started running Chanda around, and she took a quick 5-2 lead. Chanda called a medical time out during the changeover, and she held her serve for 3-5. That wasnít enough, and Lindsay took the match 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3. In the post match press conference, Lindsay was greeted by more press than she has had probably in the last two Grand Slams. She was extremely well spoken, and in my opinion sounds like one of the most intelligent women on the tour. She spoke about how winning Wimbledon took a lot of the pressure off of defending the trio of California hard court tournaments. Right now, she doesnít care if she loses and falls to #2 or #3 in the rankings. She answered many questions, and I will be able to give a more detailed lookÖ later onÖ next week. Lindsay faces Capriati or her doubles partner, Corina Morariu next.

Note: After witnessing Lindsayís dismal net performance today, I was reminded again why I am glad she and Natasha broke up (in doubles). I think Lindsay is awesome, but thatís the truth.

Lisa Raymond vs. Amanda Coetzer

This match along with the Davenport/ Rubin match were played side by side. I thought the crowd really got their moneyís worth Ö and then some with these two matches. Lisa Raymond, collegiate standout and this yearís Wimbledon round of 16 player, played an impressive first round match against Cara Black. It looked like she was capable of doing some major damage at this tournament. Coetzer, the #9 player in the world, has been working on being more aggressive, and her aggressive game really helped her today. Lisa and Amanda traded breaks in the first set, but it was Lisaís break at 5-4 to 6-4 that decided the set. Amanda jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set. At times, Lisa looked fatigued and tired, but Amanda, one of the fittest players on the WTA tour, looked fresh. Lisa would only manage to get one more game in the set, and Amanda took the set 6-2. What amazed me was that the Rubin/Davenport match was simultaneously going on, and it was about at the same point in the match as Coetzer and Raymond. I remember once when Davenport and Coetzer double faulted at the same time. Going into the third set, I clearly remembered Amandaís failure to close out the match against Natasha Zvereva at Eastbourne this year. Amanda had a few match points, but she failed to convert on any of them. She characterized that loss as crushing, so I was actually rooting for Coetzer even though Iím supposed to be "objective." Coetzer fans had much to cheer about when she broke Lisa to take a 2-0 lead, but then Lisa came back with a break to make it 1-2. The next game, Lisaís service game, was the longest of the match. Amanda had a few break points, but she failed to convert. Lisa finally held to make it 2-2. I believed this is when Lisa regained the momentum of the match because before, the match looked out of reach for her. After that game, Lisa with adrenaline pumping broke and had a 5-3 lead. On Amandaís serve, Lisa had one match point where she decided to chip and charge which she hadnít done previously in the whole match. I guess she wanted to catch Amanda by surprise, but Coetzer stayed poised and hit a nice down the line passing shot. The next point was one of the best. Amanda ran down so many shots. From my standpoint, I think Amanda is the quickest player on the tour today. After that point, Lisa was crushed, and now Amanda had the momentum. She held for 4-5, and she broke Lisa for 5-5. Lisa never recovered, and Amanda took this thrilling three set match 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. It was the complete opposite of her match against Zvereva at Eastbourne this year. It must have been quite sweet for Amanda, but she canít celebrate long because she will face Schnyder or Testud next.