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

Morning Session

Anna Kournikova vs Mary Joe Fernandez

I was actually looking forward to this match. In their last meeting at the 1999 German Open, Mary Joe won in a close 3 setter 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (5). I thought if Mary Joe could just get close to Anna then Anna would falter or fold under the pressure. Anna double faulted twice in the first game to give Mary Joe the early break, but Mary Joe handed back the break later on for 3-3. The wind and a kid who was crying were the two major distractions of the match. It was 4-5 with MJF serving, and Anna had two set points but failed to convert. Finally on the third try, she converted to the contentment of her many fans in attendance. Anna had the first set under her belt 6-4. When Anna wins the first set against an experienced player, it usually isnít something to get all excited about. I was extremely impressed with the maturity she played with today. When she broke MJF for a 5-3 lead in the second set and was serving for the match, she actually double faulted to give MJF the break back at 5-4, but today, it didnít seem to bother her one bit. She converted on her second match point to break MJF for the match 6-4, 6-4. To my surprise, it seemed like Anna Kournikova was the more experienced player today. In her post match press conference, she was asked many questions about winning her first title. This prompted me to ask her, " A lot of hype has been made about you not winning a tournament yet, but you usually only play the big tournaments. Have you ever thought about playing a few Tier 3,4, or 5 tournaments just to capture your first title?" Without even having to think, Anna replied, "Um, not really because I can do good in the big tournaments." Next, Anna will meet the winner between Srebotnik and Williams. If Venus wins her match tonight, it would set up a marquee quarterfinal match- up and a Wimbledon round of 16 rematch with Anna.

Patty Schnyder vs. Sandrine Testud

This match made a later start than usual at 1pm PST as opposed to 12pm PST due to the huge match between Mary Joe and Anna. This was probably better for both players (Schnyder and Testud) because once they both were playing simultaneouslyÖ very few people watched their match. Once Anna and Mary Joe were finished, Patty and Sandrine got the crowdís full attention. To me, it looked like Patty started off slow because of the extraneous noise at inopportune times from the other match. Sandrine leaped to a first set 5-1 lead in a hurry. Patty was making many uncharacteristic unforced errors, but that could have been the wind since Pattyís shots have little pace and float sometimes. When her opponents least expect it, thatís when she whips out her wide lefty forehand for a winner. I love watching Patty play, but that probably has to do with the fact that she is one of my favorite players. Yes, even after the whole Harnecker fiasco. When it was 1-5 with Patty serving, this was about when Anna and Mary Joe were both off the court. Amazingly, Patty saved a few set points to hold to make it 2-5. Patty got it back to 4-5 and was down a break, but it was too late. Testud held and took the set 6- 4. Patty only managed to hold once in the second set. The second set took 26 minutes. Testud won in a fairly easy match 6-4, 6-1. Testud will face Amanda Coetzer in a quarterfinal match- up tomorrow. After the match, I got to interview Patty one on one. Patty is an incredible person. I hope she does well in the coming weeks. I will provide a full transcript next week.

Other Morning Session scores
Coetzer/Po defeated Molik/Black 6-4, 6-2
Kournikova/ Likhovtseva defeated Frazier/ Schlukebir 6-2, 6-2

Evening Session doubles score (from late last night, July 28)
Tanasugarn/ Tatarkova defeated Martinez/ Tarabini 6-4, 6-4

Evening Session

Katarina Srebotnik vs. Venus Williams

The past few days at the Bank of the West Classic have been a hectic ones for the media. Everyone was having trouble meeting their deadline since there have been many close three setters in the evening session, so they were praying for quick matches today. The press people have families to get home to also. Venus took control of the match early. She simply was too powerful for Katarina, who has a much smaller body frame compared to any player on the WTA tour. The first set was over rather rapidly to Venus 6-1. The second set was a complete turn around though. Katarina seemed uneasy at most times in the first set. In the second set, I think her mind frame was, "Iíve got nothing to lose." She seemed to have more confidence in her game. I saw her the last couple of days practicing with probably her doubles parter and her coach. She was out on the courts for a long timeÖ working on all parts of her game. I saw her again this morning, and she was out there again later in the afternoon. I could tell that she really wanted to win this match, but many people, if not all, felt like she had no chance. The second set was very close. Srebotnik is a fighter, and the crowd started to back her in the second set. At 2-2 in Srebotnikís service game, the crowd witnessed the longest game of the match. It was filled with excellent play of all sorts from Venus and Katarina. That game seemed longer than the entire first set combined. It took Venus eight break points to finally convert. After this, Venus went off for a 5-3 lead, but Srebotnik held for 4-5. Venus double faulted in her service game to give Katarina the break back 5-5. Venus broke again for 6-5, but again Venusís serve failed her and she handed the break back. Katarina double faulted in the first point of the tie break and failed to recover from it. She lost the tie break and match 6-1, 7-6 (3) to Venus. Venus game into the press room with a huge smile on her face. She was completely entertaining and funny with the media. She told the press that her second set let down was due to the fact that she was basically out there to practice in the second set. I guess she was implying that she wasnít taking it as seriously as she should have. She admitted that it wasnít a smart decision to do that, and that Srebotnik is a good player. Katarina came into the press room in a quiet manner. She just snuck in here. I really like this girl also. She is genuine and honest. She admitted that she was nervous in the first set playing on center court and with Venus on the other side. She said that she hasnít played many top players except with Monica Seles once when they practiced together, and she hoped that this match will help her in the future. I definitely wish Katarina all the best in the future.

Corina Morariu vs. Jennifer Capriati

Corina and Jennifer actually had their first and only career meeting here at Stanford last year. Corina knocked Jennifer out in the first round in a tough three set match 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. I have never seen Corina play on television much less live, so I thought Capriati would take this match. After watching the first few games, I was impressed with what I saw in Corina. This girl can play some great tennis! Capriatiís shots were working at the beginning. Her powerful groundstrokes did not seem to bother Corina at all. This is probably due to all the practice Morariu is getting with Davenport nowadays since they are doubles partners. Corina got a break in the first set for 4-2, but Capriati broke back in Corinaís next service game with a strong forehand crosscourt return. Both Corina and Jennifer held for 5-5 until Corina was able to hold and break for the first set 7-5. Jennifer just didnít have the consistent, hard groundstrokes to beat Corina today. The second set was no contest, and Corina took the match 7-5, 6-2. After the match, Capriati came in the press room with one elbow wrapped in ice. She admitted that she didnít play well in the second set, and that she was probably still pondering bout all the chances she had in the first set. She gave a lot of credit to Corina since she was the "better player today." Morariu came into the press room with all smiles on her face. I asked her if she was going to change her game plan against her next round opponent and doubles partner, Lindsay Davenport. It was also safe to say that she overpowered Capriati at the baseline, but I didnít think she would be able to do the same against Davenport, but she said she was going to go in the match with the same game plan. She thinks she needs to stay aggressive, move Lindsay around, and not be on the defensive. If Corina is going to have a chance tomorrow, she is going to have to come to net more often to give Davenport less time to set up her huge groundies.