Tennis: Rubin Ousted but Harkleroad Restores American Pride
Roberts, John, The Independent (London, England)
FEW JUDGES, including her father, Edward, who presides in Louisiana, would have expected Chanda Rubin to feature in the women's singles final at the United States Open here. But it was reasonable to believe that the eighth-seeded Rubin would help carry the American flag beyond the first round in the absence on the Williams sisters.
Instead, Rubin became the first major casualty of the tournament yesterday, losing, 6-4, 6-4, to Maria Vento-Kabchi, of Venezuela, in the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Rubin, the 27-year-old Eastbourne champion, had won her two previous matches against Vento-Kabchi, but this was their first meeting since 1997.
The 29-year-old, ranked No 84, has won titles on the minor circuits but has yet to make her mark on the WTA Tour. She defeated Rubin yesterday by serving the more steadily and making only half as many errors during their 72 minutes on court.
"It was a really bad match for me," Rubin admitted. "I just didn't play with enough glue, with enough consistency, didn't concentrate well enough. I really wasn't ready to play this morning." Asked if her recent shoulder injury had played a part in the defeat, given her lack of match practice, Rubin said: "You definitely don't like to have an injury going into a Grand Slam [tournament], but I wouldn't say that was a factor, based on the way that I played.
"I can't remember playing quite this bad. Being the US Open Centre Court makes it worse than playing this bad somewhere else, at a smaller event."
Amelie Mauresmo, of France, the fifth seed and a semi-finalist here last year, defeated Angelique Widjaja, of Indonesia, the 2001 Wimbledon junior champion, 6-0, 6-2. Widjaja found it hard enough keeping pace with the powerful Mauresmo without donating seven double-faults to her opponent.
As 13 Russian women competitors (minus the injured Anna Kournikova, who is interviewing celebrity spectators for television) lined up for the opening round, the 16-year-old Maria Sharapova seemed slightly offended to be asked if she had looked at the draw beyond her match against Virginia Ruano Pascual, of Spain.
"Of course I look at the draw," Sharapova said. "It's not like I hide the second or third round. I know this is the US Open, not some Tier Five [event] in Asia or something. It's not like I'm here playing with Barbie …
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Publication information: Article title: Tennis: Rubin Ousted but Harkleroad Restores American Pride. Contributors: Roberts, John - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: August 26, 2003. Page number: 23. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.