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U.S. OPEN NOTES

Sounds Like Teen Spirit

August 28, 2003|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Ashley Harkleroad and Vera Zvonareva looked like a couple of petulant teenagers in their second-round match at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

No, wait a minute. They are teenagers.

Zvonareva, 18, fumed. She smacked her racket and smacked tennis balls in anger.

Harkleroad, 18, looked like a Barbie doll in sulk mode when she became upset with the chair umpire in the second set after a perceived injustice, yelling: "You can never be my chair umpire again. That's horrible."

Despite the histrionics, it had been an interesting match through two sets. Then they had to play the third. The 13th-seeded Zvonareva of Russia defeated Harkleroad, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, in 1 hour 51 minutes.

Harkleroad called it a learning experience, saying she shouldn't have gotten so upset but adding that she did use it to her benefit. The problem was that the adrenaline/anger wore off in the third set, and Zvonareva stabilized, winning the first five games by making use of her big forehand.

Zvonareva's biggest career win was this year at the French Open when she defeated Venus Williams in the fourth round. She will next play No. 17 Meghann Shaughnessy in the third round.

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Brief scare of the day: Wimbledon champion Roger Federer appeared to be in serious trouble in his first match at a Grand Slam since winning at the All England Club in July. He squandered a set point in losing the first set and was down an early break in the second but managed to turn his fortunes around against Jose Acasuso, before the Argentine had to retire because of cramps.

The second-seeded Federer won the first-round match, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, 2-0 (retired). Acasuso has not won a match at the Open in three trips.

"I thought he was playing very loose at the end of the third, the one game at 5-3 when I broke him for the second time," Federer said. "I saw that he was just not interested. I didn't think about an injury. Then when we saw he took the injury timeout, we saw something was wrong with him."

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The day mostly went to form. Alicia Molik of Australia defeated No. 12 Conchita Martinez of Spain, 7-5, 6-4, in the second round. Third-seeded Lindsay Davenport got a tougher test than in her opening match but got past it, defeating Maria Elena Camerin of Italy, 6-2, 6-4.

Davenport said her injured foot held up well.

"The main thing is my foot didn't hurt," said Davenport, who will play Melinda Czink of Hungary in the third round. "Hopefully as more days go by, if it doesn't flare up, I think I'll be more and more confident of pushing off it and not really worrying about it."

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Quote, Unquote: "Maybe Lleyton [Hewitt] is a guy who needs something happening to pump himself up for his matches," Mark Philippoussis said of his Australian countryman, who has been struggling. "For myself, if I'm happy off the court, I play great tennis on the court.

"You know, if that's the case, maybe I could walk past him and give him a quick elbow in the head, pump him up."

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