She came, she conquered…

Ladies Singles, News, WTA Players

by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Martina NavratilovaThe legendary Martina Navratilova, arguably the sport’s greatest ever player, won 11 titles at Eastbourne.

The naturalised American scooped a record-breaking 11 singles titles at Devonshire Park during an outstanding grass court career, which certainly helped boost her confidence going in to Wimbledon.

But Navratilova’s final appearance on the south coast of England was slightly soured in 2004, when the veteran was forced to qualify rather than be given a wildcard entry to the main draw.

Yet at 47 years of age, the sprightly American easily ousted Italy’s Mara Santangelo 6-4, 6-3. But rising Russian ace Elena Likhovtseva proved too hot to handle on a crowded Court No1, and dispatched the fans’ favourite 6-3, 6-2 in the second qualifying round.

Appreciating her limitations, Navratilova was tuning up for her very last shot at Wimbledon as a singles player. Yet at the Championships, the silky skills of the ex-Wimbledon winner shone through and Navratilova duly received a standing ovation for her emphatic demolition of Columbian youngster Catalina Castano 6-0, 6-1.

Round two at SW19 saw her tackle the much-hyped Argentinian pouting beauty Gisela Dulko, which resulted in one of the most memorable matches of Wimbledon 2004. But Navratilova bowed out graciously to fall 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the thriller.

Martina NavratilovaEncouraged by her grass court game, the following year Navratilova opted to make one final tournament appearance on her favourite surface. But instead of competing at her favourite tournament at Devonshire Park, which had over the years became like a second home, Navratilova played in the grass court event in Holland.

In 2005 Navratilova would not play ball with the Eastbourne organisers, still upset after being forced to take part in their qualifying rounds for the first time in her career, so instead made her long overdue debut at the Ordina Open in s’Hertogenbosch.

Having not played on the circuit since her Wimbledon exit, Navratilova came close to winning her first match for virtually a year. She managed to edge the first set 6-4 against Claudine Schaul. But the little-known Luxembourg player stepped up a gear to overwhelm the 48-year-old 6-1 and a fascinating third set battle followed.

It proved to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions for the American, who succumbed 6-4 at the Ordina Open and subsequently retired from the sport for a second time.

“Navratilova would not play ball with the Eastbourne organisers, still upset after being forced to take part in the qualifying rounds at Devonshire Park for the first time.”

– Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2001 Britannic Asset Management International Championships

News, Players, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Lindsay Davenport 2001Lindsay Davenport demolished struggling Spaniard Magui Serna 6-2 6-0 in a disappointing 43 minute final to take the Eastbourne title with aplomb.

The top seed, competing in her first tournament following a three-month absence from the WTA Tour because of a knee injury, simply swept aside her hapless opponent.

Davenport did not drop a point on her opening two service games but in contrast unseeded Serna started nervously with a double fault and failed to recover.

The American ace began the second set with a break despite requiring treatment on her heavily bandaged right knee, and superbly dominated the one-sided contest from start to finish.

Former Wimbledon champion Davenport won at SW19 in 1999 and finished runner-up last year, so was always the most likely champion at Devonshire Park.

Davenport said: “The knee’s given me no problems at all this week, and it hasn’t bothered me for about a month.”

Teenage beauty Anna Kournikova, still seeking her maiden WTA Tour title, is a previous winner of the U21 crown at Eastbourne but was absent from Devonshire Park.

The Russian bombshell shot to fame when she reached the 1997 Wimbledon semi-finals as a 16-year-old, but missed both Eastbourne and a return to SW19 due to a stress fracture in her left foot that she sustained in March.

Kournikova explained: “I always enjoy playing at Eastbourne. so I am really sorry that my foot has not healed quickly enough to allow me to play there again this year.”

 

Final

1

 Lindsay Davenport

6

6

 Magüi Serna

2

0

 

First Round

Second Round

Quarter-finals

Semi-finals

1

 L Davenport

6

6

 D Bedáňová

2

5

 A-G Sidot

3

2

 A-G Sidot

6

7

1

 L Davenport

3

6

6

Q

 A Molik

6

77

6

 S Farina Elia

6

2

1

WC

 L Ahl

1

64

Q

 A Molik
 L Osterloh

1

4

6

 S Farina Elia

w/o

6

 S Farina Elia

6

6

1

 L Davenport

6

6

 C Rubin

1

1

3

 A Coetzer

5

6

3

 L Raymond

6

6

 L Raymond

7

3

6

 C Black

3

4

 L Raymond

4

4

 C Rubin

6

4

6

 C Rubin

6

6

 A Sugiyama

2

6

4

 C Rubin

64

7

6

Q

 E Baltacha

3

3

8

 C Martínez

77

5

0

8

 C Martínez

6

6

 

First Round

Second Round

Quarter-finals

Semi-finals

7

 M Shaughnessy

77

62

6

Q

 S Sfar

62

77

4

7

 M Shaughnessy

77

1

7

 F Schiavone

4

6

4

Q

 E Dominikovic

64

6

5

Q

 E Dominikovic

6

3

6

7

 M Shaughnessy

0

63

 M Serna

6

6

 M Serna

6

77

 A Frazier

1

2

 M Serna

7

6

4

 M Maleeva

5

2

 M Serna

5

6

7

5

 S Testud

5

2

 E Likhovtseva

7

1

5

 A Kremer

7

6

 A Kremer

1

65

WC

 L Latimer

5

3

 E Likhovtseva

6

77

 E Likhovtseva

7

6

 E Likhovtseva

6

6

 T Tanasugarn

6

6

 T Tanasugarn

3

1

 J Hopkins

1

2

 T Tanasugarn

61

78

6

2

 N Tauziat

77

66

3

1999 Direct Line International Championships

Results

NatashaZverevaEastbourne991999 Direct Line International Championships | 14-19 June

Natasha Zvereva really had to pull out the stops and battle through two tricky matches before being crowned champion.

The Russian star seemed to suffer from nerves in the final against no3 seed Nathalie Tauziat of France, who reeled off the first nine games in the final.

But Zvereva bounced back in style to register a compelling 0-6 7-5 6-3 triumph against all the odds.

Although the no6 seed could have cited exhaustion following her semi-final slog of three hours 20 minutes to dismiss South African Amanda Coetzer 6-7(5), 7-6 (4), 10-8, Tauziat was also involved in a last four lengthy thriller.

Tauziat defied the odds, and the Centre Court supporters, to record victory despite trailing 5-1 deficit in the third and final set to Russian ace Anna Kournikova.

Tauziat held her nerve to win 6-4 4-6 8-6 and deliver Kournikova her first defeat at Devonshire Park. The Russian, twice an Eastbourne U21 champion, withdrew injured from the 1998 Direct Line International Championships semi-finals having earlier in the tournament stunned German Steffi Graf with an array of delicate shots, deft touches and power tennis.

Final  Natasha Zvereva defeated Nathalie Tauziat 0 – 6 7 – 5  6 – 3

Semi  Nathalie Tauziat defeated Anna Kournikova 6 – 4  4 – 6  8 – 6

Semi  Natasha Zvereva defeated Amanda Coetzer 6 – 7(5) 7 – 6 (4) 10 – 8

Quarter  Anna Kournikova defeated Nathalie Dechy 6 – 3 7 – 6 (5)

Quarter  Nathalie Tauziat defeated Elena Likhovtseva 0 – 6 6 – 2 6 – 1

Quarter  Amanda Coetzer defeated Mariaan De Swardt 7 – 6 (3) 6 – 3

Quarter  Natasha Zvereva defeated Anne Kremer 6 – 0 6 – 1

Rnd 16  Nathalie Dechy defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 7 – 5 6 – 2

Rnd 16  Anna Kournikova defeated Lisa Raymond 7 – 6 (4) 6 – 4

Rnd 16  Nathalie Tauziat defeated Sylvia Plischke 6 – 3 6 – 3

Rnd 16  Elena Likhovtseva defeated Ai Sugiyama 6 – 3 6 – 4

Rnd 16  Mariaan De Swardt defeated Irina Spirlea 6 – 3 6 – 4

Rnd 16  Amanda Coetzer defeated Elena Tatarkova 6 – 3 6 – 4

Rnd 16  Natasha Zvereva defeated Mirjana Lucic 7 – 5 6 – 1

Rnd 16  Anne Kremer defeated Monica Seles 6 – 4 6 – 4

Rnd 32  Nathalie Dechy defeated Amy Frazier 4 – 6 6 – 2 6 – 1

Rnd 32  Lisa Raymond defeated Magui Serna 3 – 6 7 – 6 (6) 6 – 4

Rnd 32  Anna Kournikova defeated Chanda Rubin 6 – 2 4 – 6 6 – 4

Rnd 32  Sylvia Plischke defeated Karen Cross  6 – 2 3 – 6 6 – 1

Rnd 32  Ai Sugiyama defeated Maureen Drake 7 – 5 6 – 1

Rnd 32  Elena Likhovtseva defeated Corina Morariu 2 – 6 6 – 4 6 – 0

Rnd 32  Irina Spirlea defeated Anna Smashnova 6 – 2 3 – 6 6 – 2

Rnd 32  Mariaan De Swardt defeated Anne-Gaelle Sidot 7 – 6 (5) 6 – 2

Rnd 32  Elena Tatarkova defeated Louise Latimer 6 – 4 7 – 6 (2)

Rnd 32  Natasha Zvereva defeated Tara Snyder 6 – 3 6 – 3

Rnd 32  Mirjana Lucic defeated Alexandra Fusai 7 – 5 6 – 3

Rnd 32  Anne Kremer defeated Samantha Smith 6 – 4 6 – 1

1998 Direct Line International Championships

Results, WTA Players

janaNovotna1998winner1998 Direct Line International Championships | 15-20 June

A repeat of the previous year’s scheduled final managed to take place, with Czech Republic’s Jana Novotna breezing to comfortable success against Spanish star Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Novotna had been in formidable form throughout the event, demolishing Russian Natasha Zvereva for the loss of just three games in their one-sided semi-final showdown.

The surprise package was another Russian, blonde youngster Anna Kournikova. She amazed even herself by pulling off the shock victory of the Championships with a thrilling triumph over German ace Steffi Graf.

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO OF KOURNIKOVA VS GRAF

The other fresh talent on show was American Serena Williams, who took to the Devonshire Park courts a year after attending to watch big sister Venus compete. However, a combination of naivety and the grittiness of Sanchez-Vicario saw her Williams fall at the quarter-final hurdle despite a gutsy showing.

Final  Jana Novotna defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6 – 1 7 – 5

 

Semi Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario defeated Anna Kournikova walkover

Semi  Jana Novotna defeated Natasha Zvereva 6 – 2 6 – 1

 

Quarter  Anna Kournikova defeated Steffi Graf 6 – 7(4) 6 – 3 6 – 4

Quarter  Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario defeated Serena Williams 4 – 6 6 – 4 6 – 4

Quarter  Natasha Zvereva defeated Magui Serna 7 – 6 (5) 6 – 2

Quarter  Jana Novotna defeated Irina Spirlea 6 – 4 7 – 5

Rnd 16  Steffi Graf defeated Samantha Smith 6 – 1 6 – 2

Rnd 16  Anna Kournikova defeated Mariaan De Swardt 6 – 4 6 – 1

Rnd 16  Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn 6 – 2 7 – 5

Rnd 16  Serena Williams defeated Ai Sugiyama 6 – 2 7 – 5

Rnd 16  Magui Serna defeated Elena Likhovtseva 6 – 2 4 – 6 8 – 6

Rnd 16  Natasha Zvereva defeated Venus Williams 6 – 2 6 – 1

Rnd 16  Irina Spirlea defeated Kerry-Anne Guse 6 – 0 7 – 5

Rnd 16  Jana Novotna defeated Nathalie Dechy 6 – 2 6 – 2

Rnd 32  Samantha Smith defeated Yayuk Basuki 6 – 4 3 – 3 retired

Rnd 32  Mariaan De Swardt defeated Lisa Raymond 6 – 0 7 – 6 (6)

Rnd 32  Anna Kournikova defeated Alexandra Fusai 2 – 6 6 – 1 6 – 3

Rnd 32  Tamarine Tanasugarn defeated Anna-Maria Miller 6 – 4 6 – 4

Rnd 32  Serena Williams defeated Naoko Sawamatsu 6 – 4 7 – 5

Rnd 32  Ai Sugiyama defeated Magdalena Grzybowska 6 – 4 6 – 4

Rnd 32  Elena Likhovtseva defeated Nathalie Tauziat 6 – 2 4 – 6 8 – 6

Rnd 32  Magui Serna defeated Tatiana Panova 6 – 7(2) 6 – 3 6 – 1

Rnd 32  Natasha Zvereva defeated Maria Vento-Kabchi 7 – 5 6 – 3

Rnd 32  Irina Spirlea defeated Rita Grande 6 – 3 4 – 6 6 – 4

Rnd 32  Kerry-Anne Guse defeated Sarah Pitkowski-Malcor 7 – 5 6 – 3

Rnd 32  Nathalie Dechy defeated Fang Li 6 – 4 6 – 4

1997 Direct Line International Championships

Results, WTA Players

williamssistersateb19971997 Direct Line International Championships | 17-22 June

With rain ruining what looked like being a mouthwatering final between Czech Republic’s Jana Novotna and Spanish star Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, the organisers sensibly made the pair joint winners.

But there were some interesting developments during the tournament. Monica Seles was a late entrant in a bid to try to defend her crown, but surprisingly stuttered at the hands of Brenda Schultz-McCarthy to crash in the quarter-finals.

And the willowy Venus Williams looked like a star in the making but was heavily distracted by her dreadlock beads falling to the grass, so it was not a shock to see her taste defeat.

Final Cancelled due to rain | Join winners Jana Novotna and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario

Semi  Jana Novotna defeated Natasha Zvereva 6 (7) – 7 6 – 0 7 – 5

Semi  Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario defeated Brenda Schultz-McCarthy 7 – 5 6 – 1

Quarter Jana Novotna defeated Ai Sugiyama 6 – 2 6 (6) – 7 6 – 4

Quarter  Natasha Zvereva defeated Nathalie Tauziat 6 – 4 5 – 7 6 – 4

Quarter  Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario defeated Irina Spirlea 6 – 4 6 – 4

Quarter  Brenda Schultz-McCarthy defeated Monica Seles 7 – 5 7 – 5

Rnd 16 Jana Novotna defeated Yayuk Basuki 7 – 5 6 – 4

Rnd 16 Ai Sugiyama defeated Kimberly Po-Messerli 6 – 3 6 – 1

Rnd 16  Natasha Zvereva defeated Iva Majoli 6 – 2 7 – 5

Rnd 16  Nathalie Tauziat defeated Venus Williams 6 – 3 5 – 7 6 – 4

Rnd 16  Irina Spirlea defeated Anne-Gaelle Sidot 6 – 4 6 – 3

Rnd 16  Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario defeated Kerry-Anne Guse 7 – 5 6 – 0

Rnd 16  Brenda Schultz-McCarthy defeated Silvia Farina Elia 4 – 6 6 – 1 6 – 2

Rnd 16  Monica Seles defeated Naoko Sawamatsu 6 – 2 7 – 5

Rnd 32 Yayuk Basuki defeated Elena Likhovtseva 6 – 3 6 – 0

Rnd 32 Ai Sugiyama defeated Shirli-Ann Siddall 6 – 2 5 – 7 8 – 6

Rnd 32 Kimberly Po-Messerli defeated Katarina Studenikova 0 – 6 7 – 6 (5) 6 – 2

Rnd 32 Natasha Zvereva defeated Amy Frazier 7 – 6 (1) 6 – 0

Rnd 32 Venus Williams defeated Chanda Rubin 6 – 4 6 – 4

Rnd 32 Nathalie Tauziat defeated Mary Joe Fernandez 7 – 6 (5) 7 – 5

Rnd 32 Irina Spirlea defeated Ines Gorrochategui 6 – 0 3 – 6 6 – 4

Rnd 32 Anne-Gaelle Sidot defeated Lucie Ahl 6 – 3 6 – 4

Rnd 32 Kerry-Anne Guse defeated Shi-Ting Wang 6 – 3 5 – 7 6 – 4

Rnd 32 Brenda Schultz-McCarthy defeated Helena Sukova 6 – 3 7 – 6 (3)

Rnd 32 Silvia Farina Elia defeated Lisa Raymond 7 – 5 6 – 4

Rnd 32 Naoko Sawamatsu defeated Jo Ward 6 – 2 7 – 5