Coetzer hopes SA can build on US Open wins

Published on Aug 28, 2003 09:45 AM IST

Amanda Coetzer, seeded 14th, joins countrymen Wayne Ferreira and qualifier Wesley Moodie in making a stand for South African tennis at the year's final Slam event.

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PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, New York

South Africa's Amanda Coetzer advanced to the third round of the US Open here Wednesday with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Austrian Barbara Schett.

Veteran Coetzer, seeded 14th, joins countrymen Wayne Ferreira and qualifier Wesley Moodie in making a stand for South African tennis here at the year's final Slam event.

"I would just love to see more players from South Africa on the tour," said Coetzer. "It's so hard for us to make it. We're far away and all. There are a few girls playing well, but they are struggling.

"The economy is very bad. There is not a lot of money. Wayne and I were lucky because the government invested in tennis at that time. There were a few 'politics' going on too."

Federer hails changing of the guard

Wimbledon champion Roger Federer watches Pete Sampras and Michael Chang retire and himself and Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero winning Grand Slam events and realizes tennis is having a change of the guard.

"These are big names retiring now," Federer said. "It has been taking a long time now, the changing of the guard. But still, Agassi is around, other experienced players. I think it's a good mix right now."

While Chang and Sampras departed here at the US Open, Slam wins by Federer, Hewiitt here and at Wimbledon and Ferrero at the French Open, the rising stars are coming of age.

"I always thought we were a good group of guys, the youngsters," Federer said. "We've proved it now. We've won Grand Slams."

Aussie Molik confident of US Open run

Australia's Alicia Molik ousted Spain's 12th-seeded Conchita Martinez 7-5, 6-4 here Wednesday at the US Open, then proclaimed herself ready to make a run deep into the year's final Grand Slam tournament.

"There's no reason why I can't win two, three or four more matches," Molik said. "There's no reason why I can't step up this time. I've been in positions like this a number of times. I believe I have learned from that.

"I'm ready to take that next step."

Molik reached the third round here, matching her Wimbledon showing for her best of the year after first-round losses at the French and Australian Opens.

The 22-year-old from Adelaide has never been past the third round in a Slam. Her next foe is Argentina's 25th-ranked Paola Suarez.

"I have improved," Molik said. "Just persevering, persisting -- I guess a little more belief too goes a long way."

Moon balls frustrate Hantuchova

Ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia ousted Ukranian rival Julia Vakulenko 6-0, 7-6 (7/5) here Wednesday at the US Open, but not before being frustrated at have to chase down high lobs unseen since childhood.

"It was very difficult for me at the end o the second set because she started to play very strange tennis, something I haven't seen for a coule years," Hantuchova said.

"I think the last time I played somebody like that was maybe when I was 12."

The thin Hantuchova seemed near tears at times in her frustration.

"I was angry at myself that I hadn't finished the match in an easier way," she said. "It started to remind me of Wimbledon a little bit where I was 6-0 up and scewed things up."

Hantuchova lost 0-6, 6-4, 12-10 to Japan's Shinobu Asagoe in the second round at Wimbledon.

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