Wed, 25 Sep 2002

Wynne Prakusya advances to second round

Pariama Hutasoit, Contributor, Nusa Dua, Bali

Wynne Prakusya gracefully moved on to the second round of the Wismilak-Sanex Women's Tennis Tournament after defeating Spaniard Gala Leon Garcia 7-5, 6-3 here on Tuesday.

Playing at the Grand Hyatt center court in Nusa Dua, Wynne won enthusiastic support from the spectators. She confidently led the two sets, despite many long and difficult rallies.

In the first set, Garcia lodged a strong protest against one of the referee's decisions, which, she claimed, was mistakenly in Wynne's favor. Garcia was leading by five points when she thought Wynne's return was out.

Unaffected by the protest, Wynne calmly continued and won the set 7-5.

Wynne was unstoppable in the second set, winning it 6-3.

At a media conference after the match, Wynne said she felt happy to beat Garcia. Commenting on Garcia's protest, Wynne only responded that the Spanish player might have lost her concentration.

"It's usual when one plays abroad. I've often experienced that," she said.

On Wednesday, Wynne, ranked 102nd in the world, will meet Conchita Martinez from Spain, now ranked 55th.

"I've never played against Martinez, but I will certainly play as well as possible. She was the runner-up in 1994 at Wimbledon," Wynne added.

Indonesia's rising star Angelique "Angie" Widjaja, however, failed to appear on Tuesday. Her scheduled match against Spaniard Marta Morrero was inexplicably postponed until Wednesday.

In earlier matches on Tuesday, Virginie Razzano of France defeated Argentinean Clarisa Fernandez in straight sets.

Third-seed Fernandez was not on top form, losing 6-3, 6-3 to Razzano. Fernandez, ranked 33rd, was unseeded in this year's French Open and U.S. Open, but managed to reach the semifinals of both events.

Russia's rising star, 15-year-old Maria Kirilenko, who won the U.S. Open Junior Championship 2002 earlier this month, surrendered to 29-year-old Nicole Pratt of Australia.

Pratt is a veteran tennis player who won a number of junior championships when she was still a teenager. In l991, Pratt won the singles at the Australia Open, and doubles at the U.S. Open and French Open.

Her comeback this year was quite encouraging, reaching the semifinals of two world tennis tournaments in Hobart, Australia, and Birmingham in England. She also reached the quarterfinals in Doha, Qatar, and Scottsdale in the U.S.

"Kirilenko is a talented and powerful player. Although she is very young she has a lot of self-confidence," praised Pratt.

After a relatively easy win in the first set, Pratt found it quite difficult to beat Kirilenko in the second when she led 3-0. But Kirilenko steadily returned Pratt's strong and accurate shots and aggressively chased her returns to every corner of the court until she had won four points.

But Pratt cleverly changed her strategy and closed out the match 6-2, 6-4.

"She has impressed me so much. Kirilenko really has a good future," Pratt said magnanimously of her Russian opponent.

On Wednesday, Pratt will meet the winner of the Angelique- Morrero match.