Lifestyle April, 10th 2010 by

Andalucia Tennis Experience: Beatriz defies predictions, beats Clijsters

It was the character of the day on the slopes of Puente Romano in Marbella, where the Andalucia Tennis Experience has been underway. Twenty-one year-old Valencian Beatriz García, having advanced from the first round, shattered predictions and beat one of the most favored players, Belgian tennis superstar Kim Clijsters, in the second round on Thursday. Garcia advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals.

Garcia salutes Klijsters after beating the top ranked Belgian Thursday at Marbella's Puente Romano

Clijsters came to Marbella directly from Miami on Monday after winning against Venus Williams. She won the affection of the crowds at the main court of the Puente Romano Tennis Club, but her brashness and presence were not enough. The spectators were sad to see a ‘Top 10’ player lose, but happy to see a great match that held both players on the clay court for more than two hours.

Beatriz exasperated Clijsters from the very beginning. She won the first set 7-5, but lost the second 4-6 despite having several opportunities to gain the upper hand.  She then improved considerably for the moment of truth, winning 6-4 in the final set. Garcia’s serve and drive to rise from the bottom gave her the biggest win of her career, which was marred by a serious ligament injury in July 2008.

On the other hand, Clijsters’ enormous potential was not enough, despite a resume that includes a position as the world’s number one player as well as 37 titles. She gave the impression that she wanted to win, but she could not prevail against the young Spanish player who may very well become a major tennis force in the future.

Beatriz was Spain’s international star for the day. Carla Suarez was the only other Spaniard who advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals. The Canary islander beat Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-4, 7-6, after nearly two hours of play. On Friday she faced the surprising Tatjana Malek, who on Tuesday beat number-one ranked French player Aravane Rezai.

The other Spanish players all said goodbye. Anabel Medina yielded to Italian Sara Errani. The Valencian player went cold during the game. Errani took advantage to win the first set by a clear 6-1. Medina served surprisingly poorly and became a toy in the hands of the player from Bologna. Anabel improved in the second set, but was only able to force a tiebreaker before ultimately falling 7-1.

The last to set foot on the Spanish clay court on Thursday was Sevillan Estrella Cabeza. Any victory by her was considered a long shot against Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, hot favorite for the title in the second round of the  Andalucia Tennis Experience.

Invited to the tournament as a wild card, Estrella endured almost an hour against Azarenka, whose serves screamed across the court and demonstrated why she is one of the greats of world tennis. On Friday, Azarenka will face Maria Jose Martinez, the highest-ranking Spaniard in the WTA.

Thursday was also doubles semifinal day. The Spanish Vivi Ruano, this year partnering with American Meghann Shaughnessy, managed to pass to the penultimate round of the tournament after winning 2-6, 7-5 and 12-10 the duo Malek-Sfar. In the other match of the day, the Spanish pair Arantxa Parra and Lourdes Dominguez had few options in their match against Kondratieva and Shvedova, losing 6-0, 6-4. 

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