Tamarine makes shock exit

DOHA: Thai ace Tamarine Tanasugarn's dreams of adding to her Indian Open title from last week were dashed yesterday in the WTA Qatar Open by unheralded wild card Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela. 

Joining Vento-Kabchi in the second round of the US$170,000 tournament were seventh seed Conchita Martinez, big-hitting Uzbek Iroda Tulyaganova and Indonesian Angelique Widjaja. 

HARD RETURN:Anca Barna of Germany returns the ball to her French opponent Mary Pierce during their Qatar Open first round match in Doha on Monday.- AFPpic

Tanasugarn, the fourth seed and last year's runner-up here, lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 in a little more than an hour. 

Coming off a high from her winning run in India, the 26-year-old Tanasugarn's usually disciplined game was riddled with unforced errors and contributed to her downfall. 

She dropped her serve in the very first game but broke back in the fourth. However, Vento-Kabchi, detecting a weakness in her rival's defences, employed clever slices to draw Tanasugarn forward, and again broke her twice to go one up. 

"The scoreline makes it look easy but it was not. There were long rallies in both the sets and we were both tired," said world No 169 Vento-Kabchi, grateful to the organisers who have been providing her with a wild card for the last three years. 

The Venezuelan let rip in the second set and before Tanasugarn could find her bearings the South American was 4-0 up, and kept her serve to advance further into the tournament. 

  • ANTWERP (Belgium): Seventh seeded Patty Schnyder easily beat Belgian Elke Clijsters 6-2, 6-3 yesterday to move to the second round of the US$585,000 WTA event. 

    The Swiss player, ranked No.13 in the world, made her victory over Clijsters, who is world No. 3 Kim Clijsters' younger sister, a quick one, finishing off the Belgian in just over an hour. 

    In other first round play, Belgian Els Callens downed Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar, 6-1, 6-2, while Zuzana Ondraskova, of the Czech Republic, defeated Emilie Loit, France, 6-2, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3. 

    France's Nathalie Dechy beat Luxembourg's Claudine Schaul 6-4, 6-3, and Janette Husarova of Slovakia breezed past German Vanessa Henke 6-1, 6-1. 

    Defending champion Venus Williams, who received a first-round bye, will be in action today against Maja Matevzic of Slovenia. 

    Top-seeded Williams promised to return to the event to vie for the gold, diamond-encrusted racket worth about US$870,000, which she can keep by winning the tournament three times in five years. 

  • SAN JOSE (California): New father Todd Martin kicked off his 2003 campaign by brushing aside fellow American Brian Vahaly 6-4, 6-3 on Monday night in the first round of the US$355,000 ATP tennis tournament here. 

    The 32-year-old American, seeded fifth, is playing his first event since October, when he took a break to concentrate on his family duties. Less than three weeks ago Martin's wife gave birth to their first child.  

    “There has been no sleep deprivation since I've been in San Jose,” Martin joked when asked if tending to his newborn son had kept him up at night. 

    In the day's only other singles match, eighth-seeded Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark squeezed by Sweden's Magnus Norman 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3).  

  • VINA DEL MAR (Chile): Felix Mantilla and David Ferrer of Spain posted wins on Monday in the first round of the US$345,000 Vina del Mar Open, while second-seeded Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador withdrew due to injury. 

    Mantilla topped countryman Alberto Martin 6-1, 6-4 while Ferrer downed Alex Kim of the United States 6-2, 6-3. 

    Also, Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy defeated Markus Hipfl of Austria 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic beat Attila Savolt of Hungary 7-6 (8), 6-3. – Agencies

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