Amanda's 1997 Tournament Results

Hopman Cup, Perth, Australia

Finals, Jan. 4: United States def. South Africa 2-1

Chanda Rubin, United States def. Amanda Coetzer, South Africa, 7-5, 6-2

Wayne Ferreira, South Africa def. Justin Gimelstob, United States 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)

Rubin/Gimelstob, United States def. Ferreira/Coetzer, South Africa, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5

Jan. 3: South Africa def. Romania 2-1

Irina Spirlea, Romania def. Amanda Coetzer, South Africa, 7-5 4-6 1-6

Wayne Ferreira, South Africa def. Adrian Voinea, Romania, 7-6 (11-9) 7-6 (7-4)

Ferreira/Coetzer, South Africa def. Voinea/Spirlea, Romania, 4-6 6-1 6-4

Jan. 1: South Africa def. Switzerland 2-1

Martina Hingis, Switzerland def. Amanda Coetzer, South Africa, 6-1, 6-2

Wayne Ferreira, South Africa def. Marc Rosset 6-0, 2-1 (retired)

Ferreira/Coetzer, South Africa def. Rosset/Hingis, Switzerland (forfeit)

Dec. 30: South Africa def. Germany 3-0

Amanda Coetzer def. Petra Begerow 6-0, 7-5

Wayne Ferreira def. Bernd Karbacher 6-4, 6-4

Coetzer/Ferreira, South Africa def. Karbacher/Begerow, Germany, 6-3, 6-4

Sydney International, Jan. 6-12

1R Singles: Mary Joe Fernandez def. Amanda Coetzer (9), 6-1, 3-6, 6-2

QF Doubles: L.Davenport/N.Zvereva (2) def. A.Coetzer/M.Pierce, 6-2, 6-1

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Pierce def. C.Rubin/B.Schultz, 7-5, 4-6, 6-0

Ford Australian Open (Jan. 13-26)

Amanda's best Grand Slam tournament of her career ended yesterday at Melbourne. Unseeded (but former champion) Mary Pierce outslugged Amanda 7-5, 6-1 to get to the title match. Mary totally dominated the early part of the first set and had a 5-1 lead, but hit an easy set point into the net. Amanda suddenly gained confidence and ran off four straight games, including two breaks, to even the set 5-5. But Pierce regained control to take the first set. Amanda broke Pierce to open the second set, looking as if she may have gained confidence from her valiant but unsuccessful comeback, but it was not to be. Pierce's sheer power was too much for Amanda's footspeed on this day.

Please check out my special Australian Open page with in-depth coverage of Amanda's historic victory over Steffi (Graf's first Grand Slam loss after 45 straight wins) and run to the semifinals.

SF Singles: Mary Pierce def. Amanda Coetzer (12), 7-5, 6-1

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Kimberly Po, 6-4, 6-1

4R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Steffi Graf, 6-2, 7-5

3R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Luisa Serna, 6-3, 6-2

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Jana Kandarr, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Anna Kournikova, 6-2, 6-2

1R Doubles: G Fernandez/A Sanchez Vicario (1) def. A Coetzer/M Pierce, 6-3, 6-2

Pan Pacific Open, Tokyo (Jan. 27-Feb. 2)

QF: Martina Hingis (2) def. Amanda Coetzer, 6-0, 6-1

2R: Amanda Coetzer def. Irina Spirlea (7), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

1R: Amanda Coetzer def. Yayuk Basuki, 6-4, 6-1

IGA Tennis Classic, Oklahoma City (Feb. 17-23)

QF Singles: Francesca Lubiani def. Amanda Coetzer (2), 6-0, 6-3

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (2) def. Meilen Tu, 6-1, 6-0

1R Singles: bye

1R Doubles: L.Lee/J.Lee def. A.Coetzer/L.Davenport (1), 6-4, 7-5

I made the three-hour drive up from Dallas to Oklahoma City Sunday Feb. 16 prior to the Tier 3 tournament that began the next day. Amanda, the No. 2 seed, had a bye but arrived in time to conduct a two-hour clinic on Saturday, and also helped promote the event Sunday night at the Blazers minor league hockey game. For those of you not familiar with ice hockey, between periods there often is an on-ice contest for fans to shoot the puck at the net from various distances, sometimes with a reduced target area. Anyway, last year Amanda took a shot and missed by so much that she got booed by the fans. But this year, she nailed the shot! I wasn't there but saw the local TV news clip, and she looked like she had just beaten Steffi again or something.

I met Amanda at the hotel when she returned from the hockey game with her boyfriend. After excitedly talking with some tourney staffers about her success on ice, she spotted me and we chatted for a while. I handed her a stack of e-mail printouts from the last month. [Basically I forwarded any e-mails received between mid-January and mid-February.] She was simultaneously impressed and daunted. She asked me, "Do I have to reply to all these?" While I know those of you who sent e-mails to me all would love to get a direct reply from Amanda, I couldn't in good conscience ask her to do that. I told her that she could do what she wanted with them, as I didn't promise replies. I can almost guarantee you she will read every one . . . and who knows, maybe you will get a response!

I then asked Amanda to personalize and sign a photo she posed for with me at the Olympics. She wrote, "Theo Thanks a lot for taking care of the great website! Amanda Coetzer". I also talked to the tournament director, Julie Copaken. The next day she let me borrow some unique, non-tennis action photos of Amanda from the 1996 IGA tournament (which I'll scan and post later this week) and she also said she'd mail me some from 1997 if they turn out OK.

Federation Cup Group II (March 1-2)

Australia def. South Africa, 3-2

3/2: Amanda Coetzer def. Annabel Ellwood (Australia), 1-6, 6-1, 6-0

3/1: Rachel McQuillan def. Amanda Coetzer 6-3, 7-6 (12-10)

State Farm Evert Cup, Indian Wells (March 3-16)

2R Singles: Florencia Labat def. Amanda Coetzer (8), 1-6, 7-5, 7-5

1R Singles: bye

Lipton Championships, Key Biscayne (March 17-30)

While Amanda fell victim to rising star Anna Kournikova for the second time in six months, she teamed with Anke Huber for one of her best doubles tournaments in quite some time.

SF Doubles: Appelmans/Oremans (11) def. Coetzer/Huber, 6-4, 6-2

QF Doubles: Coetzer/Huber def. Arendt/Bollegraf (5), 6-2, 6-3

3R Doubles: Coetzer/Huber def. Neiland/Sukova (2), 6-0, 7-5

2R Doubles: Coetzer/Huber def. Farina/Schett (15), 5-7, 6-1, 6-3

1R Doubles: Coetzer/Huber def. Sidot/Standlund, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3

2R Singles: Anna Kournikova def. Amanda Coetzer (12), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3

1R Singles: bye

Family Circle Magazine Cup, Hilton Head Island (March 31-April 6)

Amanda Upsets Defending Champ Arantxa in Hilton Head!

Maybe being at home does have some advantages. Amanda, playing at her home tournament, knocked off Sanchez-Vicario in an afternoon match on the stadium court. It was probably her biggest singles victory since the Australian Open and should give her confidence for the French Open. Sanchez-Vicario has played Hilton Head the past 11 years and is an excellent clay court player; her speed and shot variety usually gives Amanda fits, but on this day Coetzer clearly was the better player.

QF Singles: Conchita Martinez (5) def. Amanda Coetzer (13), 6-1, 6-3

3R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (13) def. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (2), 6-2, 5-7, 6-0

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (13) def. Paola Suarez, 4-6, 6-2, 4-0, retired

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (13) def. Henrieta Nagyova, 6-2, 6-3

1R Doubles: R.Dragomir/I.Majoli def. A.Coetzer/I.Gorrochategui, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2

Bausch & Lomb Championships, Amelia Island (April 7-13)

Amanda knocks off top seed at Amelia Island!

Amanda pulled off a major third-round upset for the second week in a row, defeating serve-and-volley specialist Jana Novotna, the tournament's top seed. "I started off really well," Coetzer said. "It really gave me a boost, it always feels good to get a good start. The scores were kind of strange, being so lopsided. We both played well tactically in the sets that we won."

SF Singles: Lindsay Davenport (6) def. Amanda Coetzer (12), 7-5, 6-2

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Mary Joe Fernandez (9), 6-2, 6-4

3R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Jana Novotna (1), 6-2, 1-6, 6-1

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Amelie Mauresmo, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (12) def. Eva Martincova, 7-5, 6-1

2R Doubles: K.Adams/C.Vis def. A.Coetzer/I.Gorrochategui, 7-6 (10), 6-3

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/I.Gorrochategui def. L.Pleming/C.Wood, 6-1, 6-2

Lotto Ladies Open, Budapest (April 21-27)

Amanda Captures First Title of 1997, Moves Into WTA Top 10!

Amanda has to be happy with her late entry into the Budapest tournament. She notched her first tour win of the season Sunday by dispatching fourth seed Sabine Appelmans. Coetzer won the first set in 26 minutes and needed just 67 minutes overall to earn her fourth career singles title. She tested the Belgian with long exchanges, resulting in many unforced errors. With the second set tied at 2-2, Coetzer won her serve at love and broke Appelmans in the next game. The victory gave Amanda the highest WTA ranking of her career. Coetzer improved to 3-2 versus Appelmans, a 1993 finalist in Budapest, and raised her 1997 match record to 21-9.

Amanda won the CHASE MONTHLY CHAMPION award by recording 12 singles wins in the month of April, including her first singles win of 1997 when she captured the Budapest LottoLadies Open. The CHASE MONTHLY CHAMPION award is designed to build momentum for the season ending CHASE CHAMPIONSHIPS of the COREL WTA TOUR. The recipient each month nominates a charity to which Chase donate $1,000 on their behalf. Amanda chose "Learn Tennis, Love Tennis," a South African charity working to promote tennis at the grass roots level in South Africa.

Singles Final: Amanda Coetzer (2) def. Sabine Appelmans (4), 6-1, 6-3

SF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (2) def. Henrieta Nagyova (7), 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-0

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (2) def. Elena Wagner, 6-1, 6-7 (9-11), 6-2

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (2) def. Marion Maruska, 6-0, 6-4

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (2) def. Andrea Temesvari, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2

Doubles Final: A.Coetzer/A.Fusai (1) def. E.Martincova./E.Wagner (3), 6-3, 6-1

SF Doubles: A.Coetzer/A.Fusai (1) def. P.Langrova/R.Zrubakova, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3

QF Doubles: A.Coetzer/A.Fusai (1) def. V.Csurgo/P.Suarez, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/A.Fusai (1) def. C.Cristea/C.Schnieder, 6-1. 6-4

Croatian Ladies Open, Bol (April 28-May 4)

SF Singles: Mirjana Lucic def. Amanda Coetzer (1), 6-4, 6-3

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (1) def. Sarah Pitkowski, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (1) def. Kristina Brande, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (1) def. Melanie Schnell, 6-1, 6-2

SF Doubles: L.Montalvo/H.Nagyova def. A.Coetzer/M.Oremans (1), 6-0. 5-7, 7-5

QF Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Oremans (1) def. E.Gagliardi/R.Jensen, 6-4, 6-0

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Oremans (1) def. D.Chladkova/R.Bobkova, 7-5, 6-3

Qualifier Mirjana Lucic, the #1 junior player in the world, upset Amanda in Saturday's semis. Lucic had the advantage of playing in her home country, but it still was a significant surprise, especially in straight sets.

Italian Open, Rome (May 5-11)

3R Singles: Patty Schnyder def. Amanda Coetzer (6), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (6) def. Anna Kournikova, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1

1R Singles: bye

2R Doubles: P.Suarez/D.Van Roost def. A.Coetzer/M.Pierce, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Pierce def. A.Ellwood/R.McQuillan, 6-2, 6-0

German Open, Berlin (May 12-18)

Amanda Demolishes Graf in Berlin!

Top seed and defending champion Steffi Graf was returning from a three-month injury layoff and playing in front of the home crowd in a tournament she has dominated. She just got in the way of the wrong opponent. Coetzer handed Graf her worst loss ever, 6-0, 6-1, today in the quarterfinals of the $926,250 German Open in Berlin, and appears to be cruising towards the $150,000 first prize. Graf, the defending champion, made 16 forehand errors and had four double faults in the first set, which lasted only 28 minutes. Steffi did not win a game until she trailed 4-0 in the second set. "I was incredibly nervous out there,'' Graf said. "My confidence slipped from game to game, from shot to shot.''

Coetzer has become Steffi's nemesis, defeating her in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Graf's previous worst defeat came in the French Open semifinals in 1991, when she fell to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain. For Coetzer, it was her third dominating effort in as many matches in Berlin -- she has dropped only three games in the tournament. In the semifinals, Coetzer will play France's Mary Pierce, the 12th seed, who disposed of number six Iva Majoli of Croatia, 6-1, 6-4.

Coetzer improved to 3-9 lifetime against Graf and is now 1-1 against her on clay. Graf had also beaten her four times in as many meetings in tournament quarterfinals. It was an abrupt ending for the 27-year-old Graf, who was playing her first tournament after a three-month layoff. A nine-time champion at this event, Graf had been sidelined since early February with inflammation of the patella tendon in her left knee. She had reached the finals of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo but was forced to default her highly-anticipated showdown with Switzerland's Martina Hingis after aggravating the injury in the semifinals.

SF Singles: Mary Pierce (12) def. Amanda Coetzer (7), 6-4, 6-4

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (7) def. Steffi Graf (1), 6-0, 6-1

3R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (7) def. Judith Wiesner (14), 6-1, 6-1

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (7) def. Katarina Studenikova, 6-0, 6-0

1R Singles: bye

2R Doubles: G.Fernandez/N.Zvereva (1) def. A.Coetzer/C.Rubin, 6-2, 6-3

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/C.Rubin def. E.Callens/L.Courtois, 6-1, 6-2

Internationaux de Strasbourg, Strasbourg (May 19-25)

In France, Amanda was unable to repeat her dominating performance against Steffi in Berlin, but she battled her to the very end before succumbing. Still, Coetzer's strong play against Graf and overall performance so far in 1997 makes her a legitimate threat at Roland Garros.

SF Singles: Steffi Graf (1) def. Amanda Coetzer (3), 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4)

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Naoka Kijimuta, 6-2, 6-3

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Anne-Gaelle Sidot, 7-5, 6-4

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Naoko Sawamatsu, 6-1, 6-2

French Open (Roland Garros), Paris (May 26-June 8)

Amanda Loses Tough Three-Set Semifinal Match to Iva Majoli

SF Singles: Iva Majoli (9) def. Amanda Coetzer (11), 6-3, 4-6, 7-5

Amanda was two games from her first Grand Slam final but was unable to hold on as Iva Majoli won a three-set nailbiter. In the final set, Majoli was able to break Coetzer in the first game and held to go up 2-0 in the deciding set. Coetzer, though, won the next three games, including two breaks. The key game in the match may have been the sixth, as Amanda blew a 40-love advantage that would have put her up 4-2.

Majoli came back to tie 4-4 and held serve to go up 5-4 and after each player held serve one more time, Majoli broke Coetzer for the fourth time in the set to win the match. Neither player was able to maintain serve well as Majoli broke Coetzer 11 times while Coetzer answered with nine of her own. There were no aces in the match and both players failed to convert more than 40 percent of their first serves into points.

Seven of the 12 games in the third set were won via break, including four by Majoli. She converted 11 of 23 break points while Coetzer made good on nine of 26. "Before the match, I didn't know how I was going to feel because I had a really bad cold yesterday and today," said Majoli. "I couldn't sleep all night. I was on medication. I could hardly breathe." The 19-year-old Majoli was victorious in her first appearance in a Grand Slam semifinal and was the first Croatian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (11) def. Steffi Graf (2), 6-1, 6-4

4R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (11) def. Conchita Martinez (7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3

3R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (11) def. Meike Babel, 6-4, 6-2

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (11) def. Amy Frazier, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (11) def. Rita Grande, 6-4, 6-0

2R Doubles: C.Martinez/P.Tarabini (10) def. A.Coetzer/M.Pierce, walkover

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Pierce def. S.Jeyaseelan/J.Lee, 6-4, 6-4

The Championships, Wimbledon (June 23-July 6)

2R Singles: Patricia Hy-Boulais def. Amanda Coetzer (6), 6-2, 6-1

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (6) def. Alexandra Fusai, 7-6 (12-10), 6-1

1R Doubles: (10) N. Tauziat/L. Wild def. A. Coetzer/M. Pierce, 6-1, 1-6, 10-8

Amanda's third Grand Slam of 1997 ended much earlier than the first two, as veteran Patricia Hy-Boulais of Canada dominated her in a match that was rescheduled several times due to rain. Coetzer's serve was broken five times.

Bank of the West Classic, Stanford (July 21-27)

SF Singles: Conchita Martinez (6) def. Amanda Coetzer (3), 6-4, 6-0

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Kimberly Po (7), 7-5, 6-4

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Meilen Tu, 6-2, 6-0

1R Singles: bye

SF Doubles: C.Martinez/P.Tarabini (3) def. A.Coetzer/M.Pierce, 6-4, 6-4

QF Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Pierce def. P.Hy-Boulais/J.Lee, 6-1, 6-3

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Pierce def. L.McNeil/C.Vis (2), 6-1, 7-5

Toshiba Tennis Classic, San Diego (July 28-Aug. 3)

SF Singles: Monica Seles (2) def. Amanda Coetzer (3), 6-3, 6-4

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Yayuk Basuki, 6-3, 6-4

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Anne-Gaelle Sidot, 6-2, 6-1

1R Singles: bye

Acura Classic, Los Angeles (Aug. 4-10)

2R Singles: Amy Frazier def. Amanda Coetzer (3), 6-1, 6-3

1R Singles: bye

du Maurier Open, Toronto (Aug. 11-17)

In-Person Report!

QF Singles: Anke Huber (8) def. Amanda Coetzer (3), 2-6, 6-1, 6-4

Intermittent rain on Friday afternoon postponed this match to the evening, and moved it to Court One as Monica Seles crushed Rita Grande on Centre Court. Coach Gavin Hopper, who was absent earlier in the week, arrived in town to work with Amanda and early on it looked like it would pay off. But in the end, watching the third set of this match gave me bad memories of the French semi against Iva Majoli, because Amanda could have and maybe should have won this one.

Although I've seen Huber play in person a few times before, I really never noticed how much raw power she possesses. On this court with intimate seating, it was much more obvious. In the second set, Huber's forehand strength came alive, frequently making it difficult for Amanda to even get her racquet on the ball. Amanda also made an unusual amount of unforced errors, and had trouble with her serve.

Amanda started strong in the third set, casting her problems aside. Meanwhile, Huber looked to be tiring slightly, and hit more than a few balls right into the net. Coetzer fought to a seemingly commanding 4-2 lead, and Huber showed her frustration with what I assumed to be Graf-like German cuss words. But suddenly, Huber got a second wind, and again was hitting the ball as hard as she had in the second set. Anke's groundstrokes were simply too much for Amanda to handle as she dropped the last four games.

3R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Kimberly Po (11), 6-3, 6-3

Amanda returned to Centre Court on Thursday afternoon to meet, Po, a member of the last American Federation Cup team. The score of this match was actually deceiving -- it really wasn't even that close. Po showed very little confidence as Amanda patiently returned ball after ball, waiting for what seemed like inevitable Po unforced errors.

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Nathalie Dechy, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Never heard of Nathalie Dechy? Neither had I, but this qualifier had Amanda in deep trouble on a wet Tuesday night on Centre Court. After disposing of hyped American Venus Williams the day before, Dechy, a slender 18-year-old French girl, took a 4-1 lead over Amanda in the first set before heavy rain ended the match until the next afternoon. Amanda may have taken Dechy lightly on Tuesday, but on Wednesday she appeared more focused and almost came back to take the first set. In the second set, Amanda seemed determined not to become a major upset victim. Her groundstrokes were sharper, and the unforced errors diminished. Amanda had strong momentum going into the final set, and simply overpowered the tiring Dechy, who never did give up.

1R Singles: bye

1R Doubles: L.Raymond/R.Stubbs (8) def. A.Coetzer/M.Pierce, 6-2, 6-4

As a biased observer it appeared to me that Pierce's heart was not really in this match played early Wednesday evening. She seemed rather disinterested and unfocused for most of the time, and Amanda's efforts were simply not enough. Since this match was on Court One, I took this opportunity to chat with her after the match. After she went to the locker room to shower and change, she came out to meet me near the player's entrance. I gave her a stack of e-mail printouts along with explanations for a couple that were particularly important. To be honest, she seemed a bit distracted, tired or both when I talked to her. The next morning I saw her at practice, and she seemed to be herself again.

U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships, Atlanta (Aug. 18-24)

Coetzer knocks off top seed in Atlanta; falls to Davenport in semis

SF Singles: Lindsay Davenport (4) def. Amanda Coetzer (5), 6-2, 6-4

Here is a first-person report from Ron Segall, a fan from Atlanta: "Lindsay Davenport was by far the superior player last night and won convincingly. While Amanda played with a lot of heart especially in running down just about every shot sent her way, Lindsay was the aggressor and attacked Amanda constantly with hard, sweeping forehand shots that displayed amazing power and accuracy. Lindsay had long, "wind-up" forehand shots that hit the corners and forced Amanda to continually play a defensive game with little opportunity for her to take an offensive role. Davenport forced Coetzer continually to play deep, way back, using her one-foot height advantage to its maximum for "big" shots.

Amanda played well, and played the second set to 4-5, down earlier 2-5, but lost the last game by a shutout (or close to it) with Davenport serving. While Lindsay had more unforced errors, being quite aggressive, she clearly had many more winners. Davenport played outstanding! She played an almost perfect match and used a perfect strategy to counter Amanda's running abilities! She even improved her serve at the end of the match and had several outstanding aces when it counted most with the 2nd set on the line. Amanda served well and improved at the end but had few aces. She probably started her run at the end of the match just a little too late."

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Jana Novotna (1), 1-6, 6-3, 6-1

Amanda showed how she has improved by leaps and bounds in 1997 with a gutsy three-set quarterfinal win over Jana Novotna in Stone Mountain, site of the 1996 Olympic tennis competition. The old Amanda might have folded after losing a lopsided first set, but this time she battled back to win the match.

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Nathalie Tauziat, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Linda Wild, 6-1, 6-2 (summary/photo from SI Online)

U.S. Open, Flushing Meadow (Aug. 25-Sept. 7)

4R Singles: Irina Spirlea (11) def. Amanda Coetzer (5), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4

Amanda's first match against a seeded opponent also was her last, as Spirlea prevailed and advanced to the quarterfinals, where she upset Monica Seles on Tuesday. If it's any consolation, Amanda historically has had little success against Seles. This report comes from spectator Ron Segall of New York, who has attended many U.S. Opens over the years. It is followed by Amanda's postmatch interview.

"Both players showed a lot of heart and determination evidenced by long volleys and outstanding shots. Although the match only went 2 sets, the set scores and the total time of the contest show just how evenly matched it was. While a lot of the womens matches have been played in one hour or less, this event took over 2 hours to play just 2 sets.

At the beginning Amanda clearly outplayed Irina. At one time she had a commanding 4-2 game advantage in the first set. Irina had a lot of unforced errors whereas Amanda played very consistently and stuck to the basics of her game, sweeping groundstokes, chasing down every ball sent her way, nicely set up winners, etc. She also benefitted quite substantially from many aggressive unforced errors that were made by Irina. However, starting at the end of the first set, Spirlea started to correct her unforced errors and offensively took control. She used her one-foot height advantage to create hard sweeping forehand shots that either were winners or at near-perfect angles complete with spin. Amanda gave it her all and chased down most of these tough shots from Irina. However, upon doing this, her return shots were not strong enough to ensble her to mount an effective offensive attack.

This type of play became evident in the first set tiebreaker and continued throughout the second set. The large New York crowd was clearly cheering for Amanda to come back. In the second set, she gave it her all. At times she shifted into overdrive and created some really hard offensive groundstrokes that gained her a lot of points. Her desire and energy level at these times was outstanding! She had some excellent serves and aces that Spirlea was only able to watch and weakly swat at. However, at the end and when it counted the most, Irina Spirlea regained her offensive prowess. She kept Amanda at bay and deep behind the baseline. She made powerful forehand shots. At other times she seemed content to volley less agressively and let Amanda make mistakes. A very close match unfortunately did not go Amanda's way. With a little more luck, especially in the first set, the outcome could have been reversed."

Q. Very disappointing loss. Can you explain what happened at the end?

AMANDA COETZER: I think, you know, she played a good match, served pretty well, you know. Just a few points difference here and there. Went her way. I don't think I did anything wrong, you know. I think she just came up with some really good shots when she had to.

Q. I know it's really soon after the match. Have you had a chance to think about it? If so, can you learn anything for the next time you're in a situation like that?

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah, definitely. I think you definitely learn a lot more after you lose a match. So I'll learn quite a bit. I think tactically she played a really good match. She didn't go for too much like she has done in the past. I definitely can learn from it. She played me a little bit differently than she has in the past.

Q. What do you bring away from this tournament in general? Was it a good experience, the 1997 US Open?

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah. Nice to see the new facilities and really nice to play on center court. So, yeah, looking forward to coming back here.

Q. Made a really big point of being fit. Can you talk about, more than physically, do you feel it gives you a mental edge over your opponent because you are more fit?

AMANDA COETZER: I think under certain conditions, yeah. Not your everyday match. But playing the top players, where you probably push a little bit harder on every point, it really helps to know that my recovery is pretty good, you know, in between points. And a long match, maybe hot conditions, it definitely comes into play quite a bit.

Q. Can you talk about the New York crowd? How do you feel they might be different from other places that you go?

AMANDA COETZER: They're probably a little bit rowdier than other places, but I think it's definitely a little bit different playing on this stadium than the older one. I really enjoyed it. It seems a little bit less rowdy than before. I don't know if it's just the way it's situated.

3R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Flora Perfetti, 6-2, 7-5 Listen to a RealAudio clip of the postmatch interview.

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Alexia Dechaume-Balleret, 6-1, 6-1

This match was originally scheduled for an outside court (11) but was moved to Stadium Court 3, formerly known as the Grandstand. It's a good thing, because that allowed me to grab a bunch of nice photos from the official site's Netcam. These are in chronological order. Enjoy.

Photo 1; Photo 2; Photo 3; Photo 4; Photo 5; Photo 6; Photo 7; Photo 8; Photo 9

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Nicole Arendt, 6-3, 6-2 Listen to a RealAudio clip of the postmatch interview

Postmatch interview

Q. Routine first round match. Do you feel comfortable?

Amanda Coetzer: Not really routine. I've played against Nicole before. I've actually had a three-set match with her. She's got a really good serve. I expected her to come in, being a left-hander, of course it's a bit tricky. She put as lot of spin on the ball. I really had to concentrate and make sure I was there for every shot.

Q. Still feel fresh after so many weeks of competition?

Amanda Coetzer: Yeah, very much so. I think I wouldn't have been able to have gotten by with less matches. A lot of those draws were quite small. I still feel pretty fresh.

Q. Are you getting more up for Grand Slams?

Amanda Coetzer: I would hope so, yeah. I think I have in the past done pretty well at the Grand Slams. You know, hopefully that's where you can play your best tennis and really work your way around the Grand Slams and the bigger tournaments.

Q. Amanda, I noticed during your match that quite a few people really yell out and cheer for you. That really doesn't go too much with the others. They really get into it. How are you able to stay so focused, when even though they mean to be helpful, after you double-faulted, a man said something like, "Settle down." How do you still focus after people are yelling things out?

Amanda Coetzer: I think I have pretty good concentration skills. I mean, a lot of times exactly that encouragement from some of the crowd have really helped me through matches. I really look at it in a positive way. I've always played in the opposite conditions where my opponent was by far the favorite. That's tough. I think that's probably harder to keep your focus.

Q. Amanda, were you concerned in any way about your opponent prior to the match? Did she represent any sort of threat to you? Amanda Coetzer: Yeah, definitely.

Q. In what way?

Amanda Coetzer: Everybody in the draw could be quite a threat. You know, she's a left-handed player. I've played her in doubles. I know she comes into the net and she does that pretty effectively. You know, she has a lot of spin on the ball. I knew if I don't concentrate well and let it slip a little bit, I could get myself into trouble.

Q. What did you do that you felt blunted her attack in any way?

Amanda Coetzer: I think I returned pretty well, and also I was really diligent on my own service games because I knew, especially in the beginning, I was struggling a bit with her service games. Like I said, she's got a lot of spin on the ball, left-hander, and she puts a lot of pressure coming in behind it. I think the fact that I played my own service games pretty good gave me a lot more confidence to go out a little bit and try and break her.

Q. Were you surprised that she did not attack as much as you might have expected?

Amanda Coetzer: I expected her to come in a little bit more, probably. I think I returned pretty well. Hopefully, I didn't give her enough chances. I'm sure her plan was to be more aggressive and come in a little bit more.

Q. Could you give some of your impressions of the teenage players on The Tour, like Kournikova and Lucic? Do you kind of feel old at a point when people that young are getting into the US Open and making an impact in the draw?

Amanda Coetzer: As a matter of fact, I don't really. In a way, I almost relate a little bit better to some of the younger players. I think they're very good for the game. It's very exciting, specifically those two. Lucic, I've played against her, Kournikova I've played a few times. I think they really would bring a lot to the game. Just as far as I'm concerned with my age and stuff, I really relate pretty well to the younger players because I feel like my game is still developing. I think over the last few games I've improved a lot more than a player my age normally would improve. In that way, I feel a little bit younger than what my age is.

Q. Do you think their games are good enough to really make a total changing of the guard, that there's going to be like in the Top 10 eight players that are all maybe under 22 or something?

Amanda Coetzer: You know, I hope not. I mean, right now it's happened a little bit. You see a lot of the younger players up there, with Hingis at the very top. At the same time we had Novotna at No. 2 a few weeks ago. I think she dropped a little bit down now. Hopefully there will be a good mix, just a good level of competition among everybody, not just a certain agegroup and that.

Q. Do you feel like you're pulling for people in your age group a little bit, carry their hopes maybe on your shoulders?

Amanda Coetzer: Not particularly. I mean, I really enjoy seeing somebody like Novotna having her best year on The Tour, when she's 29. I enjoy seeing that. At the same time, like I said, I'm excited with all these young players because I can relate with what it feels to still know that your game can still improve and not feeling that you're at your highest potential yet.

Q. Other players seem to struggle with the atmosphere of a Grand Slam, so many distractions going on. You seem to have some of your best results at Grand Slams. How are you able to put that aside, avoid distractions?

Amanda Coetzer: I think probably the last few years, I've really prepared myself well for the Grand Slams. I've really made sure that I've played enough before them so that by the time I get to them, I feel completely relaxed. I don't feel like I have last-minute things to fix. I don't have to catch up with a few practices here and there. I pretty much have come into them feeling very relaxed, feeling that I've done as much as I could have, and now it's pretty much up to my opponents, just have to wait and see what happens from here. I think in a way that takes a lot of pressure off you; you can just really go out and compete.

Q. What would you say is the major reason for your big improvement? You were with Dennis Van der Meer, and now you have somebody coaching you for the past couple of years. Is it your fitness, because it seems like you're just so fit now as compared to maybe a couple years ago. Is that the reason for your major improvement do you think?

Amanda Coetzer: I think that's just a very small part of it. It's almost like the cherry on the cake. I think the major improvement in my game that I've made is my technical. With that it's just kind of snowballed. It's just given me a lot of confidence. I think definitely the fitness has helped me a lot. I just feel like I can do a lot more with the ball, which I didn't have as much variety. I've really worked hard. It's been quite technical, made a lot of technical changes in my game, which is not normal for somebody my age to start to do that. Started doing that a couple years ago.

Q. Could you give an example of one of the technical changes that you're talking about?

Amanda Coetzer: Yeah. I changed my forehand around completely, more to an open-stance forehand, which in the end changed my whole hitting range. I've worked on technique on my backhand and also just over a long period of time slowly on my serve. I think it's really come a long way.

Q. How did you get the mental framework that allowed you to make these changes?

Amanda Coetzer: I think I was just at a point in my career where I felt stagnant, even though my ranking was in the Top 20 still, this was a few years ago. I just didn't feel like I could stay competitive with the younger people hitting harder. I just thought it's a risk that I'm going to take, but it's worth taking.

2R Doubles: Hingis/Sanchez-Vicario (2) def. A.Coetzer/M.Pierce, 6-4, 6-2

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/M.Pierce def. Nagyova/Schnyder, 6-0, 6-1

Sparkassen Cup Grand Prix, Leipzig, Germany (Sept. 22-28)

Coetzer deals Hingis her third loss of '97 in Germany; loses to Novotna in finals

In the semifinals, Amanda handed Martina Hingis only her third loss of the season. Hingis is 65-3, with her other losses at the hands of Iva Majoli and Lindsay Davenport. Amanda then fell to Novotna in the finals trying to win her second title of 1997.

F Singles: Jana Novotna (2) def. Amanda Coetzer (4), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

SF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (4) def. Martina Hingis (1), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3)

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (4) def. Magdalena Grzybowska, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6)

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (4) def. Magdalena Maleeva, 6-3, 7-5

1R: bye

SF Doubles: Y.Basuki/H.Sukova (2) def. A.Coetzer/K.Boogert (4), 7-6, 6-2

QF Doubles: A.Coetzer/K.Boogert (4) def. R.Simpson/L.Woodroffe, 6-1, 6-0

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/K.Boogert (4) def. A.Huber/B.Rittner, 6-3, 6-1

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Filderstadt (Oct. 6-12)

SF Singles: Martina Hingis (1) def. Amanda Coetzer (5), 6-2, 6-1

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Patty Schnyder, 6-2, 7-5

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Anna Kournikova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1

European Indoors, Zurich (Oct. 13-19)

2R Singles: Lisa Raymond def. Amanda Coetzer (5), 7-5, 6-3

1R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (5) def. Patty Schnyder, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3

2R Doubles: C.Martinez/P.Tarabini def. A.Coetzer/A.Huber, walkover

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/A.Huber def. M.J.Fernandez/L.Raymond (3), 6-2, 7-5


Amanda Celebrates 26th Birthday With Second Title of 1997!

Top seed Amanda Coetzer of South Africa captured her second WTA Tour title of the year, outdueling fifth seed Barbara Paulus of Austria, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 at the $164,250 Luxembourg Open in Luxembourg City. The fifth-ranked Coetzer, who celebrated her 26th birthday on Wednesday, earned her fifth career singles title and second this year, along with a first-prize check of $27,000. "I had my ups and downs and I feel really relieved," Coetzer said after beating Paulus. Paulus, seeded fifth, said: "It was a hard and very close match. I had the chance to win but at 4-4 in the third set I could not work out how to beat her. Also, the long exchanges made me very tired." Although Amanda was by far the highest ranked player in the event due to Irina Spirlea's withdrawal, her triumph was hard-fought as she dropped the middle set of all four matches.

F Singles: Amanda Coetzer (1) def. Barbara Paulus (5), 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

SF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (1) d. Katarina Studenikova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0

QF Singles: Amanda Coetzer (1) def. Miriam Oremans, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (1) def. Silvia Farina, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

1R Singles: bye

QF Doubles: A.Lindstedt/C.Schneider def.A.Coetzer/K.Boogert (4), 6-3, 6-3

1R Doubles: A.Coetzer/K.Boogert (4) def. K.Freye/S.Meier, 6-2, 6-2

Advanta Championships, Philadelphia (Nov. 10-16)

QF Singles: Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (8) def. Amanda Coetzer (3), 6-2, 6-2

2R Singles: Amanda Coetzer (3) def. Chanda Rubin, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2)

1R Singles: bye


1R Singles: Nathalie Tauziat def. Amanda Coetzer (4), 6-3, 6-3

Amanda's Best Season Ends in Disappointment

Nathalie Tauziat pulled a major upset and ended Amanda's season prematurely at Madison Square Garden. Tauziat jumped on Coetzer early, breaking at love in the second game and holding for a 3-0 lead. She served out the set, but quickly found herself in an almost identical hole in the second set. Coetzer was a point away from a 3-0 lead when Tauziat rallied back from love-40 to break back and even the set. The 30-year-old Tauziat, the oldest player in the field, broke again for a 4-3 lead and closed out the match with her fourth service break two games later. The loss marked a disappointing end to an outstanding season for Coetzer, who rose to a career best No. 4 in the rankings. She defeated Steffi Graf three times in the first five months of the year and dealt top-ranked Martina Hingis her third loss of the year at Leipzig.

From the official Corel WTA Tour website:

Amanda spent two days in New York City last week to promote the upcoming CHASE Championships of the COREL WTA TOUR, to be held at Madison Square Garden the week of November 17. After holding a press conference at the All-Star Cafe in Times Square she bartended for an hour for patrons. In the spirit of Halloween, the “little assassin” came up with a holiday special called “The Frisky Witch,” which if you can stomach it, is sambuca and vodka on ice, with a licorice stick as a broom! Amanda’s tips went towards her South African grassroots tennis program, “Play Tennis, Love Tennis.” She then had time for some New York window shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue and Henri Bendel before having dinner at The Palm with the New York Daily News. Of course, the “little assassin’s” day would not be complete without a little competition...She therefore, ended her day at “Hackers, Hitters and Hoops” where she challenged a journalist from TIME OUT New York in ping-pong...of course, she won. The next day left more time for shoe shopping and and an autograph session where she signed copies of this month’s Tennis Magazine - where she is on the cover- for her fans at J&R Computer World.

"I am really looking forward to the CHASE CHAMPIONSHIPS to end my year," Coetzer said. "With the Top 16 players in the world in New York, it will be interesting to see what happens. I think that I can beat anyone on any given day and I can be beaten by anyone on any given day. You will definitely see some competitve tennis throughout the week.” “It was so nice coming up to New York for a couple of days and not playing in a tournament. It was nice to have time to enjoy New York. I’m going to do this more often!"

Masters of Champions, Frankfurt (round robin play; through Dec. 7)

2R Group 1: Martina Hingis def. Amanda Coetzer, 6-1, 6-2

1R Group 1: Amanda Coetzer def. Anke Huber, 6-3, 6-4