Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Challenger Champion Ashley Harkleroad

Throughout the week a USTA pro circuit women's challenger tournament took place on the outside courts. I watched only snippets of play but happened to observe both women's semis on Saturday. The afternoon winner was slender Ashley Harkleroad, 20, who had been here with the Fed Cup team several years ago. Harkleroad showed excellent court movement, good ball control, and sound court sense. The evening winner was Russian player Olga Poutchkova, 17, who produced severe rocketry, especially off her two-handed backhand. The sum of her backswing and follow-through must exceed 360 degrees. Ashley defeated Olga in their late-Sunday final by comfortable scores.

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