Beatrice Capra's wonderful run at the U.S. Open ends in third round

18-year-old Ellicott City native loses to Maria Sharapova, 6-0, 6-0

September 04, 2010|By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun

Ellicott City's Beatrice Capra has been coping with firsts all week and handling them: She won a wildcard entry into the U.S. Open to claim her first main-draw spot in a Grand Slam tournament and then breezed through her first two matches beating two women ranked inside the Top 100, including one inside the Top 20.

But Saturday afternoon in the Open's third round a handful of firsts were just too many for the 18-year-old.

Playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium's Center Court for the first time against No. 14 seed and past Open champion Maria Sharapova in winds of approximately 25 mph, Capra went down, 6-0, 6-0.

It was Sharapova's first career shutout at a Grand Slam and it was the first double-0 score in the third round of the Open since 1984 when Martina Navratilova beat Jennifer Mundel, 6-0, 6-0.

Still, Capra was smiling when she entered the post-match interview room.

"It's been a really great experience," said the former McDonogh student, who has spent the last three years training in Florida. "It's nothing but positives for me. I beat a top-20 player in the world. I had a really good first round.

"I mean, playing against Maria in Arthur Ashe, yeah, I'd like to do better, but, you know, that was amazing."

Capra said earlier Sharapova had been the player she looked up to when she was younger because of her mental toughness. Sharapova demonstrated that toughness Saturday while coping with the wind, a player she had never seen before and putting aside any feelings of compassion during the match that might have allowed Capra to win a game.

Capra had a game point on the opening game of the first set but could not close it out and she could not take advantage of five break point opportunities.

Sharapova called the conditions "the toughest conditions you're going to get" and CBS broadcaster Dick Enberg noted during the telecast, "It's a shame. You really don't know what her game is in these conditions."

But with hats, towels and paper flying around the court causing multiple lets in the middle of points, Sharapova's focus did not waver.

"I wanted to make sure I was concentrated and consistent," she said, noting she had been upset by then-17-year-old Melanie Oudin at last year's Open. "Someone coming up, they're eager and dangerous. My experience definitely helped.

"It's unfortunate that she had to come out first time on Ashe and be in those types of conditions."

Asked if there was a point in the match where she felt "any mercy" for Capra, Sharapova was honest.

"I don't think about the score," she said. "I just think about winning the next point."

Which is exactly why Capra admires her. And Saturday Capra was not looking for gifts or excuses.

"Those were the roughest conditions I've ever played in," she said. "But I've been double bageled before. It's nothing new. But you know, it was actually earlier this year and that girl was ranked outside the Top 100. Now, I've worked my way through and I'm beating Top 100 players.

"So, yeah, I got double bageled, but now I know what I need to work on to compete at that level — my serve, my forehand and staying in the rallies longer. You can't give away easy mistakes to these players. You have to make them work for every point and, yes, she definitely overpowered me, but I just thought I made a lot of errors today."

Capra said she plans to play more pro tournaments to try to improve her ranking and then, probably, go to Duke next fall.

"Even if I just go to a semester of college and leave, I'm always be able to go back," she said. "So I think that's definitely a plus."

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