Published September 02, 2010 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Eighteen-year-old Beatrice Capra continued her unlikely run at the Open on Thursday, reaching the third round with a hard-fought 75 26 63 upset victory against No.18 seed Aravane Rezai.
Playing in her first Grand Slam - in fact, playing her first main draw of a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour-level event - Capra beat Karolina Sprem in the first round, 61 63, then won a nail-biter against Rezai on Thursday afternoon, using her big backhand to draw 49 unforced errors from the hard-hitting Frenchwoman.
"I knew she was a really tough player. I had a good win in the first round, which gave me a lot of confidence, and to be able to compete with Rezai today gave me more confidence," Capra said. "The crowd was awesome today. They really got me through. When I was down 4-2 in the first set, I thought it was going to go downhill. But they supported me and really helped me today."
Capra won the US Open wildcard play-off tournament to get into the main draw; in fact, she is still signed up for the juniors: "I've been playing mostly junior tournaments the entire year. I've played a couple of pro circult events and done okay, but it's been mainly juniors. I played a couple of WTA events this year but lost first round in qualies in all of them. I really earned the wildcard, instead of them just giving me one. Every time I've just been a wildcard, I never do well. Playing some of the tougher players in the play-off helped me a lot."
Capra says Melanie Oudin's run to the quarterfinals last year helped inspire her: "I watched every second of it," she said. "I was so happy for her. I had played here a year before, and then she was getting to the quarters of a Grand Slam. It was just unbelievable. She's pushed all the Americans to do better."
Next for Capra could be No.14 seed Maria Sharapova, if she's able to beat Iveta Benesova at night. "I'm really excited," Capra said. "She's just such a tough competitor. When I was younger I used to look up to her. She always goes for her shots and you can never tell any of her emotions. That really inspired me. I also like to think I'm mentally tough, too."
World No.371 Capra is the lowest-ranked player to reach the third round of the US Open since a No.1102-ranked Bea Bealik did the same in 2002 (excluding an unranked Kim Clijsters, who went all the way to the title last year).