Eastbourne Women's Finale Shaping up as a Family Affair

Published June 24th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

It will be a family affair Saturday as a pair of married women clash in Saturday's finale at the $535,000 Eastbourne tournament - with both competitors coached by their doting husbands. 

Belgian Dominique Van Roost will take on Number six Julie Halard-Decugis of France for the title at Devonshire Park as the Wimbledon tune-up period reaches its climax with the grass-court Grand Slam starting Monday. 

The fifth seeded Van Roost triumphed in a tennis tussle of the Low Countries, defeating Luxembourg's Anne Kremer 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. 

Halard-Decugis also needed three sets to overcome American Chanda Rubin 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. 

Their showdown will be the first "married ladies" final of the season on the Tour. 

Van Roost has been riding a competitive high after knocking top seed Lindsay Davenport out 24 hours earlier. The Belgian recovered smoothly from a set and 4-2 down to construct the win. 

Halard-Decugis followed up on her quarterfinals upset of compatriot and last year's finalist Nathalie Tauziat with her win over Rubin.  

After the pair squared the match, Halard-Decugis reached 4-1, but had to fight through for her victory as Rubin bounded back. 

The European broke the American in the final game for victory.  

The European, playing for the first time here since 1991, broke the American in the final game for victory in the windy wintery conditions which pass for summer in Britain at this time of year. 

The tournament, which featured the Wimbledon champion Davenport and Russian draw-card Anna Kournikova, instantly lost luster Thursday when all four leading seeds were eliminated. 

This week has been the career-best for world number 16 Van Roost, who has won four minor titles. "Anne played very well for a set-and-a-half," said the winner. 

"I think it was her best tennis. I'm very happy to have won and reached another final." 

Van Roost powered back smoothly from her difficult predicament in the second set. 

"At 2-4 in the second, I was going for my shots," she said. "I thought that her level dropped a bit, and she seemed to get tired in the third." 

The deciding set proved to be a watershed for Van Roost, who broke Kremer three times and wrapped up victory on the first of two match points with a cross-court passing winner – (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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