Helicopter Fails to Blow Woodroffe off Course; she Will Battle Capriati in WTA

Published June 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

 

Lorna Woodroffe survived an injury scare and, more bizarrely, the distraction of a helicopter landing, to earn a second-round meeting with American star Jennifer Capriati in the WTA event in Birmingham, England on Monday. 

The 23-year-old British number six beat experienced Australian Rachel McQuillan 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in a tightly-competitive match on an outside court despite pulling a hamstring soon after the start and later losing her first-set lead. 

She said, "The hamstring is OK now. Once I'd had a bit of treatment, it got better but the helicopter thing was very strange. 

"I saw it coming down and just thought I had better serve quickly because it was windy enough already out there and the whirring blades would make it even windier. 

"I lost the second set then, but I was determined to battle on and got a lucky break to win it in the third."  

From 5-2 up in the first, Woodroffe dropped her service twice in a row, clearly hampered by the leg injury, but recovered well to go a set up with a flashing forehand volley. 

Then, when she was serving to save the second set, the helicopter landed just 50 yards away in a nearby field. 

McQuillan promptly leveled the match but all ended well for the British girl as Woodroffe snatched a vital break at 4-3 in the decider and served out for victory. 

Now she clashes with world number 19 Capriati who, at the age of 24, is rebuilding her career from a wild-child reputation, which followed arrests for drugs and shoplifting offences in her teens. 

Woodroffe said: "It is a big match for me and I'm looking forward to it now, but I honestly didn't know beforehand that a win would put me up against Capriati, but I was told she was here watching me" - (AFP)

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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