Sachie Ishizu claims the singles title in Rancho Mirage.
© Hamish Blair/Getty Images
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – In a finals match featuring several shifts of momentum, Sachie Ishizu of Japan held off a late rally from Julie Coin of France to claim the singles title at the Childhelp Desert Classic. Ishizu beat Coin, 6-3, 7-6 (3), for the championship.
Coin jumped out to an early 3-1 lead to start the match, but the 20-year-old Ishizu responded by winning five consecutive games to secure the first set.
After Ishizu took an early 1-0 lead in the second set, Coin received a medical timeout due to a right wrist injury and nearly retired from the match. Coin continued on but was clearly not at full strength, and Ishizu took advantage, jumping out to a 5-1 lead.
Coin battled back to force a tiebreak and led, 3-2, in the breaker before Ishizu won five consecutive points to seal the championship.
"I’m very, very happy that I won this tournament, and I’m very thankful for the audience," Ishizu said through a translator. "Winning this means I get to play in other tournaments, so I’m very excited for that opportunity."
Coin, most famously known for knocking off No. 1 seed Ana Ivanovic in the second round of the 2008 US Open, was both disappointed and frustrated with her wrist injury but credited Ishizu for her strong play.
"She hit the ball really fast, and it was hard to control," Coin said. "I thought I could come back, but she took control in the end."
The 30-year-old Frenchwoman, who reached a career-high WTA singles ranking of No. 60 in 2009, said the wrist began hurting on Saturday and acted up during warm-ups for the final.
"I almost stopped the match, but I was hoping if I kept playing the pain would go away," Coin said. "In the second set, I was just trying to get it back and play simple, and Ishizu made a lot of unforced errors, which allowed me to get back into the match. But in the end I came up short. Right now I’m sad, but overall it was a good tournament for me, and I hope I can play in nearby Indian Wells at the BNP Paribas Open next month."
Ishizu, who currently lives in San Diego and trains at the Barnes Tennis Academy, won her 10th ITF title and received an exemption to play at the Rancho Sante Fe tournament being held this week. She entered the Childhelp Desert Classic ranked No. 371 on the WTA Tour.
Childhelp Merv Griffin Village provides a home for 80-100 children who have been severely abused or abandoned by their parents. Several of the participants in the event visited the facility and conducted a tennis clinic for the children.
For information on contributions to Childhelp, email to EKuhle@aol.com