Rancho Mirage, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2013) – In a finals match featuring several ups and downs, Sachie Ishizu of Japan held off a late rally from Julie Coin of France to win 6-3, 7-6(3) and claim the Childhelp Desert Classic championship on Sunday at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort.
After Coin jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, the 20-year-old Ishizu responded with a bang 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 but continued on. With Coin clearly not at full strength, Ishizu took advantage and jumped out to a 5-1 lead, however Coin found her groove again and won five of the next six games to force the tiebreak. After Coin built a 3-2 tiebreak lead, Ishizu won five consecutive tiebreak 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. “In the end 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 immediately 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 that 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.
Main Draw Singles
Sachie Ishizu (JPN) def. Julie Coin (FRA)  6-3, 7-6(3).