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Russian Teen Leaves Her Worries Behind

Times Staff Writer

She could have folded after losing the first set, tucked away in the humid hinterlands at the U.S. Open, competing for fan attention with a match between Mario Ancic and Hyung-Taik Lee one court over.

Almost no one would have been surprised, considering that earlier this month, Russian teenager Evgenia Linetskaya allegedly had an altercation with her father during a tournament in Carlsbad, after which he was arrested on suspicion of battery and taken to jail in Vista. He later was released on bond.

Though sources said she required stitches for a cut in the back of her head, the 18-year-old did not want authorities to pursue the case, according to police.

She lost in the first round in Carson, retired from her first match at her next tournament in Toronto, then pulled out of last week’s tour stop in New Haven, Conn.

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Linetskaya pulled herself together here Tuesday in the U.S. Open, however, rallying against Nuria Llagostera Vives of Spain and winning the first-round match, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. It was her first victory since early June in Birmingham, England.

“Getting close, but still not close. I’m feeling great,” said Linetskaya, who will next play Shinobu Asagoe of Japan. “It’s going great, just not at the top of my game. It’s never actually been [there]. I know I can do much more.”

Linetskaya declined to comment on the incident with her father but confirmed that she had parted ways with her coach, George Akopian, after the Acura Classic in Carlsbad.

The whereabouts of her father, listed as Simon Linetsky in the WTA Tour media guide, remain unknown, but he was not issued a credential for the U.S. Open.

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“He was my manager, not a coach,” she said.

Father and daughter are said not to be in contact and Linetskaya seemed emotional talking about her mother, Maria, back home in Russia, saying they had talked last week.

Linetskaya also spoke of playing without a coach.

“Well, it’s not that easy,” she said. " ... I feel right now, it’s better for me. Just to play and get pleasure. Relax. I like it. I just like playing on the court. I’m just not listening to anything. I’m just doing what I like.”

Linetskaya had started the year well, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and later beating Amelie Mauresmo at Indian Wells, where she talked about her fondness for writing poetry.

And lately?

“Now I’ve been stopping,” she said. “Too much things to think about. No time for poetry.”


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