Beatrice Capra Eyes Tennis Future at U.S. Open

Beatrice Capra of the United States returns a shot against Maria Sharapova of Russia during the women's singles match on day six of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 4, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Getty Images
The dreams of an up-and-coming American girl ran into the reality of a former No. 1 at the U.S. Open Saturday. Complete Tennis Coverage

The results were what you might call a "teachable moment," CBS News Correspondent Tony Guida reports, but the precocious young woman, Beatrice Capra of Ellicott City, Md., an 18-year-old amateur, is this year's answer to what the future of women's tennis in this country might look like.

"Beatrice is without a doubt one of our up-and-comers," U.S. Tennis Association President Lucy Garvin said.

Capra is ranked 371st, the Siberia of tennis. But instead of laboring in the frozen tundra, Capra is enjoying the stimulating sunshine of her finest tennis week.

"You know it's just unreal, and I'm so excited I was able to get through today," Capra said Saturday.

Capra fought her way into the U.S. Open by winning a wildcard slot. She won her 1st-round match then catapulted to instant stardom in the 2nd round, upsetting the open's 18th-seed Aravane Rezai.

Tennis fans have seen this movie before. Just last year, 17-year-old Melanie Oudin sprinkled stardust all over the tournament, making it to the quarterfinals, beating Maria Sharapova along the way.

But youthful ambition is often no match for experience.

Capra's attempt to reach the top of women's tennis is tough but now comes word that the best are getting older. The average age of the women in the top 10 spots is 26, a sea change from the late 1990s when Martina Hingis turned pro at 14 and reached the No. 1 ranking fewer than three years later.

Lindsay Davenport broke into the top 20 by the time she was 17, but Capra wasn't thinking about age Saturday. She was thinking that to reach the next level she had to get past Sharapova, now 23. It didn't go well.

With buffeting winds and Sharapova's punishing ground strokes, Capra was beaten 6-love, 6-love. In tennis they call it a double bagel.

"I got double bageled, but now I know what I need to work on," Capra said after Saturday's match.

A former tour player concurred.

"She's got a lot to take away from this event from how she won her matches and how she lost today," Katrina Adams, a former tennis pro, said Saturday.

Capra is planning to spend the next year playing professional tournaments to raise her skills. She hopes to be back at the open next year.