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Pierce barley wins in return at Acura Classic (Article)
Pierce barely wins in return at Acura Classic
August 2, 2006
By Paul Levine SportsTicker Contributing Writer
CARLSBAD, California (Ticker) - After a lengthy rest, Mary Pierce passed her first test - barely.
The defending champion needed more than 2 1/2 hours to squeak past unheralded Austrian Sybille Bammer, 6-1, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-4) on Wednesday and advance to the third round of the $1.34 million Acura Classic.
Pierce, 31, returned to the court after going through a lengthy rehabilitation to repair a torn tendon in her right foot suffered in the finals of the French Indoors in mid-February.
Fully rested, relaxed and ready, Pierce initially showed little effects of the layoff. Utilizing her punishing ground game, the two-time Grand Slam champion rolled through the Bammer in the opening set.
However, Pierce was pushed hard by the 26-year-old blonde lefthander in the next two sets. After gaining a service break to forge a 5-5 tie in the second set, Pierce held three match points in the tiebreaker but squandered all of them with unforced errors.
In the third set, the 46th-ranked Bammer served for the match at 5-4 but was broken by Pierce. In the ensuing tiebreaker, Pierce snapped a 4-4 tie by taking the next three points.
Pierce joined four other seeds who advanced to the third round earlier in the day under hot steamy conditions at the La Costa Hotel and Spa.
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