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Majoli's title defense a brief one

Majoli's title defense a brief one
By DAVID CARAVIELLO
April 10 2003
The Post and Courier

At times, she would lean on her racket, trying to catch her breath. Iva Majoli wanted to win her second-round match in the Family Circle Cup -- but her body wouldn't let her.

The event's defending champion made an early exit Wednesday, falling to No. 13 seed Elena Dementieva 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 at Daniel Island. The unseeded Majoli won the first set and led 4-3 in the second before fatigue and Dementieva's game turned the tide.

"It is a disappointment, of course," said Majoli, who last year became the lowest-ranked player ever to win a WTA Tier I event. "Every time you lose, it's a little bit disappointing, especially when you're defending champion. I thought I played really well the first two sets. They were very long sets, and the points were very long. I was always attacking, and I used so much energy."

Dementieva kept Majoli on the run, forcing the Croatian to make soft return shots that were often easy to put away. The 21-year-old Russian ran out to a 4-0 lead in the final set before clinching the match and setting up a third-round showdown with No. 6 seed Jelena Dokic.

"In the third set, I wanted it, but my body just couldn't go anymore," Majoli said. "It was tough after the second-set loss. Everything, body, mentally, everything like couldn't get together."

The loss helped Majoli realize that she needs to get in better shape to win three-set matches against younger players like Dementieva.

"I could tell she was in very good shape," Majoli said. "She could still go on. I need to improve on that. Now I have some time to work on that a little more, to run. And hopefully in a couple of weeks, we'll see some progress."

KOURNIKOVA RETIRES

Fan favorite Anna Kournikova retired in the second set of her first-round match against two-time Family Circle Cup champion Conchita Martinez because of a strained left adductor muscle.

Kournikova led the match 2-0 in the first set when it was suspended Tuesday afternoon because of rain. After losing the first set 6-4 on Wednesday, she left the court for about 10 minutes and returned with a wrap around her left thigh.

"It was cold out there, and I felt a sharp pain in my leg," she said. "At the 4-all game (in the first set), I went wide for a ball and felt something in my leg. It felt getting tighter and tighter. At 5-4, I got to the point where I had difficulty moving, then called the trainer."

Kournikova played two games in the second set before retiring with the score tied 1-1. Martinez advanced to a second-round match scheduled for later Wednesday against Tathiana Garbin of Italy.

MARTINA STILL HAS IT

Martina Navratilova and teammate Alicia Molik knocked off Jennifer Embry and Renata Voracova 6-3, 6-2 in a first-round doubles match.

At age 46, Navratilova competes in a limited number of events, but she has a fondness for the Family Circle Cup.

She has won four singles and seven doubles titles in the event dating back to her 1978 doubles victory with Billie Jean King.

In all, she has won a record 167 singles championships, 166 doubles titles and $20.5 million in prize money.

Navratilova, who was ranked No. 1 in singles for 331 weeks, won the doubles title at Madrid last year, becoming the oldest player to win a singles or doubles title on the tour.

OUT OF LUCK

Lucky loser Maureen Drake ran out of luck -- and patience -- Wednesday in a 6-1, 6-4 second-round loss to 16th-seeded Clarisa Fernandez.

The fiery Drake lost her cool during the last few minutes of the match, screaming "Every single time!" and muttering a disgusted "Whatever, whatever," after missing shots.

She told a linesman "Nice call" after sailing a shot about 5 feet long.

The 32-year-old Canadian threw her racquet toward the net after going down 4-5 in the final set, and launched the ball as far as she could after losing the final point. She finished her outburst by repeatedly hitting her gear bag with her racquet before packing up and leaving.
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