Pierce is back
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Today Mary Pierce made a much-awaited return to the tournament that played host to her last Grand Slam victory.
The Frenchwoman advanced to the second round with a tough straight set victory over Irina Selyutina of Kazakhstan 7-5 7-5 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Pierce, now ranked No128, hadn't been back to Roland Garros since her emotional triumph over Spaniard Conchita Martinez in the 2000 final, her second Grand Slam title.
Last year she was forced to skip this event due to a back injury that kept her away from the circuit for most of the season. This year she owes her presence in the main draw to a wildcard awarded to her by the tournament committee.
"I love playing here," said Pierce who was cheered loudly by the public throughout the match, despite notching up an ugly 51 unforced errors. Decked out in a risqué black two-piece outfit that featured a top with see-through panels, Pierce signed many autographs at the end of the match and left the court to rousing applause.
"It's very special to me. I haven't played here in two years and I really missed it," she said.
Pierce's next opponent will be Cristina Torrens Valero, who was an easy winner over Magdalena Grzybowska.
Pierce is making her 12th appearance at Roland Garros.
In 2000 Pierce became the first Frenchwoman since Francoise Durr in 1967 to win the singles title.
Pierce has never been beaten in the first round here.
Pierce converted three of seven break point opportunities.
Pierce hit 25 winners.
Selyutina is making her Roland Garros main draw debut.
This is the first time Selyutina has made the main draw of a Grand Slam event.
Selyutina made 42 unforced errors to Pierce's 51.