Pierce returns to form of old
01 January 2003
Out of the big time since injury cut her year short in August, Mary Pierce eased herself back with a doubles win on the opening day of the ASB Classic women's tennis tournament in Auckland on Monday.
She stepped up to another level in the singles yesterday and produced more of the magic which has, for three times since she turned professional in 1989, seen her ranked No 3 on the WTA circuit.
Faced for the first time by German No 4 and the world's 81st-ranked player (29 lower than Pierce) Angelika Roesch Pierce brought, if not her full bag of tricks to the ASB Tennis Centre, a fair share of them.
In front of a packed house, one reminiscent of the crowds who flocked to watch Anna Kournikova a year ago, Pierce showed she means business against a player who refused to hand over any point without a fight.
Showing a refreshing attitude, no histrionics but lots of smiles, Pierce was relentless.
Just to remind her 25-year-old opponent of just how good she can be, Pierce unleashed some fearsome crosscourt backhands, pinpoint smashes and volleys which would have any player struggling.
Pierce, happy enough to get the new season under way in style, said it was a good workout against a player she said had played well.
"I'm happy where I'm at," said 27-year-old Pierce.
"I feel really happy about my game. I got a little frustrated at times with the sun but as the game went on, I was able to pick up the pace and intensity."
Of her seemingly happy-go-lucky on-court attitude, Pierce said: "I like to have fun in whatever I do. I like to enjoy every day."
That enjoyment might come under some pressure today however as she must play doubles partner and tournament fifth seed Paola Suarez during the day and then join her new found Argentine mate in an evening doubles against Russians Alina Hopkins and Tatiana Panova.
ON FORM: Mary Pierce of France in action yesterday at the ASB Classic in Auckland during her first round match against Angelika Roesch of Germany. Pierce won in straight sets.