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WhatTheDeuce
Apr 16th, 2003, 09:39 PM
By EDDIE PELLS

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (AP) - Her injured foot was the least of the worries for Monica Seles. She also had a nasty crick in her neck that almost ended her comeback before it began.

In her first match after a seven-week layoff, Seles struggled to defeat Anca Barna 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 at the Bausch & Lomb Championships on Wednesday.

This week was supposed to be an opportunity for the sixth-seeded Seles to play on the cushy, green clay at Amelia Island and see how her left foot would respond after a stress fracture in February.

She almost withdrew, however, when she slept weird on her neck Monday night and it seized up on her the next morning. She was able to play because the draw was favorable, and she didn't have her first match until Wednesday.

"I really couldn't move it at all," Seles said. "I couldn't practice, nothing. It was one of those things where you're stuck. You can't look to the left or right."

True to her word, she barely moved her neck during the winner's news conference. Before that, in the first set of her match, she needed a timeout for a trainer to come to the court and massage out some of the pain.

Seles said she felt lucky to win that close tiebreaker - "Either player can win at 5-all," she said - and is glad she'll get some more chances to test the foot before the meat of the clay-court season begins. The French Open starts May 26.

"Instead of going over to Europe and saying, 'Gee, my foot is not doing too good,' I really enjoy Amelia Island, so I thought this would be the perfect combination," Seles said. "I just really came down here wanting to get some matches and have a good time."

Seles, who won here in 1999 and 2000, will play a third-round match Thursday against 10th-seeded Nathalie Dechy, who defeated Maria Vento-Kabchi 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.

Coming off her victory last week at the Family Circle Cup, top-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne opened play here Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Dally Randriantefy.

Fifth-seeded Jelena Dokic defeated Tina Pisnik, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1; seventh-seeded Patty Schnyder defeated Maja Matevzic, 6-1, 4-1, retired; tenth-seeded Elena Dementieva beat Lina Krasnoroustskaya, 6-1, 7-5 and 15th-seeded Paola Suarez beat Elena Likhovtseva, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Through 2˝ days, no seeded player has lost.

disposablehero
Apr 16th, 2003, 09:43 PM
At this point I would gladly settle for a neck injury that will linger for 2 or 3 days.

Kart
Apr 16th, 2003, 09:45 PM
So how's her foot then ?

WhatTheDeuce
Apr 16th, 2003, 09:48 PM
So how's her foot then ?
I guess it is okay if she's playing and dint talk about it much....the neck should heal fast....im mostly worried about her game :eek: hopefully she can shake off the rust in time...

earthcrystal
Apr 16th, 2003, 10:03 PM
"I just really came down here wanting to get some matches and have a good time."

Good enough for her, good enough for me.

My only advice: Take your own pillow with you when you travel. I do. ;)

King Lindsay
Apr 16th, 2003, 10:16 PM
Dechy might be tough....

earthcrystal
Apr 16th, 2003, 10:53 PM
Dechy might be tough....
While I like Nathalie, her win over Maria V-B came with 37 winners BUT 75 unforced errors. So, Unless Monica's still very "cricky" - I don't think that kind of play will get it done. ;)

King Lindsay
Apr 16th, 2003, 11:17 PM
I think Monica will be very "cricky"!

I don't know if Dechy has the goods to beat her, but it could certainly be a tough match. She took Justine to three sets last week.

auntie janie
Apr 16th, 2003, 11:20 PM
That explains a lot! Thanks for posting that, monicAnna. :)

rfs1999
Apr 17th, 2003, 01:38 AM
Go Monica!

SM
Apr 17th, 2003, 09:09 AM
great fight by Monica! She finished the match well 6-3 in the 3rd set which is what matters in the end :)