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tennisIlove09
Apr 17th, 2003, 08:21 AM
Seeds remain undefeated
Record 14 have made it through
April 17 2003
The Florida Times Union

AMELIA ISLAND -- Nathalie Dechy had perhaps the best explanation for the unusual results at the Bausch & Lomb Championships through the first two rounds.

Not a single seeded player has lost, and Marlene Weingartner is the only non-seeded player still alive through yesterday's afternoon matches. Even with No. 14 seed Clarisa Fernandez's withdrawal last night because of a sprained left wrist, the tournament had tied a record with 14 seeded players remaining entering the Round of 16. The remaining seed, Conchita Martinez, withdrew Monday.

Dechy's guess?

"Tennis is so weird," she said. "You don't know what you can expect."

Certainly, no one expected every seed -- No. 9 Meghann Shaughnessy beat Virginia Ruano Pasqual last night -- to be alive at this point, but that's where the field stands after No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne, No. 5 Jelena Dokic, No. 6 Monica Seles, No. 7 Patty Schnyder, No. 10 Elena Dementieva, No. 11 Dechy and No. 15 Paola Suarez won yesterday.

Martinez's replacement, Marlene Weingartner, kept that spot in the bracket alive by beating Tathiana Garbin on Tuesday. Weingartner plays No. 2 Lindsay Davenport today.

"It's a strong field," said Dokic, one of four players who survived three-set scares yesterday. "Some of us had pretty easy matches to get through, some didn't. But usually the seeds should come through."

Usually, but not to the extent they have in this tournament. Thirteen seeds remained at the same point in 1992 and 1990, and 11 in 1994, 1997-99 and 2001.

There were several close calls, however. Dechy needed 2 hours and 5 minutes and a rally from a 5-3 deficit in the final set to beat Maria Vento-Kabchi 7-5, 4-6, 7-5. Suarez needed more than two hours to beat Elena Likhovtseva 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. The victory was her first against Likhovtseva in five meetings.

Dokic overcame impatience and beat Tina Pisnik 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. She needed 24 minutes to win the third set. Seles battled a stiff neck and rallied to beat Anca Barna 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

"I never pay attention to it (the seeding) very much, because even if it's an unseeded player and she beats the seed, that means that she's playing well," Dechy said. "I look at my opponent and not her ranking, but I think that it shows that it's a pretty good draw and all the high-ranking players are playing really well right now on clay."

Dechy trailed 3-5 in the third set, held serve twice and broke Vento-Kabchi once to win the match and set up a match with Seles today.

"She played really well and I never played her before, and I didn't know what to expect," Dechy said. "I started to play my best tennis when I was down 5-3 in the final set, so it was a little bit late -- not too late, thankfully. Before I was having some trouble finding my rhythm, trying to move well on the court."

Seles had trouble moving her neck. The two-time champion woke up Tuesday morning with a stiff neck, and despite receiving treatment went to bed that night not sure if she would be able to play yesterday. She took muscle relaxers and received treatment before and during the match.

"I was lucky that [Tuesday] I wasn't scheduled to play, and that [yesterday] it really improved," Seles said. "I took a couple of muscle relaxers and they worked tons on it and at least I was functioning. Hopefully by (today) it will be gone."

Dokic nearly blew her match against Pisnik. She had a match point up 5-2 in the second set, but Pisnik rallied to win the next five games and force a third set. Dokic said she rushed in the second set, but then settled down in the third.

"I was a little bit impatient," Dokic said. "I think I wanted to finish it too quickly, and that's where I got in trouble. I started to make some errors and then it just turned around in a second. But I got my focus back again in the third."

King Aaron
Apr 17th, 2003, 04:46 PM
Thanks :)