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tennisIlove09
May 15th, 2003, 12:31 AM
Rome Defeat Hurts for 10th Seed Seles
Wed May 14, 2003 03:48 PM ET





By James Eve
ROME (Reuters) - Monica Seles faces a battle to be fit for the French Open later this month after she retired from her second-round match against Nadia Petrova at the Rome Masters on Wednesday with a recurrent foot injury.

The 10th seed, who has already pulled out of tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston this year, had lost the first set 6-3 to the Russian and was struggling at 4-1 down in the second when she retired.

Her demise contrasted with easy wins for second-seed Kim Clijsters, fourth-seed Amelie Mauresmo and fifth seed Jennifer Capriati.

Elsewhere, four-time former champion Conchita Martinez followed up her first-round win over Jelena Dokic with a 6-4 6-3 victory against Emmanuelle Gagliardi to set up a last 16 clash with seventh-seeded Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.

Seles, who has been dogged by pain in the arch of her right foot for more than a year, never found her rhythm against Petrova, dropping serve in the opening game to lose the first set in 28 minutes.

She then committed a series of unforced errors to lose 12 of the first 13 points in the second to allow Petrova to race to a 3-0 lead and then retired two games later.

"Today I tried, but, you know, I can't run to the level that I need to run if I want to win a match," she told reporters afterwards. "It would take at least six to nine months to cure this.

"(Anna) Kournikova had it and she had to have surgery. It's one of those problems that's pretty serious.

"I just don't feel at this stage in my career I want to have surgery and be off nine months and come back to the world of tennis.

"If it can get better, I'll take a little bit more time off. If it's not, then I have to make a decision to stop."

Seles said she still planned to be at Roland Garros at the end of the month, though she would only know for certain after treatment had taken effect in 10 days' time.

"It's really disappointing. There are days it feels fine and there are days that it's so painful.

"That's why I can't make a decision. Definitely since February there have been more days of pain than less, and that's what I have to take into consideration."

Petrova will meet Capriati in the third round after the fifth seed cruised past Colombia's Fabiola Zuluaga 6-3 6-4.

Belgium's Clijsters swept aside Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 6-1 6-0, while Mauresmo beat 19-year-old Lina Krasnoroutskaya of Russia 6-2 7-6 to also advance.