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View Full Version : LMAO! MARY PIERCE is back and has turned into a serve and volleyer on CLAY!!!!


treufreund
Apr 3rd, 2002, 03:59 AM
This article was on ESPN.com. Do you think this person just knows nothing about tennis or is there something about Mary? Did she change her game and become a serve and volleyer. I seriously doubt that but that would be really funny if she did. Especially in her first comeback match on clay against a fast Ai Sugiyama.



Tuesday, April 2
*
Pierce, Shaughnessy advance in Sarasota
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Associated Press
SARASOTA -- Mary Pierce, playing her first match since the Australian Open, beat seventh-seed Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round of the $140,000 Sarasota Open on Tuesday.


Pierce, a Sarasota resident, will face the winner of Wednesday's match between Alina Jidkova and Anastasia Myskina in the second round.


The 27-year-old Pierce, the 1995 Australian Open champion and 2000 French Open winner who was sidelined much of last year with back injuries, pulled out of the first round of the Australian Open in January because of an abdominal strain.


Pierce showed no lingering effects of the injury as she overpowered Sugiyama with her serve-and-volley game and displayed excellent court coverage on the green clay of the Meadows Country Club.


"I feel when I'm playing my game, hitting the ball, playing aggressive and moving forward, it gives me a real good chance to do well," Pierce said.


In other first-round matches Tuesday, second-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy rallied from a loss in the first set to beat Jennifer Hopkins 3-6, 7-5, 7-5; Janette Husarova beat third-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-4, 6-1; Virginia Ruano Pascual defeated fifth-seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1, 6-3; and No. 10 seed Tatiana Panova dispatched Jill Craybas 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.


Also, Gala Leon Garcia outlasted Iva Majoli 6-3, 6-7, 6-4; Virginie Razzano beat Nathalie Dechy 6-3, 6-4 and Paola Suarez beat Marissa Irvin 6-2, 6-0.

treufreund
Apr 3rd, 2002, 04:00 AM
I just noticed that in her quote she does talk about "moving forward" so maybe she is finishing more points off at the net which is great but that is not the same as serving and volleying.:rolleyes:

Fingon
Apr 3rd, 2002, 04:22 AM
Originally posted by treufreund


Pierce showed no lingering effects of the injury as she overpowered Sugiyama with her serve-and-volley game and displayed excellent court coverage on the green clay of the Meadows Country Club.




Mary doesn't volley even in doubles :rolleyes:

Great court coverage?, didn't they mention that Mary won even though she can't hit the ball hard? and beat a power babe like Sugiyama?:confused:

treufreund
Apr 3rd, 2002, 04:29 AM
Yes despite the fact that Mary loves grass and has never won a title on clay it is amazing that she beat Spaniard clay-court specialist Ai Sugiyama. I guess Mary's quick hands and great footspeed overcame Ai's huge serve. :o ;) LMAO! Even Werthless could write something better.

Experimentee
Apr 3rd, 2002, 06:07 AM
I was confused when i read that too...since when was mary a serve volleyer? And why would she do it on clay? Either this person knows nothing about tennis or pierce is trying to finish the points off quicker not wanting to aggravate her injury.

treufreund
Apr 3rd, 2002, 09:04 AM
Against scrappy Ai (who has beaten mary before at the US Open on hard courts) Mary needs to be aggressive and come forward to the net but I think she is just finishing points off at the net. I doubt that she is serving and immediately rushing to the net as does a serve and volleyer.

Robbie.
Apr 3rd, 2002, 10:14 AM
This is yet another example of a tennis journalist who has no clue what they are talking about. mary wouldn't have served volleyed, yes definitely moved into the court and taken the chance on shortballs to come to the net, but not serve and volleyed.

I remember a couple of years ago where I read that Amanda Coetzer played a serve and volley game in a similar context to this article :eek: LMAO...sometimes you wonder where these journalists come from :rolleyes:

MaRKy MaRk
Apr 3rd, 2002, 10:23 AM
Stupid journalist!

Aren't they made to study the sport of tennis before writing articles about it?!?!?

Beige
Apr 3rd, 2002, 12:00 PM
Obviously the writer is a writer first and tennis buff second. That said, I'm not surprised Mary came in a lot because she was doing that more and more in recent years. In fact, in the late 90's, she ventured to the net (serving and volleying on occasion) more than many of the Big Babes will in their careers combined. Welcome back, Mary! :)

Rollo
Apr 3rd, 2002, 12:17 PM
LOL@Fingon:)

Sounds like some hack journalist who knows zippo about tennis needed a "vacation assignment" in the Florida sun. AND stole some of Beige's beer;)

I expect tomorrow we'll read that Mary was turning triple axles on the clay:rolleyes:

Scotso
Apr 3rd, 2002, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by Fingon


Mary doesn't volley even in doubles :rolleyes:

Great court coverage?, didn't they mention that Mary won even though she can't hit the ball hard? and beat a power babe like Sugiyama?:confused:

I hope you're choking about the volleying comment.

saby
Apr 3rd, 2002, 01:24 PM
Did somebody tell to this journalist that alchool is not good.

Did Mary really won this match?

He doesn't know "serve and volley" or maybe he wasn't on the good court.

Does he knows how Mary looks likes?

Maybe I can help, listen to me and stop drinking !!

Dear journalist, Mary is tall with blond hair, blue eyes, euh.....oh yes she's french but she has a cute american accent when she speaks french and if with this clues you can't recognize her give me a favor take another job !!!

:angel: :angel: :angel:

brickhousesupporter
Apr 3rd, 2002, 01:44 PM
who know if she is now a serve and volleyer. Until i see her play i can not decide if she has a new playing style. Has anyone seen her play at this tournament, maybe you could answer the quandry. If she is serving and volleying more this is a good change in tactics and it is a welcomed addition.

Volcana
Apr 3rd, 2002, 03:05 PM
Did any of YOU see the match?

Do any of YOU actually KNOW what style she played. I, to, have a lot of trouble imagining Mary serve-and-volleying, but so far, I'm seeing a lot of derisive comment, but no facts. A reporter who OSTENSIBLY saw the match made a report. Before trashing it, let's just make sure we have a better source for facts. Like SOMEONE ELSE who saw the match. Do we have any volunteers?

treufreund? Fingon? tennisaddict.? MaRKy MaRk? Beige? Rollo? saby?

Surely if you feel free to insult people you have better facts than they do. Which one of you saw the match?

Scotso
Apr 3rd, 2002, 04:47 PM
Hurley saw it.

Where are you, Hurley?

Beige
Apr 3rd, 2002, 05:30 PM
Volcana, it's an AP Wire report and they've demonstrated over time that while they are quick to get the news out, they do NOT always send the most qualified reporters to cover particular stories. In many cases, if you will, it's the figure skating expert covering the high profile boxing match. They have their little cheat sheet of who's who but they basically wing the rest of it, throwing in a few tennis terms for familiarity and legitimacy.

Fingon
Apr 3rd, 2002, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by Volcana
Did any of YOU see the match?

Do any of YOU actually KNOW what style she played. I, to, have a lot of trouble imagining Mary serve-and-volleying, but so far, I'm seeing a lot of derisive comment, but no facts. A reporter who OSTENSIBLY saw the match made a report. Before trashing it, let's just make sure we have a better source for facts. Like SOMEONE ELSE who saw the match. Do we have any volunteers?

treufreund? Fingon? tennisaddict.? MaRKy MaRk? Beige? Rollo? saby?

Surely if you feel free to insult people you have better facts than they do. Which one of you saw the match?

No Volcana, I didn't see the match, also, I didn't see Mary not flying but I know she can't fly.

If somebody writes a total non-sense, based on what I know from years following tennis, I won't give them the benefit of doubt just because "they saw the match an I didn't"

I could say that there are pigs flying outside my window, are you seeing it? no, I am seeing through my window, it doesn't mean that you have to believe my non-sense just because I can see it and you can't.

Besides, for the record, 90% of tennis writers have no clue whatsover about tennis. I've seen ex tennis players commentating matches I am watching at that very moment and they are talking bullshit, so, why would I believe something extremely unlikely written by a sport journalist in a small tournament. If they don't have good writers for the GSs, canyou imagine what they send for a tier 3? (or 4?)

saby
Apr 3rd, 2002, 06:07 PM
Volcana,

I'm not insulting anyone, just being a little sarcastic :rolleyes:

I didn't saw the match, only few minutes on the news this morning, I didn't see any S'n V, I saw her play the way she did at RG 2000. Not as good as she was but same "way". Maybe a little rusty on some move !!!

Maybe this journalist is right but I doubt, can you imagine Mary plays S'n V a whole match, maybe in few months because she said she wants to improve her tennis but I don't think "in the first match of the year on clay (after a year and half without playing, beside exhibition and AO). She has a game to play on clay why should she change it at this moment. Maybe I'm wrong !!!

Apparently some persons on this board watched the match and they had the same reaction, no S'n V. If we can't trust the people on this board........ Why would they give wrong informations, I have to say that I would not understand, or I'm just to sweet and don't see bad things as my friends always telling me.

If you believe that I insulted this journalist I'm sorry for that and I apolize but I don't think I did and I don't think I'm the worstest person on this board. I never said something bad about one player I'm respecting every players even if I don't like some of them. You can check my posts.

I'm always polite, there is maybe one thing you can blame on me and it's to be a huge Mary's fan, I have one personel reason.
You know I'm so happy to see Mary's back that in fact I don't even care the way she plays, because she's back.



:angel: :angel: :angel:

Fingon
Apr 3rd, 2002, 06:18 PM
If Mary Pierce's coach tells me she is playing serve and volley I say "bullshit".

I've seen many tennis matches, and many Mary Pierce's matches. She is a great player in some aspects of the game, but she doesn't know how to volley, plain and simple.

To improve her tennis ability doesn't include serve and volley, unless she is out of her mind, you can't learn serve and volley in a few months, and not certainly when you are 27 (is that Mary's age?).

That's a total non-sense, plus, serve and volleying on clay?, yeah sure.

I think serve and volley is the most unknown style in tennis, because most people have no clue what it is. Getting near the net to put away a ball is not serve and volley. Hitting swinging volleys is not serve and volley. Mary doesn't have the volleying skills, the speed, the confidence or the serve to do that, and certainly, not even Novotna could serve and volley on clay how could Mary that didn't do it at her best on grass do it here? pleeeezzzeee.

This doesn't mean of course that Mary isn't a great player, she is, but she is not a serve and volleyer and she will never be and I would bet my earning in the next 30 years on that without the need to watch any match

Rollo
Apr 3rd, 2002, 06:42 PM
Don't you think you're being a bit harsh on us Volcana? We were just having a bit of fun. If that reporter read this he would run and discover what a volley is I imagine!

How confident am I that we are right(even if Fingon sees pigs flying;)
Lets see-I'll bet my house, my dog, you name it-that Mary Pierce didn't serve and volley more than a handful of times-if at all:) For one-it's a common mistake of rookie reporters to mix up the terms "volley" when they really mean groundstrokes.

I base that on 25 years of seing mistakes that like in match reports. Hell,like Fingon says-over half this board really doesn't know serve and volley.

No, I didn't see the match, but I can't see oxygen even though I know it's there.

Now I'll apologize if I was harsh. Beige's beer went to my head!

Rollo
Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:08 PM
Here's the local papers report of the match. It sounds like Mary did change her hairstyle, but no mention of serve and volley.

http://www.heraldtribune.com/frontpage/story.cfm?ID=65785

Volcana
Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:15 PM
Total honesty, I'll believe Mary Pierce has turned into a serve-and-volley player when pigs fly. But bio-technology can do amazing things nowadays. :) I just think you guys were hammering the author with no evidence. The last time I saw Amelie play, she wasn't a power player. She was slicing and spinning. If I hadn't seen the player, but just the shots, I would have thought it was Conchi. But if I'd just read a news item, talking about Amelie's slice and 'all-court game', i'd have reacted much as people in this are. But I would have been wrong.

Maybe the constant injuries have caused Mary to change her style of play.
Maybe the author really is that clueless.

I do apologize for coming across so harshly. But the guy COULD be right.

Fingon
Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:24 PM
If you see some of Mary Pierce's doubles matches, where you are supposed to volley and it's way easier, you could see Mary is as comfortable at the net as I am writing poems.

As I know my abilities and never tried to write a poem, but I might try if you like to see how much of a non-sense is to say that Mary Pierce serves and volley, the addition that it's on clay would be equalled to me winning the nobel prize for my poetry.

I will strongly advice everyone to watch some old tapes of Jana Novotna, Patrick Rafter, Martina Navratilova, Stephan Edberg, John McEnroe before thinking that any time a player is near the net that player is volleying.

Rollo
Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:28 PM
There's a big difference between your example though Volcana and the Pierce one. Momo doesn't always belt the ball-what surface did you see the match on? If Mary's match was on grass I might believe it. On clay? No way.

If the reporter signed his/her name and was a reputable reporter I might believe it. It's unsigned, and the local match report surely would have had some mention of a volleying Pierce. Add it all up and Mr/Miss AP doesn't know a volley from a overhead.

GoDominiqu
Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:55 PM
I agree with both sides here.

Of course it's technically possible that Mary went to the net directly after each of her serves.
But it's clay, and it's Mary. :) The chance is < 0.1 %. :)

Maybe the writer is right. But I dont think so.
A tennis-expert wouldn't mention that Mary has turned into a S&V-player just by the way, on a side-note. You coould write a whole article about such a fundamental change.

I assume that the write just mixed up some expressions.

Fingon
Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:58 PM
GoDominique, to make it clear, if I have seen Mary serve and volleying, I would have thought that I need to drink less before watching a match or that I am in drugs.

GoDominiqu
Apr 3rd, 2002, 08:02 PM
Same for me, Fingon. :)

However, there could be ONE reason for this unlikely change: the long break. Maybe Mary thought 'what the hell, let's try something different, I have nothing to lose'. After all, it's never too late to change something. :)

Scotso
Apr 3rd, 2002, 08:27 PM
Fingon, usually you have good things to say but here you're clueless.

Obviously you don't like Mary for some reason, but she can volley. In fact, she was volleying 20 times better than Hingis in the Aussie Open final in 2000. It was Hingis' poor net play that cost them that match.

saby
Apr 3rd, 2002, 09:19 PM
Mary doesn't S'n V as well as some others players but she can do it when she needs it, but with her game almost all the time she doesn't need to do it.

For few years now Mary comes closer to the net but it's not natural for her.

I suposed that you know what was Mary's training when her father was her coach. S'n V was not on the list, the only words Mary was hearing was HIT THE BALL. "She said it on an interview"


Scotso you are right this final they should win it !! it wasn't Mary's fault but it's a double and they both lost.

I never seen Momo play without power, she was stronger than others girls when she was younger, she has the same game than before but stronger and with more experiences.

:angel: :angel: :angel:

Fingon
Apr 3rd, 2002, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by Scotso
Fingon, usually you have good things to say but here you're clueless.

Obviously you don't like Mary for some reason, but she can volley. In fact, she was volleying 20 times better than Hingis in the Aussie Open final in 2000. It was Hingis' poor net play that cost them that match.

Errrmm, Scotso, that was precisely one match I was referring too.

Hundreds of times during the match Mary had the chance to come to the net and back up. Lisa and Reannae were both at the net and got everything back and you could see Mary's effort to hit the ball harder and harder on every shot.

Why every time somebody makes a comment on a part of a players' game that comment has to be motivated on the person not liking the player? geez, can't I have an opinion without involving what I feel for the player?

Now, if you come and say that Martina Hingis can't hit the ball hard, does it mean you hate Martina?

You are right though that I don't like Mary, never did, never will, the reason is that Mary is THE power player, she does on the court everything I don't like to see, so, it's not for "some" reason.

If you think that Mary can volley, you are 100% clueless, either you have never seen her or you don't know what a volley is, and yes, Hingis played that match like crap, so? if you call hitting the ball as hard as you can from the baseline volley, then what was what Novotna used to do? a second serve?

Scotso
Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:01 PM
Pierce came to the net a lot in that match, and has been coming to the net a lot in recent years. You don't have a damn clue what you're talking about.

Hurley
Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:07 PM
Here I am :wavey:

Mary did volley more than usual, but calling her game "serve-and-volley"...not totally true.

But yes...there was a lot of moving forward, more so than one would expect from Mary.

Scotso
Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:08 PM
And the one reason you think Mary can't volley is probably because you think that only Hingis can.

Jealousy of the power players perhaps?

They fact is that yes, you don't like Mary, and that's the only reason you're here. If there was a thread about Hingis, I wouldn't even bother going there. Instead of doing that, though, you have to come in here and spend time insulting Mary. It's pathetic.

Scotso
Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:08 PM
So Hurley, you would say that Mary can actually hit a volley? :eek:

Hell hath frozen over!

Robbie.
Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:27 PM
I think everyone has explained their reasons for attacking this journalist so I won't re-hash. Mary Pierce is not a serve and Volleyer, simple. The journalist refers to "her serve and volley game" so you can infer that he was labeling "serve and volley" as her usual gamestyle and that is incorrect. Hurley even said that Mary did not serve and volley in the match, simply moved forward - this journalist doesn't know what he is talking about.

Which brings me to my next point and the argument between Scotso and Fingon, I think both of you are taking very extreme views on this topic and I agree with both of you in a sense. Mary would never play serve and volley as a "gameplan" because simply she would be playing into her weaknesses and not her strengths. Mary's strengths are not movement and touch - and her volley while proficient at doing away with balls slightly more difficult than "sitters" and much improved is still not A-Class compared to ladies such as Martina, Venus, Serena and Lindsay. i would put her volley about on par with Jennifer's and better than Monica's. To be a serve and volleyer Mary would desert the power game that has been the catalyst behind her success, be forced to rush the net quickly and sharply to get into position which is not her best asset and then often be forced to hit difficult low volleys that really are not her forte. Due to the fact Mary doesn't doesn't wnat to commit SUICIDE in every match she doesn't play serve and volley.

So yes Mary can volley, but it is not one of her strengths, and unless she has her opponent stretched out wide with one of her awesome drives and being assured of a 'floater" I can't see Mary coming to the net very often

Hurley
Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:47 PM
It's more of an expansion of an all-court game than anything resembling "serve-and-volley."

But yes...Mary did come to the net, she did win points with volleys, she did on more than one occasion serve-and-volley. But I have, on more than one occasion, eaten a salad, and that does NOT make me a vegetarian, now does it?

Fingon
Apr 4th, 2002, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by Scotso
And the one reason you think Mary can't volley is probably because you think that only Hingis can.

Jealousy of the power players perhaps?

They fact is that yes, you don't like Mary, and that's the only reason you're here. If there was a thread about Hingis, I wouldn't even bother going there. Instead of doing that, though, you have to come in here and spend time insulting Mary. It's pathetic.

Scotso, I think you are pathetic. This thread was going ok until you came with your bullshit.

What the fuck does Hingis to do with this? The fact that as your tennis knowledge is as low as you judgement, you don't find anything better than to insult people just because they don't agree with you.

When I need a psychologist, I would look someone with a brain thank you.

If you wouldn't go to a thread about Hingis, do I care? you can go whatever you want, it you only can comment in players you like, that's your problem, not mine.

Now tell me, where the fuck did I insult Mary? and I want you to cite me exactly. Saying that a player can't volley is to insult her???

You are even more stupid than I thought. Please, refrend in the future to answer anything I said, I'll do the same.

Rollo, did you want an example on how an idiot can ruin a thread that was going ok? here you go.

Fingon
Apr 4th, 2002, 12:33 AM
tennisaddict, we were having different point of view with scotso, until he decided to resort to personal attacks to defend his pathetic point of view.

So pathetic, I think that only Hingis can volley. If he wasn't that stupid will know that since long ago Hingis is NOT my favourite.

But I guess is too much for him to assimilate.

Scotso
Apr 4th, 2002, 03:58 AM
Insisting that someone cannot do something that they obviously can is an insult.

I never insulted you personally, you're the one that did that in your last post. You realize that you're wrong so now you attack me. I really don't care. I don't need to defend myself because your opinion of me doesn't matter.

The fact is you're wrong about Mary's game and it's obvious to everyone. Now that that's established I don't have anything else to say here.

Fingon
Apr 4th, 2002, 04:05 AM
Originally posted by Scotso
Insisting that someone cannot do something that they obviously can is an insult.
Interesting definition of insult, also, she can do in your opinion in my opinion, she can't, aren't I allowed to have one?


I never insulted you personally, you're the one that did that in your last post. You realize that you're wrong so now you attack me. I really don't care. I don't need to defend myself because your opinion of me doesn't matter. Again, your definition of insult is very particular, saying that someone can't do something that they obviously(?) can is an insult and calling someone pathetic is not, well well.


The fact is you're wrong about Mary's game and it's obvious to everyone. Now that that's established I don't have anything else to say here.

Yes, it's obvious to everyone like treufreund, rollo, gosandrine and others, interesting you you chose to pick on me only :eek: In fact I didn't know you ever existed before, I have a pretty good idea of who you are though but nevermind.

So, you not only have your terms confused, and react like a hysterical little girl because somebody says that Mary can't volley (how dare they?), you are also a liar.

Nice to meet go gcm I mean scotso

tennischick
Apr 4th, 2002, 04:10 AM
from tennis-on-the-line....

Day Two of the Sarasota Open dawned overcast, but that didn’t stop the fans, as the spectator total markedly increased from Monday’s poor turnout. The stride was hit when the increasingly mysterious Mary Pierce hit the court for her first tournament in many weeks. Pierce showed her mettle on the stadium; where all of the ladies previous to her had played tentative games that belied their self-confidence, Pierce brought her confident mannerisms and balletic control of the court back to the fore. Skeptics assumed that Pierce would not even show up at this Tier IV tournament, though she proved them wrong. I caught a glimpse of Pierce earlier in the day, with her perfect posture and a new short bob, and, with a serene smile on her face, she took that serenity and used it to whomp Japanese Ai Sugiyama, 6-3 6-3.

Pierce seems to have regained her world-beating form, for her first round at the very least. She hit winners from every inch of the court, including a surprising amount from in front of the midcourt. Her powerful serve, two aces included, repeatedly frustrated Sugiyama, who double faulted on match point, at pivotal points of the match. The Frenchwoman, billed as “Sarasota’s own” at the start of the match, outclassed Sugiyama in every department. Should she hold onto this form, there isn’t any reason why she shouldn’t make the final, though I’ll put in some foreboding by saying that Pierce lost focus at the end of both sets. Though that was enough to beat Sugiyama, it could be troublesome against the top seeds, or even rising yong Russian Anastasia Myskina, who is a potential second-round opponent. I asked Mary how far she would have to go into the tournament to consider it a success, but she says that she and her coach, Bobby Banck, consider it “bonus time”...”Every match is pretty much a practice...I have nothing left to prove...”

...and this from bob larson...

WTA Match of the Day
Sarasota - First Round
Mary Pierce def. Ai Sugiyama (7) 6-3 6-3

Ai Sugiyama has a surprising amount of experience at beating bashers with a liking for clay. Just last year, she beat Kim Clijsters at San Diego. But Mary Pierce has been a "special victim" of hers. That's not to say that Pierce can't beat Sugiyama; she can and she has. But Sugiyama beat Pierce (then #6) at San Diego 1999 and the Australian Open 2000 (Pierce was then #5); she obviously knows how to deal with her game.

Plus, Pierce has played only three clay tournaments since winning Roland Garros in 2000, and won only one match total. She hadn't played since the Australian Open, and her record in the last twelve months is 2-5. If ever there had been a time when Sugiyama would seem to be the favorite, this would be it.

Well, as they say, the road to absurdity is paved with logic. And besides, anyone who tries to use logic to explain Mary Pierce had better have good mental health coverage, because he's nuts. Pierce may have been rusty, but she didn't show it, and won an amazingly easy comeback.

And, of course, she came in with nothing to defend. The points for a first round win at a Tier IV aren't much, but beating #30-ranked Sugiyama helps. Pierce came in ranked #295. She'll be moving up to about #250 as a result of this win. And if she is truly healthy, she's the best player, and the best clay player, in her quarter.

Sugiyama came in with nothing to defend, so she probably won't be hurt. At worst, she might lose one ranking spot.

Our Sarasota correspondent filed this match report.

Mary Pierce returned to action against Ai Sugiyama, an old nemesis. The buzz was that Pierce might still be too rusty and Sugiyama too savvy for Pierce to win. If Pierce was rusty, it wasn't much in evidence against Sugiyama. She came out of the gate cleanly: hitting deep, fast serves, backhand winners, and even a drop shot winner to take the first game, although Sugiyama pushed her to deuce with sneak forays to the net.

Sugiyama started off her first service game with a bit of misfortune. She again worked her way in to net, and Pierce lofted a lob. Sugiyama smashed the overhead -- right back to Pierce who had stayed home and was able to hit a passing shot winner. Untroubled by the loss of that point, Sugiyama came in again, and was passed again. Sugiyama, fearing Pierce's return of serve, double faulted on the next point to bring up the first break points of the match. After a brief rally, Pierce was able to wrong foot Sugiyama and go up 2-0.

In the next game, Pierce was even more settled. She caught Sugiyama going the wrong way again, which yielded a clean winner. An ace and some change-of-pace shots gave Pierce a 40-0 lead. Sugiyama erased one with a drop shot, but on the next point Pierce's serve jammed her, forcing the error.

Sugiyama was sporadic on her next service game, too. Three good serves were offset by two double faults, and Pierce's blast of a return winner brought the game to deuce. Sugiyama composed herself and set up a beautiful down-the-line winner to gain the advantage. Another cracking return sent the game back to deuce, but Pierce was a little too aggressive on her next return and it sailed just long. A Pierce backhand that just failed to clear the top of the net got Sugiyama on the scoreboard.

Pierce was particularly strong in her next service game with forcing ground strokes, some incredible scrambling for someone returning from injury, and even a display of touch with a drop shot that landed right on the line and then curled away.

Pierce's controlled power display continued in the next game; Sugiyama found herself down 0-30 after being forced in errors. She turned to a nice touch drop shot to reach 15-30. The net came in to play on the next point, as Sugiyama's shot hit the top of the tape and dribbled over. But Pierce moved in and smacked it for a winner. Sugiyama could not handle Pierce's power on the return and was broken again.

Pierce now had the opportunity to serve for the set at 5-1. Perhaps she was a little nervous as she double faulted on the first point. Sugiyama seemed to sense that Pierce might be a little tight and that now would be a great opportunity to try to extend the points at all costs. Indeed, on the next point, Pierce played another drop shot and Sugiyama strained to reach it, although Pierce was able to volley away her reply for a winner. A return error put Pierce two points away from the set, but although her next serve was big and she set herself up for a winning volley, she mistimed it and netted it. Sugiyama marshaled her resources in the next point, scrambling and retrieving for all she was worth. It paid off when Pierce sent the ball wide. A quick backhand error from Pierce gave Sugiyama one of the breaks back.

Sugiyama felt some relief, and started the next game with a jamming serve that Pierce couldn't handle. But a double fault, a great backhand winner from Pierce, and an unforced error on Sugiyama's part gave Pierce double set point. A good serve forced a netted return to save one. A bold volley saved the next. But at deuce, Pierce pounced on a short second serve and Sugiyama couldn't handle the pace. With a set point against her again, Sugiyama produced some aggressive ground strokes, the last of which just nicked the back of the baseline. Pierce examined the mark for a moment, then smiled, and admitted it looked OK. She was unrattled and again hit a blazing return that forced Sugiyama's reply long. Again, Sugiyama decided to go for broke and hit a sideline for a winner. On the deuce point, Pierce went for too much on the return and missed it. Sugiyama again produced a shot that hit the back of the baseline, and although Pierce was on to it this time and managed to get the ball back over the net, Sugiyama was there to put away the volley for a winner.

Pierce gathered herself to serve for the set a second time. Sugiyama took the initiative for the first two points, winning the first with a dinked drop shot, but losing the next when a shot that would have been a clean winner hit the top of the net and fell back. Pierce managed a strong serve that forced a return error to pull within two points of the set again. As in the previous game, Sugiyama went for the lines and found success. Then she stepped in on the next point and hit a short, angled cross court winner to earn another break point. Pierce saved it with an ace down the middle. Another big serve forced the return long. Pierce appeared more calm as she worked the next point, controlling the rally before moving in to hit a volley winner and take the first set, 6-3.

The first point of the second set featured a Sugiyama drop shot that Pierce struggled to reach before the second bounce, but she was able to give it a flick. The ball brushed the top of the net, popped up over Sugiyama's racquet, and landed well in. Sugiyama won the next three points cheaply, as Pierce made a wild error on a swinging forehand volley, missed an easy return, and hit a weak return that Sugiyama easily dealt with. She blew one game point with a strange mis-hit that floated well long, but converted on the next point with a winner that cleaned the sideline.

A composed Pierce won her service at love with the help of strong serving, a backhand on the line, and a sharply angled ground stroke that forced an error. With Sugiyama serving at 1-1, Pierce applied more pressure. Two good returns and some impressive defensive scrambling gave her two break points. She wasted no time in grabbing one with yet another strong return down the line.

Pierce was on a roll now. Leading 2-1, she produced more marvelous serving, a passing shot winner, and a volley winner to hold at love again. Sugiyama tried to regain some control. She became more aggressive on her ground strokes, jerking Pierce around the court before forcing the error. Two deep, well-placed serves gave her two more easy points. Then Pierce sprayed the ball wide, and Sugiyama held at love, but still down in the set.

Pierce was on fire in the next game, serving well, punishing a short ball that Sugiyama had to deflect away in self-defense. An ace closed out the game for a 4-2 lead, and Sugiyama seemed rattled that she was making no dent on Pierce's serve.

Sugiyama calmed herself and seemed more resolved as she stepped up to serve. The first point had the crowd gasping, as Pierce came to net, but mis-hit the overhead. But the best Sugiyama could manage in reply was her own mis-hit that struck the top of the net and flopped over for a winner. Pierce returned the favor on the very next point, when her forehand hit the tape and dribbled over. Pierce then missed a short ball wide and Sugiyama jammed her with a serve into the body to pull to 3-4.

Pierce looked to be her old self on the next two points, dictating play, sending Sugiyama scrambling from corner to corner, winning the first when a Sugiyama lob landed long and the second when she punished a short ball. At 30-0, Sugiyama came up with a hard return that put Pierce on the defensive immediately and yielded a long error. Pierce countered with a better serve that forced the error that gave her game point. Sugiyama came up with another brilliant return (she insisted on taking every Pierce serve --first and second-- inside the baseline) and got Pierce on the stretch and forced a forehand long. The next point was an inventive rally, with both players scrambling from corner to corner, running down short angles, which ended when a Pierce forehand was called out but immediately overruled by the umpire to give Pierce the game.

The next game was over quickly. After a brief rally, Sugiyama netted a backhand, then sprayed a shot long. Pierce seized control with a hard return and a dominating rally, that ended when Sugiyama could only push the ball into the net. On her first match point, Pierce hit long. On her second match point, Sugiyama missed her first serve. And with the pressure of Pierce's return facing her, her second serve was unfortunately too tentative and also a fault.

(tennisone.com)

Scotso
Apr 4th, 2002, 04:49 AM
thanks for the report :)

Allez Mary!

BCP
Apr 4th, 2002, 06:37 AM
LOL @ the spaniard Ai Sugiyama!:)

Rollo
Apr 4th, 2002, 06:59 PM
Thanks tennischick. Tennis-on-the line is the best, I only wish they covered every event. I "discovered" Eva Dryberg from reading their reports from Indian Wells.

http://www.tennis-ontheline.com/

2ace2
Apr 4th, 2002, 07:00 PM
Too bad for Aď, but well done Mary!!!