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I found Mary Pierce's news in ESPN today!! :eek:

Friday, August 29
Pierce persists; Capriati rolls
Associated Press


NEW YORK -- Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce know all about the highs and lows of pro tennis.

Both have been Grand Slam tournament champions -- more than once. Both have gone significant stretches without winning any sort of title: Capriati recently ended her 1½-year drought, while Pierce's dates to 2000. Both have been ranked highly and slipped out of the top 100.

Through it all, each kept her head up and slugged the ball.

Faced with a 5-1 third-set deficit Thursday at the U.S. Open against No. 22-seeded Jelena Dokic, Pierce mustered just enough power and gumption to pull out a 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) victory and reach the third round.

"I'm still not back to the level where I want to be. It's still a process for me," Pierce said. "The fitness and my physical level are getting better, but it's not there yet. My legs kind of weren't there in the third set, so I just said, 'Start going for your shots.'"

Capriati didn't need that sort of self-encouragement later against Martina Sucha, winning 6-1, 6-1. The only games Capriati lost, curiously, were on her own serve, and she helped out her opponent by double-faulting five times.

"I miss being at the top and playing good tennis," said Capriati, who won a tuneup event last week, her first title since the 2002 Australian Open. "A lot of it is being physically fit. When I'm not, I'm missing some of my confidence."

She was in control throughout Thursday, whipping deep strokes to compile a 28-4 edge in winners.

The tennis court is ``where I live basically. I mean, I still get nerves, of course, playing in front of huge crowds, certain things might make me lose my focus,'' No. 6-seeded Capriati said. ``But I don't think you can get any more comfortable than how I feel about tennis tournaments.''

The only games Capriati lost, curiously, were on her own serve, and she helped Sucha by double-faulting five times. Sucha might very well have just been happy to be there, having picked up a last-minute sponsor when it was announced she'd be playing at night in a nationally televised match. Sucha wore a patch for a doughnut company, hastily stitched on her shirt.

``I miss being at the top and playing good tennis,'' said Capriati, who sipped a beer on court after winning a tuneup event last week for her first title since the 2002 Australian Open. ``A lot of it is being physically fit. When I'm not, I'm missing some of my confidence.''

Capriati was in control throughout, whipping deep strokes to compile a 28-4 edge in winners.

According to Dokic, no one hits the ball harder than Pierce. Not Serena Williams. Not Kim Clijsters.

"Some of the shots she hit," Dokic said, "I didn't see."

Dokic was among a sizable group of lower-seeded players exiting in second-round action Thursday.

No. 20 Silvia Farina Elia, No. 32 Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian and No. 33 Katarina Srebotnik lost, while No. 23 Nathalie Dechy pulled out of her match against Amy Frazier of the United States because of a left wrist injury. Frazier's third-round opponent will be 2000 semifinalist Elena Dementieva, who's seeded 11th and defeated Tatiana Perebiynis 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.

Other seeded players advancing included French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne, at No. 2, the highest-seeded woman playing Thursday; No. 7 Anastasia Myskina; and No. 15 Ai Sugiyama.

Capriati was only 14 when she first made a Grand Slam semifinal, at the 1990 French Open. But she didn't win a major until 2001; her problems in between are a reason the WTA Tour has its current age-eligibility rules to limit the number of tournaments players aged 14-17 can enter.

``Where did the time go? I don't feel 27,'' Capriati said. ``I'm just going to keep going as long as I love it, and my heart is in it.''

The tour said this week that it's considering changing those age rules, and one of the players who would benefit from that, 16-year-old Russian Maria Sharapova, lost to Emilie Loit 6-3, 6-4 Thursday.

At the other end of the spectrum, Martina Navratilova -- who's 46 -- teamed with Svetlana Kuznetsova to beat Jill Craybas and Conchita Martinez Granados 7-5, 6-2 in women's doubles. When they entered the court, Navratilova received a standing ovation; she smiled, waved, then bowed.

Pierce, whose ranking was 130th at the end of 2001 and is now back to 64th, was rather animated herself at the end of her match against Dokic.

At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Pierce smacked a cross-court backhand winner at a tough angle to get to match point. She raised both hands, threw her head back, and closed her eyes. Pierce lifted her index fingers to the sky and said, "One more!"

She got that one more point when Dokic floated a forehand wide.

Pierce was back on center court at a major.

And she looked as if she belonged.

"I just tried to stay calm and just told my myself to fight. Just kept repeating that one word to myself," Pierce said. "You never know what can happen in tennis."

Yesterday's rising star turns into today's has-been, and Dokic could be treading that ground. She was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist at 16, and a semifinalist there at 17. Now 20, she entered the Open with a sub-.500 match record this year.


Dokic went beyond the third round at just two of her past eight majors.

"Sometimes," Dokic said, "you need to really go down to come back up even stronger."

Capriati and Pierce know that well.

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