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Pierce Pounds Razzano In San Diego

Photo By Fred Mullane By Brad Falkner

It was an open and shut match for Mary Pierce. The 1998 Acura Classic finalist opened the tournament by shutting down Virginie Razzano in a powerful performance at the LaCosta Resot and Spa in San Diego.

The slender Razzano bears a passing resemblance to Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl, but tonight even several shots of spinach could not have quelled the 6-1, 6-3 baseline beating Pierce administered.

Showing the form that helped her claim the Australian Open (1995) and Roland Garros (2000) and reach a career-high rank of No. 3, the 28-year-old Pierce pounded strong shots from all over the court. Securely planted inside the baseline, Pierce dominated the match from the start, capturing out of the first ten games.

Taking the ball early and striking fast, fairly flat shots, Pierce kept Razzano on the run for much of the match. When Pierce was not busy winning points from the baseline, she skillfully ended points with crisps volleys at net.

Pierce played with power and accuracy, nailing down the lines with precise winners off both flanks.

"I tried to play aggressive and take the ball early, and finish points off at the net when I had the opportunity," Pierce said.

Covering the court quicker than she did earlier in the season, Pierce looked eager and enthusiastic. After the match, the player who has been plagued by injuries since her Roland Garros triumph, lamented that her chronic injuries have hampered her training.

"Since I won the French Open I’ve had lots of injuries that have hindred my ability to train to play at the right level of conditioning and fitness," Pierce said. "I know that I need to be healthy, just to get back into the right shape. I think now the important thing for me is quality over quantity in term of training."

On match point Pierce stepped in at mid court and drilled a forehand winner crosscourt to seal the win and set up a second-round match with 11th-seeded Conchita Martinez, who Pierce beat in the 2000 Roland Garros final.

"She is definitely playing really well again," Pierce said of the resurgent Martinez. "It’s going to be a tough match."
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