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Pierce set to return for Cup





BY JAMES BECK
The Post and Courier


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Mary Pierce is playing perhaps the best tennis of a professional career that started with the 1989 Family Circle Cup when she was only 14 years old.

Now at age 31, Pierce is one of the favorites to win this year's Family Circle Cup after entering the Daniel Island event Monday. She is the third former champion to enter the April 8-16 WTA Tour tournament, joining defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne and Venus Williams. Seven-time Grand Slam tournament champion Serena Williams also is entered.

"Mary's commitment to her sport is just as strong today as it's ever been, and her results prove it," tournament director Robin Reynolds said. "What she accomplished on the court last year was truly remarkable. She is an exciting player to watch and has always been a crowd favorite here at the Cup."

Pierce was a finalist at both the French Open and U.S. Open last year. She finished the year by reaching the final of the season-ending WTA Championships, but started 2006 with a first-round loss to Iveta Benesova in the Australian Open. Pierce is currented ranked sixth in the world.

She started last year with a 12-8 record in her first eight tournaments, including a second-round loss to Nuria Llagostera in the Family Circle Cup. Entering the French Open ranked 23rd in the world, Pierce advanced all the way to the final before losing to Henin-Hardenne.

Pierce fashioned a 29-4 record in the second half of the season to finish the year ranked fifth in the world. She won Tier I titles at San Diego and Moscow in 2005.

She came through with a Grand Slam title in mixed doubles last year at Wimbledon, giving her a total of four Grand Slam singles and doubles titles. Pierce won the 1995 Australian Open singles title, then in 2000 notched singles and doubles victories at the French Open. She also breezed to a Family Circle Cup title in 2000, defeating Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the final.

This will mark Pierce's 11th appearance in the Family Circle Cup. She has an 18-9 record in the event, dating back to her first-round loss to Laura Arraya in 1989 after winning a pair of qualifying matches to make the main draw. She was a semifinalist in 1994 and a quarterfinalist in 2003.





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:bigclap: Maybe I can see her this year! I didn't get to last year because she lost so early. :( :bigclap:
 

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Should be a great field with Serena, Venus, Mary and Justine.
 

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I remember watching Mary lose to Vives at Family Circle Cup.
She walked right pass me as I was watching Vaidisova practice.
I am guessing that will not be happening this year as Mary is back in top 10.
Still I will enjoy watching Mary play this year.
 

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Wannabeknowitall said:
I remember watching Mary lose to Vives at Family Circle Cup.
She walked right pass me as I was watching Vaidisova practice.
I am guessing that will not be happening this year as Mary is back in top 10.
Still I will enjoy watching Mary play this year.

I was there too! Were you at the match itself, at the little sunken-in court? I had to squeeze in, every seat was full. Ended up sitting on a brick wall, but it was a great seat/view!!!
 

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PS She lost in the second round of the Aussi Open not the first - do journalists do any research anymore?
 
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