Pierce battles past Clijsters at WTA

Pierce battles past Clijsters at WTA

LOS ANGELES – Mary Pierce put a dent in Kim Clijsters’s pursuit of the number one ranking with a 6-1 4-6 7-6 victory over the Belgian in the opening group match of the season-ending WTA Championships on Tuesday.

Top ranked Lindsay Davenport experienced no such problems and beat Russia’s Nadia Petrova 6-2 7-6 in her first round-robin match in the eight-woman draw, while champion Maria Sharapova prevailed 6-1 3-6 6-3 over Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder. Clijsters, who is not defending any points after skipping last year’s event with a wrist injury, lies just 155 points behind Davenport in standing and was hoping a good run in California would help her to dislodge the American from the top.However, in an extraordinary effort, Frenchwoman Pierce came from a break down on three occasions in the deciding set to beat the world number two for the first time in four encounters.Looking rusty and far from the player who had thrashed Pierce in the US Open final two months ago, Clijsters got off a poor start, failing to gain control of her forehand and frequently double-faulting.The 22-year-old Clijsters committed 31 unforced errors to only 21 from Pierce and double-faulted 11 times, leaving her likely to need victories over Amelie Mauresmo and Elena Dementieva in the Black Group to reach the semi-finals.Yesterday, Piercewas due to face Dementieva and Mauresmo was to play Clijsters in the Black Group, while Davenport had to take on Schnyder in the Green Group.- Nampa-ReutersClijsters, who is not defending any points after skipping last year’s event with a wrist injury, lies just 155 points behind Davenport in standing and was hoping a good run in California would help her to dislodge the American from the top.However, in an extraordinary effort, Frenchwoman Pierce came from a break down on three occasions in the deciding set to beat the world number two for the first time in four encounters.Looking rusty and far from the player who had thrashed Pierce in the US Open final two months ago, Clijsters got off a poor start, failing to gain control of her forehand and frequently double-faulting.The 22-year-old Clijsters committed 31 unforced errors to only 21 from Pierce and double-faulted 11 times, leaving her likely to need victories over Amelie Mauresmo and Elena Dementieva in the Black Group to reach the semi-finals.Yesterday, Piercewas due to face Dementieva and Mauresmo was to play Clijsters in the Black Group, while Davenport had to take on Schnyder in the Green Group.- Nampa-Reuters

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