Tennis: France recover from Tauziat setback

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The Independent Online
NATHALIE TAUZIAT, the world No 13 from France, suffered a humiliating defeat by China's Li Fang before her country reached the second round of the Federation Cup on the clay of Frankfurt's Waldstadion yesterday.

France, the fourth seeds, thought they were heading for a an easy win when Mary Pierce put them 1-0 up, but Li Fang, ranked nearly 100 places below Tauziat in the world rankings, had other ideas, winning 1-6, 7-6, 3-6, to level the tie.

It could have been even more embarrassing for Tauziat, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon earlier this month. At one stage she was trailing 1-6, 2-4 before making a recovery that took the match into a third set.

Normal service was resumed in the deciding doubles when Tauziat and Isabelle Demongeot teamed up to defeat Li Fang and Tang Min 6-3, 7-6.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, whose Wimbledon aspirations were ended this year by another French player, Julie Halard, helped the holders, Spain, through to the next round, sealing a 2-0 winning lead over Belgium with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Sabine Appelmans after her compatriot, Conchita Martinez, had beaten Dominique Monami.

Sanchez Vicario showed the form that will make her one of the favourites for the Olympic title in her home-town of Barcelona later this month. Spain, seeded to meet Steffi Graf's Germany in the final, now face Canada who spoiled South Africa's return to the event after a 15-year absence with a 2-1 victory.

Bulgaria and Switzerland became the first seeds to go out when they were beaten 2-1 by Australia and Sweden respectively. Another surprise saw qualifiers Korea knock out Italy after another deciding rubber. Australia's performance revived memories of seven previous victories, the last coming in the Evonne Goolagong era.

Argentina's 3-0 win over Mexico was spoilt by a dispute over their clothes which might mean they will miss the Olympics. The Argentine Olympic Committee has apparently signed a contract with sports supplier for the clothes their players will wear.

However, the players are already bound by individual contracts with rival sponsors. They have managed to get their firms to agree to them wearing an 'all-white' strip for the duration of the Games. But the Argentine Olympic Committee is insisting that they adopt the new clothing. The International Tennis Federation is trying to get the International Olympic Committee to intervene on behalf of the players.