Tennis: Italians are overwhelmed

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MARY PIERCE, the French Open finalist, dropped just three games as France brushed aside Italy to reach the quarter- finals of the Federation Cup women's team tournament in Frankfurt yesterday.

Japan breezed past Sweden while the hosts, Germany, not looking as powerful this year without Steffi Graf, also went through after taking an unbeatable 2-0 lead over Slovakia.

Tracy Austin, the 31-year- old former US Open winner, yesterday announced her retirement from the game. One of the game's best young players in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Austin retired in 1983 before making two comebacks. One ended because of injuries she suffered in a car accident; the latest began one and a half years ago.

'I came back because I was enjoying it,' Austin said after defeat at the Pathmark Classic in Mahwah, New Jersey, 'And about three months ago, I stopped enjoying it.'