Tennis: Pierce plays part for France

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MARY PIERCE, the world No 8, returned to competition in Frankfurt last night, helping France beat South Korea to move into the second round of the Federation Cup women's team tournament.

The Canadian-born Pierce, who reached the final of the French Open before withdrawing from Wimbledon at the last moment owing to personal problems, raced to a 6-3, 6-1 win in 67 minutes over Korea's top player, Park Sung- Hee. The victory gave France an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the tie following Julie Halard's laboured defeat of Choi Ju-Yeon.

'I don't want to talk about the past,' Pierce said. 'It's the future that's important. The team spirit here is great and everyone is smiling, laughing and having fun. I was pleased with the way I played today and I felt pretty good out there despite the conditions.'

FEDERATION CUP (Frankfurt) First round: Argentina bt Cuba 3-0 (Argentina first: P Tarabini bt Y Montesinos 6-4 6-2; F Labat bt B Rodriguez 6-1 6-0; B Fulco and Labat bt Montesinos and Y Cordova Vales 6-1 6-4); Germany bt Colombia 3-0 (Germany first: A Huber bt C Giraldo 6-0 3-6 6-2; S Hack bt C Hincapie 6-1 6-0; B Rittner and C Singer bt F Zuluaga and G Guiterrez 6-0 6-2); France bt South Korea 3-0 (France first: J Halard bt Choi Ju-Yeon 6-4 6-4; M Pierce bt Park Sung-Hee 6-3 6-1; N Tauziat and A Fusai bt Choi and Park 6-4 6-4); Japan bt China 2-1 (Japan first: N Sawamatsu bt Chen Li 6-3 6-2; K Date lost to Li Fang 5-7 1-6; Date and N Miyagi bt Chen and Li 6-1 6-2); South Africa bt Paraguay 3-0 (SA first: E Reinach bt M Benitez 6-3 6-2; J Kruger bt L Schaerer 6-2 5-7 6-3; M De Swardt and T Price bt Schaerer and Benitez 6-1 6-0); Slovak Republic bt Finland 2-0 (Slovak first: R Zrubakova bt P Thoren 6-4 6-3; K Habsudova bt N Dahlmann 6-2 6-3; K Studenikova and J Husarova v Thoren and Dahlmann postponed). Belgium and Sweden level 1-1 (Swe first: M Strandlund bt D Monami 6-4 6-2; A Carlsson lost to S Appelmanns 7-5 4-6 2-6); Netherlands and Belarus level 1-1 (Neth first: M Oremans bt T Ignatieva 3-6 6-4 6-4; B Schultz lost to N Zvereva 3-6 5-7).