Tennis: Wimbledon 99 - Sanchez-Vicario digs deep

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The Independent Online
ARANTXA SANCHEZ-VICARIO was forced to rely on her reserves of determination after losing the first set to the Hungarian qualifier, Anna- Maria Foldenyi, but eventually came through to reach the second round.

The No 7 seed has never been completely at home on grass, and she has always relied on her persistence and sheer force of will, allied to some fearsome ground-strokes, to make up for her inability to serve and volley.

The Spaniard has reached two Wimbledon finals, plus the 1997 semi-final and last year's quarter-finals, but she usually has to battle her way through these championships, and so it proved again on Court Two.

As pumped up as ever, the 27-year-old won the next five games before eventually taking the second set 6-3. The pair traded breaks of serve to reach 2-2 in the decisive third set, but then they started to hold serve more consistently amid some powerful and lengthy rallies in a fascinating baseline duel.

Sanchez-Vicario, who made it to the recent French Open semi-finals but then lost her first match on grass this year at Eastbourne, saved two break points at 4-4 as nerves started to prey on Foldenyi. The Hungarian, ranked No 119 in the world and making her first Wimbledon appearance, still had chances to get back into the match, but she missed two break points and then two game points on her own serve as Sanchez-Vicario, who seemed troubled by a wrist injury, started to come into the net more confidently to close out the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Sanchez-Vicario was joined in the second round by the Austrian Barbara Schett, the No 14 seed who beat Spain's Gala Leon Garcia 7-5, 6-2, while Germany's Elena Wagner beat Great Britain's Abigail Tordoff 6-0, 6-2.