Tennis Wimbledon: Sanchez-Vicario bids forlorn farewell

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The Independent Online
ARANTXA SANCHEZ-VICARIO yesterday became the second top-eight seed to be eliminated from the women's singles and then said that the French Open had always meant more to her than Wimbledon anyway. After the 27-year-old Spaniard had been beaten in straight sets, 7-6, 6-1, by the American Lisa Raymond, she was asked whether she shared Pete Sampras' wish to dig up a lump of All England Club turf because the place held such special memories.

"I would tell him that I would take the French Open," she said. "He loves to play here and I love to play on clay." Sanchez-Vicario has won three singles titles at Roland Garros but has never been able to replicate the success at Wimbledon, despite coming close on several occasions. She has twice reached the final and lost, in 1995 and 1996, both times against Steffi Graf.

Would she come back to SW19 for another shot next year? "I'm really not pushing myself that I have to win here. I just think that I'll probably try next time and if I win, great. If not, I will try my best, but it didn't happen this time and I can have another chance maybe next year."

The No 7 seed (ranked No 9 in the world) kept in touch with Raymond, ranked No 37, until towards the end of the first set, when she became uncertain of her shots and started coming to the net too quickly. "It is not my usual game to go to the net all the time but when things are not working as good, you have to try something else," Sanchez-Vicario said. "I made easy mistakes, even with the volleys, and it's hard when you try something and it doesn't work. I think just two balls can make the difference and whoever wins the first set will have the chance to win."

So it proved, Raymond taking the second set with barely a hitch. "If she plays as good [in the next round] as she did against me, then she has a lot of chances," Sanchez-Vicario said of her opponent. "I think that she is playing really well and she is dangerous on this surface." Raymond's rewardwill be a third-round meeting against another Spaniard, Conchita Martinez, who, unlike Sanchez-Vicario, managed to win the Wimbledon title, in 1994. Martinez progressed with a win over Patty Schnyder.

Jana Novotna, the reigning champion and No 5 seed here, made short work of beating the 21-year-old Sylvia Plischke of Austria, who is ranked No 27. The 30-year-old Czech took one hour and 28 minutes to secure her win in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. Novotna now meets Maria Antonia Sanchez-Lorenzo of Spain in the third round. The 21-year-old Sanchez-Lorenzo, ranked No 49 in the world, has never progressed further at Wimbledon than the second round placing she reached two years ago, but secured her place against Novotna by beating the 17-year-old Russian, Nadejda Petrova.

Lindsay Davenport, the world No 2 who is ranked No 3 here, secured a place in the last 32, with a straight sets 6-2, 6-2 win over Karina Habsudova of Slovakia. Davenport now faces the 31-year-old Laura Golarsa of Italy.

Julie Halard-Decugis, the French 28-year-old No 11 seed, also won, but had a tough time in beating Silvia Farina of Italy 6-2, 3-6, 8-6.