Dokic's slide continues with defeat by Maleeva

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The Independent Online

Magdalena Maleeva, of Bulgaria, beat Jelena Dokic, 7-5, 6-0, yesterday at the Porsche Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany, to prolong the Serbia and Montenegro player's slump since Wimbledon.

Dokic, ranked fourth a year ago, has now failed to win consecutive matches in 11 straight events since Wimbledon and has slipped to No 25 in the world. A healthy Mary Pierce and Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova also advanced into the second round of the event, where eight of the world's top 10 are playing in one of the year's strongest fields.

Pierce took one hour to beat Cara Black, of Zimbabwe, 6-2, 6-0. The former French and Australian champion, now cured of her back and shoulder injuries, dominated in her first match since the United States Open. "I feel more powerful, stronger. I had to get used to myself out there," Pierce said.

The Frenchwoman, who has risen back up to No 49 in the rankings, has been able to train steadily since her comeback began when she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Hantuchova had to come from behind in both sets to beat Lisa Raymond, of the United States, 6-3, 6-4.

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