Injured Pierce hobbles out of Moscow

Ai Sugiyama upset first-seeded Mary Pierce 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow on Wednesday, with the Frenchwoman apparently troubled by back pains.

Ai Sugiyama upset first-seeded Mary Pierce 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow on Wednesday, with the Frenchwoman apparently troubled by back pains.

Sugiyama, ranked 27th in the World, kept a slow-moving Pierce, the defending champion, trapped in the corners with sharp cross-court backhands that the world No. 6 couldn't touch.

Pierce's troubles started early. She went down three games to one in the first set and Sugiyama didn't give her a point in the eighth game, closing out the set as the ball ricocheted wildly off Pierce's racket into the stands behind her.

In the second, Pierce scraped back from love-40 to hold her serve in the first game. But with her lower back apparently bothering her, Pierce then spent several minutes on the sideline on her stomach as her trainer massaged her.

Pierce broke Sugiyama in the fourth game and allowed no points in the fifth. In the ninth, she fought off deuce to put away the set on a Sugiyama net ball. After that, however, Pierce's fortunes again took a turn for the worse. She kept up until her fourth serve, when Sugiyama trapped her in the left corner with cross-court backhands and held Pierce at 15.

She made a final stand down three games to five, bringing Sugiyama to deuce on powerful baseline shots, but was run around the court and lost to a Sugiyama blast down the righthand side.

Seventh-seeded Sandrine Testud also was ousted early, losing in an upset to Silvia Farina of Italy 6-3, 6-4 in the first round. They battled it out in a match of long rallies, but Farina, currently ranked 25th in the world, took a 2-1 lead in the first set and then broke Testud in the ninth game to win 6-3. Both held until the 10th game of the second set when Testud, down 15-40, came up with an ace but then backhanded just wide to lose.

Third-seeded Julie Halard-Decugis outplayed Anne-Gaelle Sidot 6-2, 7-5 in an all-French second rounder.

Her countrywoman, Sarah Pitkowski, 23, defeated Natasha Zvereva of Belarus 6-4, 6-3.

Anke Huber of Germany struggled past Kimberly Po of the United States, a lucky-loser to the tournament and No. 127 in the WTA rankings, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

And American Lisa Raymond dispatched Elena Tatarkova Catalina Cristea and Ruxandra Dragomir defeated Nadejda Petrova and Patty Schnyder 3-6, 7-6, 6-0.

Results

First RoundSarah Pitkowski, France, def. Natasha Zvereva, Belarus, 6-4, 6-3.Silvia Farina, Italy, def. Sandrine Testud (7), France, 6-3, 6-4.Anke Huber, Germany, def. Kimberly Po, United States, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.Lisa Raymond, United States, def Elena Tatarkova, Ukraine 6-3, 7-6

Second RoundAi Sugiyama, Japan, def Mary Pierce (1), France, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3Julie Halard-Decugis (3), France, def. Anne-Gaelle Sidot, France, 6-2, 7-5.Barbara Schett (2), Austria, def Anastasia Myskina, Russia, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles First roundCatalina Cristea Romania and Ruxandra Dragomir, Romania def Nadejda Petrova, Russia and Patty Schnyder, Switzerland 3-6, 7-6, 6-0.

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