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Myskina vs Pierce Preview

Anastasia Myskina’s second round opponent was decided yesterday as two-time grand slam champion Mary Pierce of France defeated young German Anca Barna in three lopsided sets, eventually prevailing 6-2 2-6 6-3. In doing so, Pierce also equalled her best performance in this event, as she reached the 2nd round in 2001, after receiving a Bye, before falling in three sets to unheralded Adriana Gersi.

Fans should be in for a great treat in Doha as this meeting between Myskina and Pierce is only a second round match up! Both players are well experienced and therefore should play to the best of their ability. However, as Pierce does not have to defend any points from last year, the added pressure will certainly be on the Russian, particularly considering she is the number 2 seed and has to defend Quarter-Final points!

Facts:

Pierce is the winner of 15 WTA singles titles, including the illustrious Australian and French Open titles, and 9 WTA doubles titles. The fact that she has won so many doubles titles proves she is not afraid of coming to the net off short balls and attacking when ever possible. She has also made over $6m in prize money throughout her career.

Style of Play:

Pierce and Myskina play with very similar games and are not afraid at all of risking an unforced error for the chance to hit a winner, particularly with regards to the French woman. In the 2002 French Open, Pierce certainly demonstrated her talent when she defeated numerous higher ranked players, including clay court specialist Silvia Farina Elia of Italy, who was also a top10 seed at the time! Her ability to hit winners of first serves and use finesse through the use of drop shots proved deadly to her opponents. Under such circumstances, her game would have a very high chance of troubling Myskina’s game.

However, as the Qatar Total FinaElf Open in Doha is played on outdoor hard courts, Pierce should really prove no problem for Myskina unless she gets off to a fantastic start. Even if this does occur, however, Myskina has shown she is not afraid of a three set match, as she has shown at the Australian Open this year in Melbourne, where she won many three set matches before bowing out in the Quarterfinals, her best grand slam result yet to the number 4 seed.

Additionally, Myskina has the chance to capitalise on the poor fitness levels of Pierce because she does not run every ball down and is still recovering from an injury. She should therefore aim at striking angled shots and drop shots to win the point! This style of play allowed the Russian to stretch and beat many of the world’s top players such as Jelena Dokic and Kim Clijsters.

Nonetheless, both these players’ deep and penetrating shorts will show for a great match with numerous long rallies until an error is forced or a winner is hit!

Head-to-Head Record:

Myskina and Pierce have only played once throughout their careers and that was in 2002 on the clay courts of Sarasota. The result was as follows:

2

Sarasota

Apr 7 2002

A Myskina - M Pierce-WC

6-4 3-6 7-64

As is evident, this was a very tight match considering the French woman was at the time recovering from a serious injury that caused her to miss several tournaments throughout 2002. Hence her win/loss record was only 14-13 for that year. Nevertheless, the history between these two players should be completely discarded because of the difference in surfaces between Sarasota and Doha.

Prediction:

Myskina defeats Pierce 3-6 6-1 6-1.

Good Luck Anastasia! J

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