Huge Upsets as Pioline, Martinez Head for the Exit

Published June 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The third day of the 114th Wimbledon Championships was marked by two major upsets Wednesday as former men's finalist Cedric Pioline of France and former women's champion Conchita Martinez of Spain crashed out. 

Sixth seed Pioline, the 1997 finalist, slumped in five sets to 237th-ranked Vladimir Voltchkov of Belarus, who sneaked through 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 3-6, 6-4 in their second-round encounter. 

Pioline, playing in London for the 10th consecutive year, hastened his own demise by serving up 13 double faults to hand qualifier Voltchkov an early birthday present. He turns 22 on July 4. 

Sonya Jeyaseelan of Canada pulled off a huge surprise win of her own, 6-4, 6-1 over 1994 champion and fourth seed Martinez on the "graveyard" Court Two. 

Martinez had shown fine form in reaching the final at the French Open earlier this month but Jeyaseelan sent her packing with a barrage of booming forehands to score her first win at Wimbledon in three visits and the best win of her career. 

Martinez became the seventh women's seed to go out. 

"She's coming off the French Open final and it hasn't sunk in yet," said Jeyaseelan. "I was shocked how easy it was," added Jeyaseelan. 

Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand claimed a notable scalp in the second round of the ladies singles, convincingly defeating 1998 semifinalist Natasha Zvereva of Belarus 6-1, 6-3. 

Tanasugarn said positive thinking was the key to her victory. 

"I had very good concentration and a good serve. I didn't lose a game on my serve in the first set." 

Tanasugarn, 23, has a solid record at Wimbledon, having reached the fourth round twice in the last two years, her best performance in any of the Grand Slams.  

Now Tanasugarn could face Anna Kournikova in the next round if the Russian glamour-girl can beat Anne-Gaelle Sidot of France. 

Unlike some of her fellow players, who believe too much attention is paid to Kournikova for her looks, Tanasugarn belives the Russian's image is an asset for the women's game. 

"Anna is a tough player. She's one of the stars of the tour, and she and Martina (Hingis) are still young. Anna is not just good looking; she's a good player. 

"Her looks are a bonus. But they attract a lot of people who perhaps otherwise would not come to watch the women's game" - (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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