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Navratilova, 43, wins in U.S. return

Friday, August 25, 2000

By DAVID AGOSTINO
David.Agosti@Thomnews.com

NEW HAVEN - So much for a peaceful retirement.

Martina Navratilova, who at 43 is more than twice the age of most of the game's stars, had little time to relax Thursday, playing two doubles matches on Stadium Court at the Pilot Pen.

And she's still got it.

Navratilova and 19-year-old partner Katarina Srebotnik advanced to the semifinals with an easy 6-4, 6-0 win over Kveta Hrdlickova and Patty Schnyder before 6,701 fans Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, the tennis legend and Srebotnik ousted Cara Black and Elena Likhovtseva 6-1, 6-4.

Not bad for Navratilova's first WTA event in the United States in nearly five years.

"I'm too wired for a nap," Navratilova said. "It's weird not playing at all and then playing two matches in one day, and winning them both. It's a new experience."

Still, Navratilova hardly looked rusty, and despite playing in competition with Srebotnik for the first time, the duo was very much in sync.

The pair lost a total of nine games, and after falling behind 4-2 in the first set Thursday night, they ripped off 10 straight games to cruise into the semifinals against Julie Halard-Decugis and Ai Sugiyama this afternoon.

Navratilova, who has been nursing a sore Achilles' tendon this summer, said she felt fine despite playing a pair of hard court matches in the matter of a few hours.

Of course, Srebotnik, who was born after Navratilova had already won Wimbledon twice, could have played all night as she learns something from the Hall of Famer on a daily basis.

"I'm learning more things every match," said Srebotnik, who inquired about Navratilova's doubles availability through e-mail. "I'm all ears."

"She's like a sponge," Navratilova added. "I tell her once and she does it. It's fantastic. If I play against her I'll be in trouble. I can't teach her everything."

Navratilova, the top-ranked player at the end of the year seven times, is still rounding her game into acceptable shape for a former legend.

But the quick hands and shifty feet were still quite evident Thursday.

"I'm not quite back in the loop," Navratilova said. "I'm a doubles specialist now. But it's great to be back and play in front of a crowd that really appreciates good tennis. It's very special."

Article is from The Connecticut Post, dated August 25, 2000