Frazier upsets No. 2 seed Myskina

Updated: June 25, 2004, 4:00 PM ET
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- Amy Frazier used to remember everything about all of her matches. Who she played and where, the score, what she wore, etc.

Amy Frazier, 31, feels like a kid again every time she comes to Wimbledon.

Now that she's a doddering 31 years old -- she played her first Grand Slam at the age of 14 in 1987 -- Frazier doesn't quite have that kind of total recall.

After upsetting Anastasia Myskina in the second round, Frazier was asked if she remembers her first main-draw match at Wimbledon?

Uh, no. It was, for the record, a two-set loss to Elizabeth Minter of Austria in 1988.

How about her first victory here?

Sorry. That would be a tidy 6-2, 6-4 victory against Great Britain's Anne Simpkin a year later.

How about the feeling when you walked on the grounds of the All England Club for the first time?

"Every year I walk in," said Frazier, brightening, "it's the same. Like you can't believe you're at Wimbledon. It's exactly how you picture it."

Picture this: There are a number of likely candidates among the American women to take out a high seed here at The Championships. Their first names are familiar to even the causal tennis fan -- Serena, Venus, Jennifer and Lindsay.

On Friday, however, it was an Amy who escorted No. 2-seeded Myskina to the gate at the All England Club. Frazier, the No. 31 seed -- won a shocker, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, over the newly minted French Open champion and advanced to the round of 16.

In her 17th season of playing Grand Slams, Frazier has never taken out a higher seed. An hour later, the smile was still on her face.

"Obviously, I was, I mean, very happy," she said. "I'm happy with the way I played. So it was good."

Too good for Myskina, who after sliding sweetly on the red clay at Roland Garros looked uncomfortable on the quirky grass at Wimbledon. Afterward, Frazier answered the questions of four American reporters in the cramped confines of Interview Room No. 2. Myskina was later interrogated in spacious No. 1.

Myskina was asked 25 questions after her doubles match. Only one of them -- the first -- related to the match. "I was pretty slow today," Myskina said. "I didn't move as well as I should move. I think I deserved to lose this match because I wasn't ready to win.

"Amy was playing prettty good, I think, and she really want to win the match."

This is Frazier's 16th appearance in the main draw at Wimbledon; her 62 Grand Slam main draws are more than any regularly active player on the WTA Tour. The 47-year-old institution known as Martina Navratilova, who has been dabbling in singles this year, has a total of 67.

In comparison to her U.S. peers, Frazier -- who is actually a sturdy 5-foot-8, 139 pounds -- seems almost frail. She is intensely pale; clearly she has the good sense to use sunscreen (she did graduate magna cum laude from Adams High School in Rochester, Mich.).

Her biography has an old-world flavor. Her first win over a top 10 player was in 1988, when she defeated Pam Shriver in Los Angeles. Frazier won her first WTA title the next year in Wichita, Kan. She reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 1992 and the quarters of the 1995 U.S. Open, the year she attained her highest singles ranking, No. 13.

A victory against No.13 seed Maria Sharapova, a convincing 6-3, 6-1 winner over Daniela Hantuchova on Friday, would place Frazier in her third career quarterfinal - nine years after she accomplished her second.

Frazier won 24 of 41 matches last year, but her ranking of No. 61 was her first outside the top since 1988. She did not win a tournament and, at the age of 30, seemed to be headed toward the downside of a nice little career. She has always planned on becoming a math teacher when she grew up - maybe it was time to enroll in college and start the process.

Maybe not.

It has been a surprisingly good year for Frazier.

She won her seventh WTA Tour tournament in January, the Moorilla International in Hobart, Australia, defeating Sinobu Asagoe in the final. She made the semifinals in Vienna, losing to Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi. She crashed out in the first round at the French Open, but clay is her least favorite surface.

Frazier lost to Hantuchova in the first round at Eastbourne, the week before Wimbledon, but when Frazier walked through the gates at the All England Club, she was 15 again.

But it didn't look like she'd be here very long this year with Myskina looming in the draw. Instead, Frazier found a way to stay.

Frazier won the first three games, then lost the next three and, ultimately, the first set. Then she rallied to take the second and had her first match point serving at 5-2 in the third. A forehand winner by Myskina erased it and a backhand error gave the Russian the game. Myskina held serve, but Frazier collected her second match point leading 5-4. Frazier retrieved a drop shot, but Myskina volleyed it back into the open court. A Frazier foehand into the net negated a third match point and it looked like Myskina might escape. A double-fault on the subsequent point seemed to confirm this.

"Maybe I tricked my own mind," Frazier said. "But I thought she hit great shots. I mean, that's too good."

Somehow, Frazier regained control of the game. Playing for her fourth match point, she moved aggressively to net, pressuring Myskina into a forehand that flared wide.

As she sat in her changeover chair, breathing heavily, her eyes seemed to moisten.

She says she doesn't think about her age when she's out on the court.

"I don't think it matters," Frazier said. "If you're out there thinking about age, you're not going to win."

Just don't call her old.

"No," she said, laughing. "Most of the time, I can't believe I'm an adult."

Greg Garber is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Greg Garber

Writer, Reporter
Greg Garber joined ESPN in 1991 and provides reports for NFL Countdown and SportsCenter. He is also a regular contributor to Outside the Lines and a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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