The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


May 30, 2013

Auburn native among 10 U.S. woman in French 2nd round

— PARIS (AP) — For whatever reason, professional tennis player Jamie Hampton finds that people have a lot of trouble remembering her name.

"Everyone calls me 'Julie Hamilton.' Julie Hamilton? And you've got Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova," Hampton said, referring to a top-20 Russian player, "but you can't get 'Jamie Hampton' right?"

More folks will learn what to call her if Hampton keeps on picking up victories at Grand Slam tournaments, the way she did Wednesday by beating 25th-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (5), 3-6, 9-7 to give the United States 10 women in the French Open's second round for the second consecutive year.

Hampton, a 23-year-old who calls Auburn, Ala., home, earned her first victory at the clay-court tournament after losing in the first round last year.

Her best Grand Slam showing came at the Australian Open in January, when she pushed eventual champion Victoria Azarenka to three sets in the third round while dealing with a lower back problem.

The 10 American women into the second round at Roland Garros in 2012 and 2013 are the most since 11 went at least that far in 2003. As few as four did so in several recent years: 2011, 2009, 2008, 2006 and 2005.

"We're all competitors. A year ago, or a couple years ago, we weren't even in the scene. There wasn't even a group of us," said Hampton, who is ranked 54th. "We've progressed, and I think the whole group will continue to progress. We've all got really good games. We're just trying to find our way on the clay right now."

That's long been a lament about U.S. players on the slow surface, which dulls big serves and forehands and requires more patience from point to point.

"It's attitude. It's mindset. Some of us accept it. Some of us don't," Hampton said. "The main thing that's the biggest issue is the movement. ... When you get in longer rallies, can you sustain it? Do you have good legs? The points are going to be a few balls longer."

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