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De Brito creates a racket

GRUNT, squeal and moan preceded game, set and match as noisy Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher de Brito was silenced by France's Aravane Rezai 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the French Open third round in Paris yesterday.

Sounding like she was having a particularly troublesome tooth extracted without anaesthetic every time she played a point, the 16-year-old Portuguese qualifier drove her opponent to complain to the umpire several times.

"It's very disturbing, it's disturbing me," an angry Rezai told him before insisting he consult the grand slam supervisor on the issue. "Please there is a limit, enough."

The Portuguese did not just shriek as she hit the ball but also yelped when her opponent sent her shots long. She also annoyed the crowd with her bad-tempered racket slamming when she was angry.

But even the boos could not drown her out. "I can do nothing about it," the grand slam debutante, ranked 132, protested during the match.

Asked about it earlier, she said: "It's just something I've done always since I started playing tennis. I'm going to keep on doing it."

Larcher de Brito trains at the Nick Bollettieri tennis academy in Florida which has produced grand slam winners like Maria Sharapova, another noisy player.

Listing Monica Seles, one of the original grunters, as one of her idols, Larcher de Brito had become the first Portuguese player to advance to the third round of a grand slam event by beating 15th seed Zheng Jie of China.

Ears ringing, 57th-ranked Rezai could barely look at her opponent as they shook hands curtly at the end.


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