PARIS (AP) -- As a defeated Martina Hingis walked off center court, the crowd that rooted against her all afternoon applauded, seemingly pleased with her showing at this year's French Open.
There were no tantrums, no tears and no title.
The top-seeded Hingis once again came up short in the only Grand Slam tournament she has yet to win. But she did it graciously, losing with minimal fuss to Frenchwoman Mary Pierce 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in Thursday's semifinals.
''Mary played a great match, so she really deserved to win,'' Hingis said.
The sixth-seeded Pierce barely made it to the finish, cramping from dehydration late in the match. She repeatedly stretched her legs and grimaced once in the final game.
Pierce admitted she probably couldn't have played much longer. Moments after she left the court, the cramping became severe.
''I never had cramps before,'' Pierce said. ''I was really surprised. We only played a little over two hours and it wasn't very hot. ...
''It started in my thighs, then went to the calves. I thought it might go to my whole body. It was very, very unpleasant.''
Pierce was still receiving intravenous fluids 2 1/2 hours after the match, but expected to be fully recovered for the final Saturday against fifth-seeded Conchita Martinez. Pierce even hoped to play doubles as scheduled today.
''I've done everything possible to help myself recover,'' she said.
The match would have been 40 minutes shorter if Pierce had converted a match point at 5-4 in the second set. But she nervously hit a backhand long, then lost the next seven points.
''It was nervousness,'' she admitted. ''I was contemplating suicide.''
With partisan Parisians lustily cheering every point she won, Pierce regained her composure in the third set, winning the final three games.
''I must really thank the public,'' Pierce said. ''It's great to have them behind me. It's been amazing. It's a great feeling. It makes it different than any other Grand Slam.''
The atmosphere will be charged Saturday, when Pierce tries to become the first Frenchwoman to win the French Open since Francoise Durr in 1967. But Pierce could have her hands full against Martinez, who was almost flawless in beating fellow Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-1, 6-2.
''It will be a tough match, particularly on a clay court,'' Pierce said. ''She's a good player on clay.''
Clay has not been Hingis' best surface. She has won three titles at the Australian Open and one each at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but she's 0-for-6 at Roland Garros. The most infamous defeat came in last year's final, when she threw a fit, blew a lead, drew jeers and lost to Steffi Graf.
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