ACAPULCO, México - Just a few weeks into her comeback Paola Suárez already hit another milestone, scoring her 500th career doubles match victory on Wednesday evening, just the fifth active player to reach that number.
Suárez recently announced her return to the WTA this year to play doubles with Gisela Dulko, an Olympic medal their biggest dream - they lost their first match in Bogotá but won two matches in Monterrey last week, and then got their third win together in the first round of Acapulco - and they were made to work for it too, saving a match point down 9-8 in the match tie-break to beat Alexandra Dulgheru and Stéphanie Foretz Gacon, 46 62 119.
"I was surprised when I found out, because I wasn't even thinking about it. I never thought I won 500 matches," Suárez said on Thursday. "I'm going to enjoy it after today's match with my team. I'm sure it will sink in later!"
Having retired in 2007 with a sparkling 497-179 record, the 35-year-old Suárez now has an even more sparkling 500-181 record - but which of the 500 does she remember most fondly? "The highlight was our first final in Roland Garros, the first Grand Slam we won," Suárez said, referring to she and Virginia Ruano Pascual's win over Jelena Dokic and Conchita Martínez in the 2001 French Open final. "I've forgotten a lot of the wins but that one replays in my memory."
Suárez is feeling comfortable on the tour again too: "Acapulco is my third tournament back and I feel like a player again," she declared. "The first one felt a little strange, but now I'm okay. Everyone has been very friendly and has given me a very good welcome. I feel so comfortable on the tour again."
Only five active players have 500 or more doubles match wins:
773 - Lisa Raymond (773-279)
708 - Liezel Huber (708-338)
656 - Cara Black (656-264)
520 - Katarina Srebotnik (520-238)
500 - Paola Suárez (500-181)