Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Easy Day For Top Seeds

On the heels of the big Gilles Muller upset of American fourth seed Andy Roddick Tuesday night, Day Three went more according to form. Third seed Lleyton Hewitt made quick work of one-time French Open winner Alberto Costa in 80 minutes, dropping just five games in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 opening round victory.

While Hewitt was disposing Costa, American Taylor Dent needed four sets to defeat German Lars Burgsmuller 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. It took two and half hours for the serve and volleyer to finally advance, serving 18 aces, 13 double faults and winning 62 percent of points at the net.

Both Hewitt and Dent are in the same section and are a win away from a third round match-up.

In the completion of the first round, two other seeds moved on to Round Two. Dominik Hrbaty (15) took out Andreas Seppi in four 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (6) and 6-2. French Open quarterfinalist David Ferrer (17) needed four plus hours to comeback and beat Agustin Calleri 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

Other winners during the day session included Karol Kucera, Nicolas Al Magro, Michael Lammer and Jose Acasuso.

Meanwhile, the women's second round got underway without many surprises. Under windy conditions due to Hurricane Katrina, fourth seed Kim Clijsters prevailed over Fabiola Zuluaga 7-5, 6-0. The conditions threw both players off, forcing errors. Clijsters jumped out quickly 4-1 but was broken twice in a row by Zuluaga, who took a 5-4 lead. Clijsters even fought off a set point before holding and then breaking her opponent at love. After closing out the set, she coasted in the second, winning the final nine games of the match enroute to the third round.

Next up was top seed Maria Sharapova but not for long. She lost just one game against Dally Randriantefy winning 6-1, 6-0 in 49 minutes.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon champ Venus Williams (10) had little trouble with Maria Kirilenko dropping only four games in a 6-1, 6-3 victory. It sets up a third round match against Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova (20), who lost just one game in her win over Ma. Emelia Salemi. If Venus can win that, she could meet sister Serena in the Round of 16. During the night session, Serena (8) had no problem handling Catalina Castano 6-2, 6-2.

Serena will play Italian Francesca Schiavone (25) next, who defeated Emma Laine 6-2, 6-2. Schiavone could be a test to see how fit Serena is. Serena lost to her in straight sets earlier this year but that was on clay, Schiavone's best surface.

Also advancing was Nadia Petrova (9), Nicole Vaidisova (26) and Ai Sugiyama (30). The only seeded women who lost were Ana Ivanovic (18) and Vera Douchevina (33).

American Laura Granville also made her first ever third round at the Open in seven tries with a three set win over Nicole Pratt 6-4, 5-7, 7-5. The big upset specialist of defending champ Svetlana Kuznetsova on Day One Ekaterina Bychkova was eliminated by Ivana Lisjak 7-5, 6-1.

After over an hour rain delay, the second night match got underway after 10 PM featuring men's second round action. Second seed Rafael Nadal defeated American Scoville Jenkins in straight sets 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. However, it was anything but routine against the 352nd ranked player with Nadal needing two hours and 29 minutes to complete the victory.

Jenkins, who last year lost easily in his Ashe Stadium debut to 2003 champion Andy Roddick, acquitted himself very well against the French Open champ. With an improved serve that topped out at 133 MPH, solid groundstrokes and an effective net game which produced 45 winners, Jenkins made Nadal work for every point. But the Spaniard was just better on the bigger points, converting four of 13 break chances compared to his opponent's one for six ratio.

After Nadal took the opening set, Jenkins raised his level making for an intense battle in a 56 minute second set. In almost a game of chicken, both players held serve to five all when Jenkins finally was broken by Nadal after a momentary loss of concentration. Two points from 6-5, Jenkins thought Nadal's looping forehand winner down the line went wide, which would have given him 40-love. But replays confirmed that Nadal's shot landed on the outside half of the white line to make the score 30-15 instead. Jenkins then double faulted and lost the next two points giving Nadal the break.

But if Nadal thought it was going to be easy, a determined Jenkins had other ideas, taking the first three points to setup triple break point to force a tiebreak. With the crowd fully behind the American, Nadal showed why he's ranked second, saving all three points including a gutsy forehand winner down the line on a mad scramble. From there, he closed out the set, winning the next two points to take a 2-0 lead, pumping his fist.

Jenkins didn't quit in the third set but Nadal proved to be too much on this night.


Day Four will feature Justine Henin-Hardenne, Lindsay Davenport and Andre Agassi in second round action while the night session will feature Amelie Mauresmo and James Blake.

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