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2003 ATP Men's Final Austalian Open
2003 WTA Women's Final Australian Open

2003 ... Day Twelve  Australia/ Friday
2003 ...Day Eleven Australia / Thursday
2003 ...Day Ten Australia / Wednesday
2003 ...Day Nine Australia / Tuesday
2003 ...Day Eight Australia / Monday
2003 ...Day Seven Australia / Sunday

2003 ...Day Six Australia / Saturday
2003 ...Day Five Australia / Friday
2003 ...Day Four Australia / Thursday
2003 ...Day Three Australia / Wednesday
2003 ...Day Two Australia
2003 ...Day One Australia


2003 ATP Men's Final Australian Open

Agassi earns eighth Grand Slam title

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Andre Agassi just keeps getting better with age.

Andre Agassi has won the past three Australian Opens in which he has played.

The 32-year-old Agassi overwhelmed Rainer Schuettler right from the start and breezed to his fourth Australian Open title 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 Sunday, becoming the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles crown in 31 years.

"There's not a single day that's guaranteed or promised to us, and certainly days like this are very rare,'' Agassi said.

Agassi won his eighth Grand Slam championship. And the victory might also have been enough to lure his wife, Steffi Graf, out of retirement.

Agassi had said earlier that if he won this tournament, Graf would be his partner for mixed doubles in the French Open. After the final point, Agassi gave a quick wink into the stands at Graf, who won 22 Grand Slam singles titles before she stopped playing three years ago.

"There's one positive thing: I think everyone's looking forward to the French Open,'' Schuettler said, said drawing laughs from Agassi, Graf and the fans.

"She's not too pleased about that, but hopefully I'll have 50 years with her to be mad at me about more things," Agassi said. "I don't think anybody appreciates how hard this is going to be for me to get her out there. There is nothing about this she is going to enjoy.

Agassi was the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open in 1972 at 37.

"You never know when it's your last, but I'll never forget being here,'' Agassi told the crowd at the trophy ceremony. "I'll never forget playing for you. I'll never forget the love and support here. I feel like I'm half Australian.''

It was a mismatch from the beginning.

Agassi sent back Schuettler's first serve back so hard that the German player could only push it long.

Agassi won the first eight points of the match. When Schuettler finally won a point to start the third game, he raised his hands in mock triumph.

All-time men's champions
Andre Agassi's victory over Rainer Schuettler in the Australian Open final on Sunday was his eighth Grand Slam title, taking him into joint sixth place on the all-time list of men's champions.
14 - Pete Sampras (U.S.)
12 - Roy Emerson (Australia)
11 - Bjorn Borg (Sweden)
11 - Rod Laver (Australia)
10 - Bill Tilden (U.S.)
8 - Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
8 - Ivan Lendl (Czechoslavakia)
8 - Fred Perry (Britain)
8 - Ken Rosewall (Australia)
8 - Andre Agassi (U.S.)


Agassi now has won the Australian Open four of the seven times he has entered. He also had won in 1995, 2000 and 2001, but injured his wrist on the eve of last year's Australian.

The second-seeded Agassi was in complete control throughout the match, finishing off the 31st-seeded Schuettler in one hour, 16 minutes.

Agassi matched the most-lopsided victory ever at the Australian Open. By losing only five games, he tied the mark last done in 1926 when John Hawkes defeated Jim Willard 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.

Overall, it was the most-lopsided Grand Slam men's final since John McEnroe lost just four games to Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon in 1984.

"There's not a lot to say,'' Schuettler said. "I tried my best, but he was simply too good for me today.''

To go with his four Australian wins, Agassi has won two U.S. Open titles and once each at Wimbledon and the French Open. He's also lost six Grand Slam finals.

His eight Grand Slam titles tie him at sixth with Rosewall, Connors, Ivan Lendl and Fred Perry.

"It means the world to win a Grand Slam," said Agassi, who earned $654,000. "To win eight is beyond my wildest dreams. I've been overwhelmed with winning from the first I experienced it. I play the game with urgency when I'm out there. I feel like I can always see what somebody can do. I'm always trying to impose myself. But to absorb this takes some time."


Agassi also is the fourth man to win at least four Australian titles. Roy Emerson had six, and Rosewall and Jack Crawford four each.

In extending his winning streak at this tournament to 21 matches, he lost only 48 games in seven matches this time.

Agassi collected $654,000 for winning, bringing his career tournament winnings past $26.3 million.

Schuettler collected $327,000 to add to his previous total of $2.3 million.

The 26-year-old Schuettler never had reached even a Grand Slam quarterfinal before this year. His best previous record was reaching the Australian fourth round in 2001.

He gained one break when 2002 runner-up Marat Safin withdrew from their third-round match with a wrist injury.

In the semifinals, he overcame Andy Roddick 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 after the 20-year-old American wore himself out and hurt his wrist in a 4-hour, 59-minute quarterfinal victory over Younes Al Aynaoui

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2003 WTA Women's Final Australian Open

Serena survives Venus, errors to achieve 'Serena Slam'
Jan. 25, 2003

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Serena Slam or Sister Slam -- no matter what you call it, Serena Williams is truly grand.

Williams survived an error-filled match to beat elder sister Venus 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4 Saturday to win the Australian Open for her fourth straight major championship.

Serena added the title to the French Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon crowns she won last year, all against her sister.

This marked only the sixth time a woman has held all four of tennis' major championships at the same time, and the first since Steffi Graf in 1994.

After Venus slumped through four straight errors in the final game, the two hugged at the net. Serena blew kisses to the crowd and then slumped in relief in her chair.

Throughout the 2-hour, 22-minute match, Serena showed how intent she was on winning. Even so, Venus tested her more than in their previous three matches, which Serena won in straight sets.

After losing her serve for 4-5, Serena threw her racket.

In the first-set tiebreaker, she took a ball she thought was out and hit a forehand past Venus, who had stopped playing.

Then she turned on the line judge and shouted, "You just don't call them out, do you?"

After failing to cash in five break points in the final set's eighth game, Serena gave her sister a game point with a netted forehand and slammed down her racket.

Serena had 54 errors to Venus' 51, but beat her 37-28 on winners.

The match was played under cover in the Rod Laver Arena due to the extreme heat in Melbourne, where temperatures reached 108 degrees.

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2003 Day Twelve Australian Open 
    Womens Doubles Final

Schuettler tops Roddick to reach final; Williamses win title
Jan. 24, 2003

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Rainer Schuettler had too much energy for a tired and bruised Andy Roddick .

Schuettler beat the ninth-seeded Roddick 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday in the Australian Open to advance to the final against three-time champion Andre Agassi.

Schuettler, the German seeded 31st, finished off the American in 2 hours, 19 minutes, breaking Roddick at love with a backhand down the line.

Roddick outlasted Morocco's Younes El Aynaoui 21-19 on Wednesday in the longest fifth set in Grand Slam tennis to advance to the semifinals. He injured his wrist during a fifth-set fall and consulted a tournament doctor before the match.

"I knew going out there it was sore. ... but it didn't get better," Roddick said. "I thought if the adrenaline started pumping -- it's a very strong thing -- but it just didn't happen."

The 20-year-old American never considered retiring from the match.

"It was tough but I went out and tried my best," he said. "I wasn't going to pull out of another Grand Slam -- it wasn't going to happen."

A hamstring injury forced him out of a third-round match against No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the 2001 French Open.

Agassi advanced Thursday with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory over South Africa's Wayne Ferreira.

Earlier, Serena and Venus Williams teamed to win their sixth Grand Slam doubles final, an ideal tuneup for their fourth consecutive clash in a major singles final.

The top-seeded sisters won their second Australian Open doubles title with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over second-seeded Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain and Paola Suarez of Argentina.

Roddick struggled throughout his first semifinal in a major, but it didn't wreck his week.

"I can't complain about these two weeks. There have been a lot of special moments for me," he said.

After losing the first set, he had white strapping bound around a blue sweatband on his right wrist and then broke Schuettler twice to race to a 4-0 lead in the second. Roddick tied it at a set apiece with a service winner and again received treatment.

This time, a towel draped over his head to soak up the sweat, Roddick had anti-inflammatory gel rubbed into the wrist and new strapping applied.

Schuettler dominated the third set, working Roddick around the court, forcing him to run.

The German had chances on Roddick's serve in the second and fourth games but didn't break until the sixth, after the American crashed to the court.

Roddick tripped and fell over a plant box at the edge of the court, where he'd picked up an Elmo doll that had tumbled down from the bleachers, and fell behind 4-2 when Schuettler drilled a forehand winner on break point.

"Right now I'm really speechless," Schuettler said. "Sometimes you have a chance to realize a dream. You have to have dreams otherwise it's pretty boring."

Schuettler's longest previous match in the tournament was 2:18 against Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian. The German got the benefit of a walkover into the fourth round when No. 3 Marat Safin withdrew because of a wrist problem.

In all, Schuettler had spent 7:53 on court in five matches, while Roddick had been on court for 13:55.

"He won the big points when he had to ... he played a smart match," Roddick said. "All credit, he deserves to be in the final."

Roddick received treatment from trainer Bill Norris for his tired muscles and cuts and grazes on his hands and knees following his scrambling victory over El Aynaoui in 4:59.

The match finished at 12:47 a.m. Thursday, 1:50 after Roddick saved a match point at 5-4 in the fifth. The last set lasted 2:23.

The 26-year-old Schuettler becomes the first German to reach a Grand Slam final in seven years. Michael Stich won Wimbledon in 1991, and was runner-up to Agassi in the '94 U.S. Open and to Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the '96 French Open.

For Serena and Venus Williams, the doubles final was a tuneup for their singles clash.

Serena, who beat her older sister in the singles finals at the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open last year, will be bidding for her "Serena Slam" when the pair meet Saturday.

It will mark the first time in more than 100 years of Grand Slam tournaments that two women have met in four straight finals.

Whoever wins the latest installment of the Sister Slam series will have a 5-4 career edge in major titles, and a 6-5 edge in head-to-head matches.

The Rod Laver Arena roof was closed before the doubles championship when organizers activated the extreme heat policy. The temperature reached 102 degrees during the match.

In the deciding set, Venus was broken but Serena saved six break points in the third game and sparked a five-game winning run.

Venus set up three match points with an ace and Serena slammed a backhand volley cross court to seal it.

"I think we were pretty much down for the whole match until all of a sudden we were up 5-3, it just happened so quickly," Venus said. "We just concentrated on closing it out."

Their other titles came in the French and U.S. Opens in '99, the Australian in 2000 and at Wimbledon in 2000 and 2002, where they also beat Suarez and Pascual.

In mixed doubles, Martina Navratilova advanced to her first Grand Slam final in almost eight years when she teamed with Leander Paes for a 6-3, 6-1 victory over defending mixed doubles champions Kevin Ullyett and Daniela Hantuchova.

They'll face Todd Woodbridge and Eleni Daniilidou in the final.

The 46-year-old Navratilova won the 1995 Wimbledon mixed doubles championship with Jon Stark for the last of her 56 Grand Slam titles.
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Day Eleven Australia Open ... Thursday, January 23, 2003

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Blisters, a big deficit and two match points couldn't derail the "Serena Slam.''

Serena Williams says her sister is playing better than her.

Now only her sister stands in Serena Williams' way.

Serena rallied from two breaks down in the final set to beat Kim Clijsters 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the Australian Open semifinals Thursday and set up a fourth straight major final against her sister Venus.

"I'm a fighter,'' Serena said. "I didn't come all these miles to lose.''

Serena beat Venus in the finals at the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open last year. One more win means she will be the first woman to hold all four major titles at once since Steffi Graf nine years ago.

The sisters also combined to reach the women's doubles final, beating Lindsay Davenport and Lisa Raymond 6-2, 6-2.

Venus started another big day for the Williams sisters by beating Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-3, 6-3.

"Venus is actually playing a little better than me at this tournament,'' Serena said. "I've just got to pull something out of my back pocket to be able to go on to the next level.''

She said the two probably won't talk about the final in advance.

"I don't like to bring my work home,'' she added.

Serena struggled to hold up her end, bothered by blisters on her right foot and a flurry of unforced errors.

Trailing 5-1 in the final set, Williams held serve and then saved two match points -- one with a volley winner to end a long point -- before breaking Clijsters' serve.

"I really didn't think I'd win it at that stage,'' Williams said. "I just kept fighting, one point at a time. Next thing I knew, the match was over.''

Williams held again to make it 5-4. Clijsters then committed five straight faults to go down 0-30 and Williams eventually broke again to even the match. Williams then held serve to go up 6-5.

Williams broke Clijsters' serve at love to win her 27th straight Grand Slam match, throwing her arms in the air in celebration.

Kim Clijsters' nerves showed in the third set.

Williams struggled early. With a chance to even the first set at 5-all, she doubled faulted on the final two points to lose it. She had 22 unforced errors in the set.

After her sister arrived to cheer her on, Williams took advantage of tentative play by Clijsters to win the second set.

There was a nine-minute delay with Clijsters leading 2-1 in the third set when Williams needed an injury timeout to have blisters on her right foot treated.

Williams hopped around during the rest of the match, bothered by the foot.

Clijsters saved a break point to go up 3-1 then took control when Williams hit a forehand wide for yet another unforced error to make it 4-1. Clijsters held her serve the next game and appeared on her way to her second straight win over Williams.

She beat both Williams sisters to win the WTA Tour Championships last November but couldn't close the deal against Serena this time.

Clijsters said her only regret about her play was the two double faults that started the final set's 10th game. She recovered to 30-all before losing it.

"She just started playing so much more aggressively and hardly made any unforced errors any more,'' the 19-year-old Belgian said.

She said she would not have played her match points any differently, adding that Serena "took such a big risk to really go for her shots.''

After rallying to win a three-set match against Emilie Loit in the first round, Williams rolled into the semifinals, losing only 15 games in her last four matches.

Graf held all four major titles after adding the 1994 Australian title to her victories in the other majors in 1993.

Graf also is one of only three women with a true Grand Slam. She did that in 1988, following Maureen Connolly in 1953 and Margaret Court in 1970.

After a relatively easy win to open the day, Venus skipped off the court, clapping her hand against her raised racket, and then waited for her sister to play.

"It's so exciting. You know, I've struggled and failed, done everything but get this close to winning the Australian Open,'' said Venus, who never had gone past the semifinals here before and lost in the quarterfinals last year.

But Venus has made four straight Grand Slam finals and again her sister is standing in the way of a championship.

"Four in a row is real nice,'' she said. "I guess, at this point, I have the best opportunity to take the title home. At least, I'm in a position to be a winner. Hopefully, this time I'll be the victor.''


Venus Williams hasn't lost a set in the tournament.

Henin-Hardenne, who recovered from cramps late in the match to beat Lindsay Davenport on Sunday, tested Williams at times with deep, heavy shots.

Williams sometimes was overpowering on her serve, starting the second game of the second set with three of her eventual seven aces.

But she also struggled at times with her serve, losing the third game of the match with two double faults.

Serving for the match at 5-2 in the second, she reached her first match point but double faulted three times and lost the game.

She wrapped up the 74-minute match when Henin hit a forehand long to set up match point and then hit just wide with a forehand aimed at Williams' open backhand corner.

"She's a great player. It seems like I'm playing her all the time in the big matches,'' said Williams, who improved to 7-1 against the 20-year-old Belgian.

Henin-Hardenne, the 2001 Wimbledon runner-up to Venus Williams, said that after her 3½-hour victory over Davenport, she still wasn't fresh.

"Venus played much more aggressively than me,'' she said. "She returned well, she served beautifully and came more often to the net.''

 


 

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Day Ten Australia / Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Roddick finally puts away El Aynaoui in epic five-hour quarterfinal

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Serena Williams moved two victories away from the "Serena Slam" Wednesday, but she surrenders the spotlight Wednesday at the Australian Open.

That's because No. 9 Andy Roddick defeats No. 18 Younes El Aynaoui 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4, 21-19 in an epic five-set match that's over five hours. With the victory, Roddick advances to his first Grand Slam semifinal.

Roddick will play Rainer Schuettler, seeded 31st, who reached the semifinals with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 victory over Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian .

"It's like a dream come true. First time I'm in the semis," said Schuettler, who is in his 18th Grand Slam tournament. "I won it in four, it's unbelievable."

Nalbandian, seeded 10th, fell apart after the second set, missing frequently as he tried to get the ball past the speedy German.

Schuettler gained a free pass into the fourth round when 2002 Australian Open runner-up Marat Safin withdrew with a wrist injury, and then beat James Blake to reach his first ever quarterfinal at a major tournament.

"Maybe I was lucky in the third round, but I'm in the semis," he said.

He was waiting for the winner of a night match between No. 9 Andy Roddick and No. 18 Younes El Aynaoui, who upset No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to reach the quarterfinals.

Serena Williams reached the Australian Open semifinals with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Meghann Shaughnessy, whose drop shot led to the twisted ankle that kept Williams out of last year's tournament.

Standing in the way of the Serena Slam is Kim Clijsters, the last player to beat Williams or her sister Venus.

"I'm definitely thrilled to get to the semifinal. It's my first in Australia," said Serena, who hit eight aces, served at up to 121 mph and lost only 10 points on her serve.

Williams went on to beat her sister for the title in the year's three remaining Grand Slam tournaments.

Clijsters, who beat both Williams sisters to win the WTA Tour Championship last November, advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Anastasia Myskina. The 19-year-old Belgian now has lost only 16 games in 10 sets.

Williams had trouble only in finishing the 65-minute match. Shaughnessy saved one match point in the six-deuce seventh game of the second set, and two more in the last game before Williams produced a final service winner.

Williams said Clijsters "is playing great here. She's also a fan favorite and such a nice person, so it should be good."

On the other side of the draw, Venus Williams plays her semifinal Thursday against Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne.

"I'm glad to get to the finals any time," Serena said. "I also want the best for my sister, so if she gets there I'll be glad for her also."

Myskina is predicting that Clijsters will win this tournament.

"I think right now Kim is the best player in the world," she said. "I think she feels like she's playing at home here."

Clijsters said she has gained confidence from her string of 24 victories in her last 25 matches.

But, she said, in the big matches, the Williams sisters "can play even better when they have to. ... You have to grab every chance you get to break them."

Clijsters, the 2001 French Open runner-up, kept Myskina on the run with a heavy forehand, which accounted for 20 of her 27 winners.

She also won points with outstanding hustle, especially against the 21-year-old Russian's drop shots.

Clijsters lost her serve twice in the second set, but allowed Myskina to hold serve only three times in the match.

Myskina had won two of their previous four matches, but said Clijsters cut down sharply on errors this time.

"She's better than Serena and Venus right now. She's got more confidence than Serena and Venus," Myskina said.

Clijsters spends time in Australia with her boyfriend, men's No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, and said that away from home, "to have a full box supporting you, it's always great."

On the men's side, Andre Agassi now gets to pick on someone his own age.

Using the slick strokes and tenacity that have carried him to seven Grand Slam tournament titles, the 32-year-old Agassi easily dismissed yet another younger opponent Tuesday to reach the semifinals.
 
The 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sebastien Grosjean kept Agassi unbeaten at Melbourne Park since 1999, a 19-match streak. He won the title here in 1995, 2000 and 2001, then skipped last year's tournament with an injury.

Playing a string of opponents 27 and younger, Agassi has dropped just one set.

"I make a guy really pay the price to beat me," he said. "Where I feel like it's been a good tournament for me up to now is ... I haven't spent any unnecessary energy."

And now he has more than 48 hours to rest before playing Wayne Ferreira in the semifinals.

The 31-year-old Ferreira, the only unseeded quarterfinalist, upset French Open runner-up Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 6-1. Ferreira called it "one of my greatest wins."

The South African is playing in his 49th consecutive Grand Slam event, but the match against Agassi will be his first semifinal at a major since the 1992 Australian Open.

Agassi has dominated Ferreira over their long careers, winning all 10 of their matches -- nine in straight sets.

Agassi worked the 12th-seeded Grosjean around the court and increased the tempo at the decisive moments.

Grosjean, an Australian Open semifinalist in 2001, couldn't match Agassi's consistency, timing or intensity.

"He never dropped his level," Grosjean said. "I lost against a great Agassi today."

Grosjean made only 47 percent of his first serves.

"It was really tough because I had no serve," Grosjean said. "When you're up against the best returner of serve in the world, you're in trouble."

The second-seeded American never has relied on his serving for success, and he didn't exactly stun Grosjean with sizzlers, either.

Agassi might have some extra incentive for winning another Grand Slam title.

He told the Australian Open's official Web site that wife Steffi Graf -- who won 22 major championships before retiring -- agreed to play mixed doubles with him at the French Open if he wins it all in Melbourne.

"You think I'm an inspiration at 32? You should see her at 33," Agassi said. "She always wins. ... The problem is, I can't keep my eye on the ball."

Agassi never hit a serve faster than 117 mph. That's 8 mph slower than what Venus Williams produced en route to her 6-4, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Daniela Hantuchova.

Like Agassi's lopsided record against Ferreira, Williams owns a 6-1 career edge over Henin-Hardenne.

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Australian Open .. Tuesday, January 21, 2003

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Venus Williams slammed aces; Andre Agassi executed precision serves.

Both advanced to the Australian Open semifinals Tuesday as Williams moved one match closer to another showdown with sister Serena, and Agassi neared a fourth title in this Grand Slam event.

After fans loudly called some of her shots out, Williams responded with a burst of winners midway through the first set of her 6-4, 6-3 victory over seventh-seeded Daniela Hantuchova.

She will meet fifth-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne in the semifinal. The Belgian beat Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-2.

Agassi enjoyed another stress-free match -- a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over France's Sebastien Grosjean. He next plays Wayne Ferreira in the semifinals. The South African upset fourth-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

Venus made the most of her serve, hitting six aces at speeds up to 125 mph.

"I was surprised when I saw that speed," she said. "I got a bit distracted, so I said, 'Venus, focus back on the match."'

She's been concentrating on accuracy over speed since producing the fastest recorded serve in women's tennis -- 127 mph in 1998. But her booming serve had her thinking of changing tactics.

"Now I'm going to start trying to see if I can serve it even bigger than the record," Williams said.

Williams got match point with a backhand crosscourt winner on the run, losing her earring in the process. She replaced the jewelry, composed herself and won on the next point when Hantuchova sent a backhand long.

Venus gave Hantuchova room to maneuver. She had five double faults and 32 unforced errors. She also dropped a service game in each set.

"I was fortunate to get through," said Williams, seeded second. "I don't think Daniela played as well as she wanted to today."

Henin-Hardenne, who tumbled to the court with leg cramps in a 3½-hour fourth-round victory over Lindsay Davenport on Sunday, dropped her opening service game and trailed 2-0 before winning eight in a row.

"I've played a lot of close matches against Venus. I believe in my chances and I will go on court to win the match," said Henin-Hardenne, who lost to Williams in the 2001 Wimbledon final.

A semifinal victory by Williams could set up a fourth consecutive Grand Slam final against her sister. Serena faces Meghann Shaughnessy in a Wednesday quarterfinal and is aiming for a fourth consecutive major to complete her "Serena Slam."

Agassi didn't serve faster than 117 mph in beating Grosjean and advancing to the semis of a Grand Slam tournament for the 23rd time.

Agassi, seeded second, hasn't lost a match at Melbourne Park since 1999. He has dropped just one set in this tournament -- against Nicolas Escude in the third round.

He said the Australian Open heat works to his advantage.

"It helps that it's January," he said. "I think a lot of players take a break at the end (of the year). That's where I learned to prepare and come here ready."

The 32-year-old American worked Grosjean around the court and increased the tempo at the decisive moments.

In the eighth game of the second set, Agassi trailed 30-0 on Grosjean's serve. He reeled off consecutive backhand winners and forced back-to-back errors to clinch the set.

Grosjean, seeded 12th, was coming off a five-set victory over Felix Mantilla in which he rallied from two sets down. He had played 3½ hours longer in his previous matches than Agassi.

Grosjean, an Australian Open semifinalist in 2001, couldn't match the consistency, timing or intensity of the seven-time Grand Slam champion.

"He never dropped his level," Grosjean said. "I lost against a great Agassi today."

Grosjean made only 47 percent of his first serves.

"It was really tough because I had no serve," Grojean said. "When you're up against the best returner of serve in the world, you're in trouble."

Ferreira, playing in his 49th consecutive Grand Slam, advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal since the 1992 Australian Open. He set up his second match point with a forehand winner and won with an inside-out forehand.

Ferrero, runner-up at the last French Open, struggled with his forehand and couldn't combat the relentless groundstrokes of his 31-year-old opponent.

Ferreira put only 53 percent of his first serves into play, but had 46 winners to 30 by Ferrero.

"I played so well from the back and hit my backhand so well, so that helped me out from my bad serving," he said.

Ferrero said he lost his confidence after squandering breaks in the first two sets and losing both in tiebreakers.

"Losing the first two sets 7-6, 7-6, it's very tough to come back," he said. "Tennis is like this."

If Agassi gets past Ferreira and then wins a fourth title Down Under, the victory spur plans for the next Grand Slam -- a comeback by wife Steffi Graf at the French Open.

Agassi wants her to play mixed doubles with him in Paris if he wins at Melbourne Park. The 33-year-old Graf retired in July 1999, weeks after winning at Roland Garros for her 22nd Grand Slam singles title.

In the fourth round Monday, No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt's hope of becoming the first Australian men's champion in this event since 1976 vanished under a barrage of aces by Younes El Aynaoui.

El Aynaoui, seeded 18th, allowed Hewitt just three break points -- and no breaks of serve -- in the 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 upset.

Andy Roddick will face El Aynaoui in the quarters. Roddick lost the first two sets against Russian Davis Cup hero Mikhail Youzhny before winning 6-7 (4-7), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.

Rainer Schuettler moved on the quarters with a 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory over James Blake and faces 10th-seeded David Nalbandian. The Wimbledon finalist ousted No. 6 Roger Federer 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN
MEN’S REVIEW
Day Nine – 21 January, 2003

Agassi claims semifinal spot in straight sets

With his 63 62 62 defeat of Sebastien Grosjean, three-time champion Andre Agassi won his 19th consecutive match at Melbourne Park to become the first 2003 Australian Open semifinalist.

At age 32 years, 272 days (on the day of the Australian Open final), Agassi is the eighth-oldest Australian Open men’s singles semifinalist of the Open Era. Of the seven men who were older than Agassi, only Ken Rosewall went on to win the Australian Open title, doing so in 1972 at age 37 years, 62 days.

Rank
(oldest) Year Player Age* Semifinal Result/ Final Result
1. 1977
(Jan) Ken Rosewall 42 years, 68 days lost to Roscoe Tanner 64 36 64 61
2. 1976 Ken Rosewall 41 years, 63 days lost to Mark Edmondson 61 26 62 64
3. 1972 Ken Rosewall 37 years, 62 days d. Allan Stone 76 61 36 76/
d. Mal Anderson 76 63 75
4. 1972 Mal Anderson 36 years, 306 days d. Alex Metreveli 63 76 76/
lost to Ken Rosewall 76 63 75
5. 1971 Ken Rosewall 36 years, 73 days d. Tom Okker 62 76 64/
lost to Ken Rosewall 61 75 63
6. 1978 Arthur Ashe 35 years, 177 days lost to John Marks 64 62 26 16 97
7. 1979 Colin Dibley 35 years, 105 days lost to John Sadri 64 76 67 64
8. 2003 Andre Agassi 32 years, 272 days ???
9. 1976 John Newcombe 31 years, 226 days d. Ray Ruffels 64 64 76/
lost to Mark Edmondson 67 63 76 61
10. 1969 Andres Gimeno 31 years, 177 days d. Ray Ruffels 62 119 62/
lost to Rod Laver 63 64 75

Two more 30-plus men could advance to the semis, if Wayne Ferreira (31 years, 133 days*) can upset No. 4 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero on Tuesday evening, and No. 18 seed Younes El Aynaoui (31 years 136 days*) can get past No. 9 seed Andy Roddick on Wednesday. They would enter the above list immediately below Andres Gimeno.

There have never been three men age 30 or older through to the Australian Open semifinals in the Open Era, but there have been two 30-plus semifinalists here four times previously.

1969 Australian Open Andres Gimeno 31 years, 177 days*
Rod Laver 30 years 171 days*

1972 Australian Open Ken Rosewall 37 years, 62 days*
Mal Anderson 36 years, 306 days*

1975 Australian Open John Newcombe 30 years, 223 days*
Dick Crealy 30 years, 105 days*

1976 Australian Open Ken Rosewall 41 years, 63 days*
John Newcombe 31 years, 226 days*

* - ages are at the last day of the tournament
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Australian Open .. Day 8 ...  Monday, January 20, 2003

El Aynaoui shocks Hewitt; Serena, Roddick reach quarters

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Younes El Aynaoui figured to have only a slugger's chance against top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt.

He ended up knocking him out of the Australian Open.

"It was just too hard the way he was serving. It was a little bit out of my control," Hewitt said.

El Aynaoui, seeded 18th, won 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, derailing Hewitt's hopes of becoming the first Australian to win the Grand Slam event since 1976.

"I gave it everything I had and he was too good," said Hewitt, the 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion.

While Hewitt dropped out, top-ranked Serena Williams beat Greece's Eleni Daniilidou 6-4, 6-1 to move into the quarterfinals and closer to completing her "Serena Slam."

El Aynaoui didn't drop a service game and gave Hewitt just three break point chances. The Moroccan had 33 aces -- the fastest at 131 mph -- and put 70 percent of his first serves in play.

He also hit 24 forehand winners and set up match point with a jumping overhead smash.

"I hope I didn't give away all the power I have -- there are still more matches left," said the 31-year-old El Aynaoui, who earned a standing ovation from the crowd.


Younes El Aynaoui overpowers Lleyton Hewitt with his big forehand and poweful serve. (Getty Images)
On match point, Hewitt's backhand sailed wide, sending El Aynaoui into the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the third time. He lost to Hewitt last year in the U.S. Open quarters.

"I served well the whole way," El Aynaoui said. "The most difficult thing for me is to keep a very high level of play and Lleyton helped me a little bit -- I don't think he played his best."

El Aynaoui's power and consistency frustrated Hewitt, who disputed close calls, yelled at the umpire and line judges and got after a courtside photographer for distracting him.

Hewitt only lost one service game, double-faulting on break point in the seventh game of the fourth set.

Williams dropped serve twice in the first set before overpowering the 20-year-old Daniilidou 6-4, 6-1 to set up a match against fellow American Meghann Shaughnessay, a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 winner over Russian Elena Bovina .

"I got out to a slow start, which is something I don't want to do whenever I play again," Williams said. "I'm going to have to pick up my game a little quicker."

There was nothing slow about Kim Clijsters' 6-3, 6-1 victory over South Africa's Amanda Coetzer in the first night match.

The Belgian player, seeded to face Williams in the semifinals, advanced to play No. 8 Anastasia Myskina of Russia, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 winner over No. 10 Chanda Rubin.

El Aynaoui will play Andy Roddick in the quarters. The American rallied to beat Russian Davis Cup hero Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (4-7), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 in a battle of two 20-year-olds.

"It felt like he was playing pingpong with me in the first two sets," Roddick said. "I was actually pretty frustrated but I didn't let it get the best of me. Even when I was down I felt for some reason like I still had a chance."

El Aynaoui also had his nervous moments.

He gave a break chance to Hewitt in the final game when his wild forehand went wide. He'd only just recovered from 15-30 with a forehand that struck the net and dropped onto Hewitt's side of the court. The Moroccan immediately held up both hands to apologize.

Hewitt, needing to get back on even terms, slammed a forehand into the net and then smashed his racket into the ground.

"I knew I didn't get broken the whole match and that was not the moment it was going to happen, but it almost happened," El Aynaoui said.

"I was so nervous, I was realizing I was going to win the match. I had a little bit of luck with some good serves. I kept on believing I could finish it."

The other 30-plus player through to the quarters is three-time champion Andre Agassi, who'll face France's Sebastien Grosjean on Tuesday.

Germany's Rainer Schuettler also advanced, beating American James Blake 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

Williams played the last match on center court before organizers suspended play on outside courts for two hours, citing the temperature of 95 degrees and high humidity.

Play continued on center court, where the roof remained open, and resumed on outside courts at 4:15 p.m.

Shaughnessy, a 23-year-old American seeded 25th, reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event for the first time by winning her 11th consecutive match. She won her third career title in a warmup tournament at Canberra this month.

"To beat Serena, you've got to attack her," Shaughnessy said. "She's such a great player it's going to take someone really going after the match."

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

MEN’S REVIEW

Day Eight – 20 January, 2003


Round of 16 remains a barrier for Hewitt

Top seed Lleyton Hewitt has been knocked out in the round of 16 by No. 18 seed Younes El Aynaoui 67 76 76 64. El Aynaoui had lost three of the pair’s four previous meetings, including four-set defeats at 2001 Wimbledon and the 2002 US Open.  It is the Moroccan’s second appearance in the Australian Open quarterfinals, after reaching the same stage in 2000. 

For Hewitt, this marks the seventh successive year that he has failed to progress beyond the round of 16 of his home Grand Slam tournament. Interestingly it took Patrick Rafter nine attempts to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, going on to a semifinal finish on his last appearance here in 2001.
  
A look at the quarterfinalists

Three-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi is the only former Grand Slam winner left in the main draw. 

 Pending the result of Roger Federer’s night match with David Nalbandian on Monday, the full list of players remaining in the draw is as follows*:

 

Player

Country

Age

Best Aus Open

performance

Best Grand Slam performance

Hard

titles

(2) Andre Agassi

USA

32

W 95, 00, 01

W Australian Open 95, 00, 01;

Roland Garros 99;

Wimbledon 92; US Open 94, 99

41

(4) Juan Carlos Ferrero

ESP

22

QF 03

RU Roland Garros 02

2

*(6) Roger Federer

SUI

21

R16 02, 03

QF Roland Garros 01, Wimbledon 01

3

(9) Andy Roddick 

USA

20

QF 03

QF Australian Open 03;

US Open 01, 02

2

*(10) David Nalbandian

ARG

21

R16 03

RU Wimbledon 02

0

(12) Sebastien Grosjean

FRA

24

SF 01

SF Australian Open 01;

Roland Garros 01

1

 (18) Younes El Aynaoui

MAR

31

QF 00, 03

QF Australian Open 00, 03;

US Open 02

1

(31) Rainer Schuettler

GER

26

QF 03

QF Australian Open 03

2

Wayne Ferreira

RSA

31

SF 92

SF Australian 92

10

* prior to Federer v Nalbandian round of 16 match

 Roddick earns first ever comeback win

American Andy Roddick scored his first ever win from two-sets-to-love down to secure his place in the quarterfinals. The No. 9 seed defeated No. 25 seed Mikhail Youzhny 67 36 75 63 62 to score his first win in three meetings with the Russian. This is his first Grand Slam quarterfinal outside the US Open.
 
Going into the match, Youzhny was unbeaten in three five-set matches, while Roddick had won only one of his three previous five-setters.
 
Sydney semifinalists prosper in Melbourne

Rainer Schuettler defeated American James Blake 63 64 16 63 to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at his 18th attempt. Schuettler has been carrying German hopes this year in the absence of 2002 semifinalist Tommy Haas with a shoulder injury.

Schuettler’s success means that three of the four semifinalists from the warm-up event at Sydney have reached the Australian Open quarterfinals. Two other Sydney semifinalists, No. 4 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero and Wayne Ferreira, face each other on Tuesday. 

The fourth Sydney semifinalist and eventual champion, Hyung-Taik Lee, lost in the second round at Melbourne Park to No. 2 seed Andre Agassi 61 60 60.

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN REVIEW
Day Seven –  Sunday, January 19, 2003

Venus cruises, Henin-Hardenne escapes Davenport

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Venus Williams had Nicole Pratt sprawling and sighing.

Justine Henin-Hardenne was in pain and fearing she was finished.

Both advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Sunday as Henin-Hardenne came back from 1-4 and a late painful cramp to beat Lindsay Davenport 7-5, 5-7, 9-7 in 3 hours, 13 minutes.

Williams stayed on course for a fourth straight Grand Slam final against sister Serena by beating Pratt 6-3, 6-2 in 1:17.

Venus had to save 11 break points and committed 33 errors, but she offset them with 35 winners.

Meanwhile, three-time men's champion Andre Agassi had an easy path to the quarterfinals when Argentina's Guillermo Coria withdrew with a foot injury after Agassi pulled ahead 6-1, 3-1.

Henin-Hardenne, the fifth seed, went all out to win her battle with the American Davenport, who was seeded ninth.

"I thought I was going to die but I played it with my heart and just went for it," said Henin-Hardenne, the 2001 Wimbledon runner-up.

In the next-to-last game, "I was cramping and then I thought the match was over for me."

Henin-Hardenne took advantage of her own speed and her opponent's errors to take the first set and go up 4-1 in the second.

But Davenport won 10 of the next 12 games, moving to a 4-1 lead in the final set. After Henin-Hardenne broke serve three times for 5-all - rebounding from 40-15 in the in the eighth game - Davenport saved a match point in the 14th and reached 7-all.

Then, serving at 0-15, Henin-Hardenne fell to the court, holding her left leg. After treatment, she came back and served an ace, held for 8-7 and then broke Davenport again, winning with an inside-out forehand serve return.

It was her first victory in six meetings with Davenport, a former No. 1 who has won three majors, including the 2000 Australian.

Davenport had surgery on her right knee last year and missed the first three majors. But she staged a stirring comeback at the U.S. Open, advancing to the semifinals to get back into the top 10.

The 26-year-old Davenport said Sunday's match probably was the longest, most dramatic one she'd ever played.

"I can't kick myself too much. ... If someone can come up with a lot of winners and a lot of great shots, then that's good," she said.

She said Henin-Hardenne appeared to loosen up after her cramp, and still was able to chase down shots.

"I played her a lot of times when she's been up and couldn't quite put it away," Davenport said. "Today she came up with some great shots at the end."

"I tried up until the very end," she added. "I'm very proud of that."

Henin-Hardenne next plays Spain's Virginia Ruano Pascual, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Czech player Denisa Chladkova.

Venus Williams now faces a quarterfinal against No. 7 Daniela Hantuchova, who extended her to three sets in the third round last year, and a possible semifinal against Henin-Hardenne.

Hantuchova, a 19-year-old from Slovakia, beat No. 12 Patty Schnyder 7-5, 6-3.

Serena, the world's top-ranked player and winner of the last three majors, plays her fourth-round match Monday against 18th-seeded Eleni Daniilidou of Greece. Serena missed last year's Australian with an ankle injury before beating Venus in the title matches at the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.

Pratt, an Aussie ranked 54th, had the center court crowd behind her as she strained to reach every ball against Venus.

In the fourth game, Williams caught her sitting back on her heels with a forehand blast right at her as Pratt charged the net. In the seventh game, Pratt sprawled wide to return a serve and scrambled up too late to reach Williams' next shot.

Several times when Pratt thought she had a point, Williams hit a winner past her on an all-out sprint.

Heading into the tournament's second week, Williams said that "maybe the first week is harder. Players come out against me, feel loose and relaxed and play good tennis. At least in the second week, I know what's coming."

She said Pratt scrambled well and returned some balls she didn't expect, but that she had anticipated a tough match from the Australian.

"It was her first appearance in a (Grand Slam) round of 16. She's thinking, 'Why not go farther?" I was thinking the same thing," Williams said.

Williams also said one of her goals this year is to attack the net more often.

"I think I'm most successful when I'm at the net when I take advantage of my reach," she said.

Pratt berated herself for failing to convert game points, but added: "She stepped it up. She hit some great shots at times I thought I played almost the perfect point."

Venus later joined Serena in a third-round doubles match, and the top-ranked sisters defeated Martina Navratilova and Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.

Hantuchova, who reached her third consecutive Grand Slam event quarterfinal, went all out in her match, spraying 39 errors while hitting 27 winners. She was helped by 27 misses by Schnyder, who had won three of their five previous meetings.

Noting that she nearly beat Williams last year, Hantuchova said, "Maybe I needed more experience at the time and that's something I feel I have now. That's why I feel ready and very optimistic about this match."

On the men's side, No. 4 Juan Carlos Ferrero, the French Open runner-up, advanced with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 victory over 18-year-old Mario Ancic of Croatia.

Ferrero next meets Wayne Ferreira, who beat Armenian Sargis Sargsian 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
 

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

MEN’S REVIEW

Day Seven – 19 January, 2003

 Coria injury equals retirement record

Guillermo Coria was forced to retire from his round of 16 match against Andre Agassi on Sunday afternoon with severe calluses and a blister on his right foot. The Argentine was trailing 16 13 when he was forced to quit. 

This brings the total number of men’s singles retirements at the Australian Open to eight, which ties the event record set in 1998. The record number of retirements at any Grand Slam event is nine, which occurred at the 2002 US Open.

 [Please note that the 2003 figure does not include Marat Safin’s withdrawal before his match with Rainer Schuettler.]

Men’s Singles Retirements at the 2003 Australian Open

Player

Round

Opponent

Reason for retirement

Andrei Pavel

1st

Renzo Furlan

Lower back injury

Justin Gimelstob

1st

Younes El Aynaoui

Cramping

Jerome Golmard

1st

David Nalbandian

Back injury

Gregory Carraz

1st

Jose Acasuso

Abdominal muscle injury

Wayne Arthurs

2nd

Fabrice Santoro

Right calf muscle injury

Julian Knowle

2nd 

Andreas Vinciguerra

Torn right calf muscle

Xavier Malisse

3rd 

David Nalbandian

Right forearm injury

Guillermo Coria

4th

Andre Agassi

Calluses/blister on right foot

Ferreira sees off giantkiller

South African veteran Wayne Ferreira has reached the Australian Open quarterfinals for the second successive year.  The unseeded 31-year-old, making his 13th consecutive appearance at the event, scored a 63 64 36 63 round of 16 victory over Sargis Sargsian, the third round conqueror of Mark Philippoussis.
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Australian Open ...
Day Six –  Saturday, January 18, 2003

Serena, Kim cruising
Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams have cruised into the fourth-round at Australian Open 2003 with effortless victories on Day Six, while Amanda Coetzer, Eleni Daniilidou, Meghann Shaughnessy and Elena Bovina have also advanced.

Hewitt's easy progress
World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt needed just 90 minutes to defeat little-known Czech Radek Stepanek to safely advance to the round-of-16. And the news got better for Hewitt when likely semi-finalist and Russian No.3 seed Marat Safin was forced to withdraw with a wrist injury.

Woody's Word: the centre court cauldron
How does one approach playing the No.1 player in the world on the centre court at a Grand Slam? Mark Woodforde slips into Radek Stepanek's shoes and explains that it's a big ask to expect Stepanek not to be breathing very heavily in the first few games, at least.

Clijsters poised
Every player dreams of Grand Slam success and for Kim Clijsters her breakthrough to the ranks of 'major winner' could come at Australian Open 2003.

Safin, Malisse pull out
Last year's Australian Open runner-up Marat Safin has been forced out of the tournament due to a wrist injury, while Belgian Xavier Malisse has retired during the fourth set of his third-round clash with David Nalbandian because of a sore arm.

Successful doubles day for US
Americans have dominated proceedings in the doubles on Day Six of Australian Open 2003. Californian brothers and No.2 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan didn't even have to step onto the court to advance to the third-round after Xavier Malisse and Sargis Sargsian were forced to withdraw. Flying the American flag for the ladies were Lindsay Davenport and Lisa Raymond.

No mistaking Myskina
While the Williams sisters, Kim Clijsters and the new glamour girl of tennis, Daniela Hantuchova are always under scrutiny at Australian Open 2003, there is one Russian who has slipped through to the fourth-round. Seeded No.8 here, Anastasia Myskina last year climbed up the rankings from No.59 to No.11 to establish herself as one of the players on the rise.

Super Mario gets surreal
Art-loving 19-year-old Mario Ancic toured the Salvador Dali exhibition at Melbourne's Southbank on Day Six of Australian Open 2003, taking in the largest collection of the Spanish surrealist's art works ever seen in Australia.

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN REVIEW
Day Five –  Friday, January 17, 2003

Agassi advances; Venus, Davenport win in straight sets

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Andre Agassi bunted, blocked and even hit baseline winners off his shoelaces to fend off Nicolas Escude in the third round of the Australian Open.

Escude attacked Agassi's serve and rushed to the net 65 times. The Frenchman hit 60 winners and had 20 breakpoint chances, but still ended up falling 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday.

"My experience in these Grand Slam tournaments is you need to play well at the right time," said Agassi, a three-time Australian Open winner. "Today was a day that was pretty dangerous for me. ... It was a question of playing the big points well.

"I thought Nicolas was hitting the ball really well, timing it superbly on the returns, putting me under a lot of pressure. So it's good to get through."

The second-seeded Agassi, riding a 17-match winning streak in the event, will face Argentina's Guillermo Coria in the fourth round. Coria beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport advanced to the fourth round of the women's event, with Williams beating Germany's Anca Barna 6-1, 6-4, and Davenport, the 2000 winner, routing No. 24 Tatiana Panova of Russia 6-2, 6-1.

Williams, winner of four Grand Slam events and runner-up to sister Serena in the last three, trailed 1-4, 0-40 in the second, before pulling away.

"I feel better with every match," Williams said. "In the first set, I played very well. In the second, she lifted the level of her game. She started getting a lot of balls back and I started missing.

"At 4-1, I decided to miss a lot less. I wasn't keen on losing that game -- it was hot out there and it wouldn't have been extremely nice to go to a third set."

Williams is seeded second behind her top-ranked sister, meaning they can only meet in the final.

She advanced to face Australia's Nicole Pratt, who upset 23rd-seeded Paola Suarez of Argentina 7-5, 6-4 to reach the fourth round for the first time in 31 Grand Slam tournaments.

Davenport, who missed the first three majors last year after an operation on her right knee, will play No. 5 Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik.

Henin-Hardenne, a Wimbledon finalist in 2001 and runner-up last year, accused Davenport of faking an injury in their last match, adding spice to the pairing.

"It's nice to be the underdog ... well the semi-underdog," Davenport said. "It's funny, it's such a different position for me to be in. I still feel like I belong at the top of the game, so I don't feel I'll be happy with a loss."

Against Escude, Agassi held his ground in the back court, saving 16 break points and frustrating the Frenchman into 44 unforced errors before finishing him off with a strong forehand winner down the line on his second match point.

"I was down many break points throughout the whole third set. I felt like it was love-30 or 15-40 every time I went to the baseline to serve," Agassi said. "I hit a few good shots down breakpoint, bustled, he made a few errors."

Escude wasted six break points in the ninth game of the third set.

"All you can have after a match like that is regrets," Escude said. "When I think of the number of chances I didn't take, it was a catastrophe.

"I take no satisfaction from that kind of match, just an enormous feeling of frustration. I've never been so close to beating him and I've never felt so bad after."

Felix Mantilla eliminated French Open champion Albert Costa, seeded eighth, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in an all-Spanish duel.

Another Spaniard, fourth-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero, beat France's Fabrice Santoro 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.

South Africa's Wayne Ferreira rallied to beat American Mardy Fish 2-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-0; No. 12 Sebastien Grosjean of France defeated Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador 6-1, 6-3, 6-3; and Mario Ancic, the 18-year-old Croat who is the youngest player remaining, beat Australia's Peter Luczak 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2.

In a late women's match, seventh-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia beat Australia's Samantha's Stosur 6-4, 6-2.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN
MEN’S REVIEW
Day Five – 17 January, 2003

Ironman Mantilla marches on
Spain’s Felix Mantilla scored his third successive five-set victory to reach the round of 16. The unseeded 28-year-old upset No. 8 seed and fellow Spaniard Albert Costa 36 63 46 61 63 to avenge his first round defeat at last year’s Australian Open.

This was the second time Mantilla had overturned a two-sets-to-one deficit, after defeating No. 27 seed Jan-Michael Gambill 57 64 46 63 62 in the second round. In the first round he overcame Mariano Zabaleta 46 75 63 46 64, and he has now spent a total of 10 hours 12 minutes on court.

Mantilla now takes on 2001 semifinalist Sebastien Grosjean, who in contrast has only dropped one set in his three matches.

Fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero also fought back from two-sets-to-one down to book his place in the round of 16. The No. 4 seed defeated Frenchman Fabrice Santoro 46 63 46 62 75.

Comeback king Ferreira wins again
For the second successive year South Africa’s Wayne Ferreira has fought back from the brink of defeat to earn his place in the round of 16 at the Australian Open. The 31-year-old veteran lost the first two sets against American Mardy Fish, and also trailed 14 in the fourth, before reeling off 11 games in a row to win 26 36 61 64 60.

In the third round here last year, Ferreira staged an astonishing comeback against Ivan Ljubicic. The Croat led 64 64 51 and held two match points at 53, but Ferreira fought back to win 46 46 76 63 75.

Ferreira’s career five-set win-loss record now stands at an impressive 27-12. He has won his last five five-set matches at the Australian Open, and six out of seven in total.

Agassi survives French test
Second seed Andre Agassi dropped his first set of the tournament against Nicolas Escude, but went on to secure his 17th successive victory at Melbourne Park. The American defeated the French No. 29 seed 62 36 63 64 and now faces unseeded Guillermo Coria for a place in the quarterfinals. The two players met in the second round at 2002 TMS Cincinnati, with Agassi a 60 62 winner.

Wild card Luczak bows out
Australian Peter Luczak’s fairytale run at the 2003 Australian Open is over. The Polish-born 23-year-old, the last surviving wild card in the event, lost a battle of debutants against 18-year-old Mario Ancic 26 76 64 62.

Ancic, who upset Roger Federer when he made his Grand Slam debut at 2002 Wimbledon, will next bid for the biggest win of his short career against No. 4 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero.
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Australian Open-- Day Four –  Thursday, January 16, 2003

Serena rebounds on Day 4 in Open; Seles, Kuerten fall

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Serena Williams is still trying to keep up with big sister Venus.

After beating Els Callens 6-4, 6-0 Thursday in the second round of the Australian Open, Serena admitted Venus' one-sided victory over Ansley Cargill the previous night inspired her.

"She played a great match, I was motivated after watching her, thinking, 'OK, she wants to be No. 1 again,"' said Serena, seeking her fourth consecutive Grand Slam title.

The top-ranked American's opener against Emilie Loit was too close for comfort. The Frenchwoman took her to three sets, pounding her with an aggressive forehand and frustrating her so much that she groaned an obscenity. She was warned for it and fined $1,500.

Serena jumped to No. 1 in the world with victories in the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, beating Venus in all three championship matches to set up a shot at the "Serena Slam."

"I have five more matches to go. It's going to be really tough," Williams said.

Top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt also has two victories to his credit and wants five more to go with it.

He rebounded from a tough five-setter against Sweden's Magnus Larsson in the first round to thrash Australian journeyman Todd Larkham 6-1, 6-0, 6-1.

In the first set, Hewitt dropped only two points on serve, both double faults.

Ranked 234 places behind Hewitt, Larkham won his opening service game to level at 1-1 before losing the next 13. He raised his arms in mock jubilation when he won on serve in the third game of the third.

Larkham won their last encounter, beating a 15-year-old Hewitt 6-0, 6-4 in 1996.

Hewitt hadn't planned to "rub it in" so much.

"That was a long time ago and a lot of things have happened since then," he said.

Serena and Hewitt were not around for the second round last year. Hewitt, slowed by the chickenpox, lost in the first round, and an ankle injury forced Serena to withdraw out on the eve of the season-opening major.

Also Thursday, an ankle injury cost Monica Seles a place in the third round. Seles, seeded sixth, fell to Grand Slam rookie Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-3.

Seles, a four-time champion at Melbourne Park, rolled her left ankle attempting to change directions in the third game, trailing 0-30 and at a game apiece. She dropped serve in that game, after receiving attention on the court and on the sideline, but rallied to win the set.

She countered Koukalova's efforts to run her round the court, relying on her big serve and powerful returns to stay in the match. In the end, it was a deft drop shot on match point that Seles couldn't reach.

"I was in bad pain. It was an ankle sprain," she said. "I struggled from the second game on. I was just a step slower and I couldn't change direction. I tried to tough it out, but I couldn't."

Belgium's Kim Clijsters needed just 33 minutes for her 6-0, 6-0 victory over Petra Mandula, giving her the first "double bagel" of the tournament.

The fourth-seeded Clijsters beat Venus and Serena Williams en route to the WTA Championships title in November and is seeded to meet Serena in the semifinals. Clijsters has lost only three games in the first two rounds, and has won 21 of her last 22 matches.

On the men's side, Czech Radek Stepanek, who climbed 484 places to No. 63 in the rankings last year, beat three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Kuerten, seeded 30th and a former No. 1, had been seeded to meet No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the third round. Instead, he extended his record of never advancing beyond the second round in Australia.

Gustavo Kuerten's bad luck in the Aussie Open continues as he loses in five sets in the second round.(AP)
"Normally it is like this," the Brazilian said. "It wasn't a match I played bad, just a couple of shots and the result could've been different."

Third-seeded Marat Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion and losing Australian finalist last year, beat France's Albert Montanes 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, and No. 6 Roger Federer defeated Germany's Lars Burgsmuller 6-3, 6-0, 6-3.

American Andy Roddick overpowered Romania's Adrian Voinea 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, and Spain's Alberto Martin ousted 13th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

After three hours and 34 minutes, seventh-seeded Jiri Novak, a semifinalist last year, edged Belgium's Olivier Rochus 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Against Callens, ranked 66th, Serena saved two break points on her first service game before breaking in the fifth. She won 56 points against 36 for Callens, producing 21 winners and reducing her unforced errors to 13.

Her next opponent is No. 26 Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 winner over Russian Alina Jidkova.

Serena mentioned No. 10 Chanda Rubin, along with Clijsters, as contenders for the Australian title.

Rubin immediately lost every game in her first set against Mary Pierce but rallied for a 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Rubin, who missed the first four months of 2002 because of knee surgery, needed her right ankle taped during the match. Pierce, the 1995 Australian and 2000 French champion, struggled with blisters and needed a timeout.

"I felt like I was out of it in the first set, it was over so quickly. She hits the ball so big and has punishing strokes," Rubin said. "It was definitely a tense match for me ... it was a matter of staying on two feet and getting over it."

No. 8 Anastasia Myskina beat Swiss player Emmanuelle Gagliardi 5-7, 6-2, 6-0, and No. 11 Magdalena Maleeva beat South Korea's Cho Yoon-jeong 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

MEN’S REVIEW

Day Four – 16 January, 2003


US Davis Cuppers advance

Andy Roddick and James Blake had straightforward victories on Thursday to join Davis Cup teammate Mardy Fish in the third round, new territory for all three players. No. 9 seed Roddick lost only six games in his 62 62 62 defeat of Adrian Voinea, while No. 23 Blake conceded nine games en route to a 61 64 64 win over Jose Acasuso.

 Like their less celebrated compatriot, Mardy Fish, who upset No. 5 seed Carlos Moya on Wednesday, both Roddick and Blake have played the Australian Open just once before, losing in the second round last year.

Both Roddick and Blake now take on Spaniards, Fernando Vicente and Alberto Martin respectively. 

Grand Slam champions bow out

With the defeats of three-time Roland Garros winner Gustavo Kuerten and 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, the 2003 Australian Open has now lost four of its eight Grand Slam winners to the completion of the second round.  

Richard Krajicek was defeated by No. 31 seed Rainer Schuettler 63 75 64, while Kuerten lost a five-set battle with the rapidly-improving Czech, Radek Stepanek, 57 63 75 46 63. This continues Kuerten’s run of poor form at the Australian Open – the Brazilian has not passed the second round in seven attempts, despite having reached the quarterfinals or better at the other three majors.

 Carlos Moya, the 1998 Roland Garros champion, and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, winner at 1996 Roland Garros and the 1999 Australian Open, lost their second round matches on Wednesday. 

The four Grand Slam winners remaining are Andre Agassi, Albert Costa, Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt, pending the outcome of Hewitt’s second round match against qualifier Todd Larkham on Thursday night.

 Spanish success on day four

Three of the four Spanish men in action in the top half of the draw won their matches on Thursday, giving Spain a total of six men in the third round.

 Of the six Spaniards to progress, four are unseeded: Felix Mantilla, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Vicente and Alberto Martin. Three of these caused seeding upsets in their second round matches. On Wednesday, Mantilla defeated No. 27 Jan-Michael Gambill, while Thursday saw Vicente upset No. 19 Juan Ignacio Chela 63 63 26 63 and Alberto Martin defeat No. 13 Fernando Gonzalez 67 63 61 76. (Martin, of course, famously upset top seed Lleyton Hewitt in last year’s first round.) The other unseeded Spaniard, Australian Open newcomer Feliciano Lopez, had a seeding upset in the first round, ousting countryman and No. 15 seed Alex Corretja 67 76 76 63. 

Both the Spanish seeds through to the third round are in the bottom half of the draw, winning on Wednesday. No. 8 Albert Costa now plays countryman Mantilla, while No. 4 Juan Carlos Ferrero takes on No. 28 Fabrice Santoro.
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Day Three Australia / Wednesday / January 15, 2003

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Three-time champion Andre Agassi took the simplest path to the third round, losing just one game in his second match at the Australian Open.

Meanwhile, second-seeded Venus Williams returned to form Wednesday, regularly unleashing winners off her backhand to earn a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 21-year-old Ansley Cargill.

Venus, who lost the finals at the French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open to younger sister Serena last year, started slowly in her opening round at Melbourne Park. But against Cargill, ranked No. 118, she was never in trouble.

Lindsay Davenport, one of the few women capable of matching Venus or top-ranked Serena for power or big-match experience, made more unforced errors (43-34) and less winners (39-43), than Uzbekistan's Iroda Tulyaganova but still advanced to the third round with a 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-5 victory.

"Sometimes, you're definitely lucky to be in the tournament when you don't play your best," Davenport said. "I'm definitely happy to still be around when some others are not."

Hyung-Taik Lee threatened Agassi for about three minutes, winning his first serve at love and holding three break points in the next. Agassi rallied and won 18 consecutive games for a 6-1, 6-0, 6-0 victory in 80 minutes.

Lee was the first South Korean player to win an ATP Tour title in Sydney last Saturday, but he was no match for Agassi, who had no pity for Lee.

"I have way too much respect for my opponent to feel bad for him," he said. "I know how things can change out there, how quickly. My sign of respect is putting my head down and trying to go to work."

Asked if he could grade his game, Agassi didn't flinch at giving himself an "A."

"How could you not, really?" he said. "When you play a guy of Lee's ability, playing as well as he's been playing, to go out there and have a scoreline like that doesn't happen too often."

Agassi faces left-handed Frenchman Nicolas Escude, seeded 29th, in the third round. Escude, a semifinalist here in 1998, rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Belgian Christophe Rochus.

Carlos Moya became the highest-ranked man to fall so far, slumping to American Mardy Fish 3-6, 7-6 (8-10), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Moya, French Open champion in 1998 and the Australian runner-up in '97, was seeded fifth after a resurgent 2002.

The 21-year-old Fish broke Moya in the fifth and seventh games of the deciding set and clinched match point on the Spaniard's feeble backhand.

Venus won 27 of 33 points at the net, and tested her full arsenal, mixing 39 winners with 28 errors as she went for every shot. She sealed the 52-minute match with her fourth ace.

"I just tried to get into my rhythm more than anything else, just hit a lot of balls and get a nice rhythm going," Venus said. "I was able to start being aggressive because I was more consistent."

Fifth-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne needed only 48 minutes to beat former top-10 player Anna Kournikova 6-0, 6-1, and will next play No. 32 Katarina Srebotnik, a 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 winner over Virginie Razzano.

After the stunning first-round loss by defending champion Jennifer Capriati, nine other women's seeds have been ousted: No. 13 Silvia Farina Elia of Italy became the next-highest player to go out, losing 6-3, 6-2 to Australian Nicole Pratt.

No. 15 Alexandra Stevenson, a 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist, lost 6-2, 6-2 to Denisa Chladkova, No. 21 Ai Sugiyama fell 6-4, 6-4 to Russian Nadia Petrova, and No. 27 Lisa Raymond lost 6-3, 6-1 to Germany's Anca Barna.

After pulling off the upset of the tournament against Capriati, Marlene Weingartner moved a step closer to emulating her fourth-round appearance of last year with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Stephanie Foretz.

No. 7 Daniela Hantuchova struggled to a 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3) victory over Italy's Adriana Serra Zanetti, and No. 12 Patty Schnyder beat Spain's Marta Marrero 6-3, 6-1.

No. 23 Paola Suarez, leading 6-0, 3-0, advanced when Italy's Tathiana Garbin retired with a right shoulder strain.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov, besides Agassi the only former men's champion in the field, lost 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 to Finland's Jarkko Nieminen. Kafelnikov won the Australian in 1999 and was runner-up in 2000. Kafelnikov didn't advance beyond the third round at a major last year and slipped to No. 27 in the rankings.

Struggling with blisters on his toes in the third set, he rallied to level at two sets apiece. But the fifth set proved too much for him.

French Open champion Albert Costa, seeded eighth, had a 6-4, 6-7 (9-11), 6-2, 6-3 victory over local favorite Scott Draper, an Australian wild card. Costa next plays Spain's Felix Mantilla, who ousted No. 27 Jan-Michael Gambill.

Three seeded men were ousted in late matches: Mark Philippoussis beat 11th-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan, Guillermo Coria upset 14th-seeded Guillermo Canas in an all-Argentina encounter, and Croatia's Mario Ancic downed 16th-seeded Sjeng Schalken.

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Day Two Australia / Tuesday / January 14, 2003

Serena escapes with first-round victory on Day 2 of Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Serena Williams stared into the stands. She shrugged, cursed and changed rackets. She stood with her hands on her hips or studied her notes.

In the next match on the same court, Lleyton Hewitt had his own problems. He pumped a fist or two, managing to find his way out of trouble against a player ranked 155th.

The Australian Open's top-ranked man and woman advanced to the second round Tuesday, but neither had an easy time.

Williams is seeking a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title -- a "Serena Slam." Hewitt wants to become the first Australian man since Mark Edmondson in 1976 to win the tournament.

Hewitt lost his serve only once but needed 3 hours, 13 minutes to defeat former top 10 player Magnus Larsson 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2. The 32-year-old Swede had to qualify for the tournament.

"I thought he played incredibly well for a guy that only played a few tournaments last year," Hewitt said.

For a player who won the French Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon -- and didn't lose a set in those last two -- Williams played erratically. She sprayed 55 errors in winning 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 against 56th-ranked Emilie Loit of France.

"The whole problem was me not looking at the ball or hitting late and just not doing my techniques right. ... I just had a bad day," Williams said.

Loit led 6-5 in the second set, but Williams held for 6-6, and took a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker. That edge dwindled to 5-4 and 6-5 before Loit hit a forehand long on the second set point.

Trailing 5-4 in the final set, Loit saved two match points with a forehand winner and a drop shot.

"When I had match point? No one really has the guts to hit a drop shot," Williams said.

Two games later, on the third match point, Loit hit a passing shot into the net.

"This match is just a heads-up that everyone wants to try to beat me, and I probably just need a reminder," Williams said.

Similarly, Hewitt called his match "a little bit of a wake-up call in some ways."

"I don't press the panic button as much as I probably would have a couple years ago," the 21-year-old Aussie said.

Hewitt also was ranked No. 1 coming in to the Australian Open last year. But he was weakened by chickenpox and lost in the first round.

Williams missed the Australian Open entirely after twisting her ankle in a warmup tournament. That kept her from winning a true Grand Slam -- all four majors in a calendar year.

The last woman to do that was Steffi Graf in 1988, following Maureen Connolly in 1953, and Margaret Court in 1970. Graf also was the last to hold all four major titles at once. She did that by winning the Australian in 1994.

Next up for Williams is Belgium's Els Callens, a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Slovakia's Martina Sucha.

Callens forced Williams to two tiebreakers at Wimbledon last year.

"Hopefully she'll play me just as tough so I get the confidence here," Williams said.

Williams is in the opposite half of the draw from older sister Venus, the runner-up at the last three Grand Slam tournaments. As at those events, the siblings can meet only in the final.

In the same half with Serena are fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters, who beat both Williams sisters in the WTA Tour Championships last November, and four-time Australian winner Monica Seles, who beat Venus in last year's Australian quarterfinals.

Clijsters advanced Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Samantha Reeves, and No. 6 Seles won 6-0, 6-1 against Lubomira Kurhajcova, a 19-year-old Slovak ranked 110th.

"I'm just at this very happy stage in my career where my body is still letting me play," the 29-year-old Seles said. "I'm still enjoying working hard, and playing some good, solid tennis."

On Venus' side of the draw, 2001 and 2002 winner Jennifer Capriati became the first women's defending champion at the Australian in the Open era to lose in the first round.

No. 9 Andy Roddick, a quarterfinalist at the last two U.S. Opens, came back from 1-4 in the third set and defeated Croatia's Zeljko Krajan 6-7 (9-11), 6-2, 7-6 (7-0), 6-3 in a match that ended at 12:40 a.m. (Australian time) Wednesday.

Krajan, ranked 106th, had rebounded from 1-4 and saved a set point in the first set.

Roddick went out in the second round in Australia last year with a sprained ankle.

Also advancing were No. 3 Marat Safin, this tournament's 2002 runner-up; No. 6 Roger Federer; No. 7 Jiri Novak, a semifinalist last year, and three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten.

Safin, recovering from shoulder problems, beat Dutch player Raemon Sluiter 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Federer downed Brazil's Flavio Saretta 7-6 (7-4), 7-5, 6-3; Novak beat Vincent Spadea 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), and Kuerten stopped Morocco's Hicham Arazi 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3.
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Day One Australia / Monday / January 13, 2003 ...

Capriati falls; Venus, Agassi, Kournikova move on

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Jennifer Capriati became the first defending women's champion in the Open era to lose in the first round of the Australian Open, tumbling out of the Grand Slam event Monday with a shocking loss to Marlene Weingartner.

Capriati, who won her first Grand Slam championship at Melbourne Park in 2001 and successfully defended the title last year, won the first set 6-2 and led 4-2 in the second.

But her German rival, ranked No. 98 at the end of 2002, rallied to take the second set 7-6 (8-6) and the third 6-4, with Capriati dumping a forehand into the net on match point.

"I felt I was getting a bit tired and she got on a roll. ... I felt the momentum swing," Capriati said. "Mentally and physically I wasn't strong enough, I guess."

The 26-year-old American said an operation to remove sun spots from both eyes in early November had limited her preparation. She lost in the second round in Sydney last week.

"I think (the eyes) are OK now," she said. "It's basically now trying to get back to feeling normal again.

"I had stitches in both eyes. For two weeks, basically, I was in the dark because I couldn't be in sunlight -- my eyes were too sensitive. I'm not trying to make excuses, that's for sure, but it had a lot to do with my preparation."

She had 10 double faults and 41 errors, while Weingartner had five double faults and 52 unforced errors.

"I think I deserved it. I played extremely well today," Weingartner said. "I didn't really think about winning. I tried to put her under pressure a lot ... I just stayed in the match and fought. That was the key."

It was 22-year-old Weingartner's first experience on center court in a Grand Slam tournament.

"This is special -- I hope to play a few more. I needed a little time to get into it (before) I started to play my game."

Second-seeded Venus Williams looked rusty, but advanced to the second round, beating Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2.

Andre Agassi was as polished as he's been in the years he's won the Australian Open, advancing with a no-frills 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brian Vahaly.

The 32-year-old Agassi warmed up for the season-opening major by winning an exhibition tournament at Kooyong, the event where he injured his wrist last year in losing the final to Pete Sampras.

The wrist problem sidelined him for the Australian Open, preventing his title defense. But the two previous years, he won at Kooyong and went on to win at Melbourne Park.

"It did feel real good," Agassi said. "I even felt a bit nervous going out there because it's, unfortunately, been a lot longer than I wish it was."

Williams muddled around in her first few games, as though she was back at work after a long vacation.

After ending the match with an angled forehand volley on her fourth match point, she flashed a relieved smile and did a little pirouette, looking more as if she'd reached the second week of a Grand Slam than the second round.

She fell behind 0-3 because of some erratic shots, relying on a stronger serve to carry her against the 45th-ranked Kuznetsova. She and the 17-year-old Russian were nearly even in errors.

"I'm just a little rusty," Williams said. "I didn't expect to be 100 percent in this match, but in the next one I expect to be at least 150."

Venus hadn't played since limping out of her WTA Championships semifinal while trailing 5-0 against Kim Clijsters in November.

Williams' sister, Serena, is will open on center court Tuesday against Emilie Loit of France. Serena is seeking a fourth consecutive major to compete her "Serena Slam," in which she would hold all four Grand Slam titles at once.

Serena missed a chance for a true Grand Slam -- all four majors in one calendar year -- when she twisted her ankle in a warmup tournament and missed last year's Australian Open. She went on to beat Venus in the finals of the French and U.S. Opens and Wimbledon.

Asked about beating Serena this time, Venus said, "I wouldn't exactly say that's my goal. My goal is to be my best. I guess if Serena wins a slam, then I'll be there congratulating her."

The sisters, on opposite sides of the draw, can only meet in the final.

With organizers promoting the season-opening major as the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific, the first match on center court featured rising Thai star Paradorn Srichaphan. The 11th-seeded Paradorn beat Austrian Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 6-4, 1-6, 6-0.

"It's really special for me to play the first match on Monday, to open a Grand Slam, and I appreciate it," said Paradorn, who improved his ranking by 110 places to No. 16 in 2002.

Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero, seeded fourth, beat Argentina's Franco Squillari 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, and No. 5 Carlos Moya defeated Belgium's Dick Norman 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov, the 1999 winner, outlasted Jeff Morrison 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt begins play Tuesday against Swedish qualifier Magnus Larsson.

In women's play, 2000 champion Lindsay Davenport, seeded ninth a year after knee surgery, beat France's Camille Pin 6-2, 6-1.

Anna Kournikova, winless in Grand Slam singles play in two years, thrashed Slovakia's Henrieta Nagyova 6-1, 6-2 to earn a second-round match against fifth-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne.

The Belgian, who beat Kournikova in the first round 12 months ago, opened with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 17-year-old Swiss player Myriam Casanova.

ATP ...  Review ... Day One – 13 January, 2003

Australian wild cards enjoy success on day one
Wild card entrants Scott Draper and Peter Luczak flew the flag for Australia on day one at Melbourne Park. Twenty-eight-year-old Draper ended a run of four successive first round defeats at the Open to defeat American Alex Kim 75 63 36 63. He now takes on Roland Garros champion Albert Costa, who defeated German qualifier David Prinosil 64 61 36 76 in the first round.

Luczak, who grew up in Melbourne, made an impressive Grand Slam debut with a 75 62 64 victory over Hungary’s Attila Savolt. The Polish-born 23-year-old, who has been studying at Fresno State College in California, will be hopeful of further success with a second round clash against the veteran qualifier Renzo Furlan of Italy. Furlan won through to the second round when his opponent, No. 21 seed Andrei Pavel, retired with a lower back injury when trailing 41 in the first set.

Asians march on in Melbourne
Paradorn Srichaphan and Hyung-Taik Lee, who have given Asian tennis a boost with one ATP title each in 2003, have both progressed safely into the second round. Chennai champion Srichaphan, who has earned his first Grand Slam seeding in Melbourne, defeated Austrian Jurgen Melzer 75 64 16 60 and now faces the winner of the clash between Mark Philippoussis and Martin Verkerk.

Lee, who at Sydney last week became the first ever Korean to win a title, came from a set down to defeat David Ferrer 57 62 62 63 to set up an eagerly anticipated second round clash with three-time champion Andre Agassi. Agassi has won both of the pair’s previous meetings, 75 36 63 in the first round at 2001 San Jose on hard court and 64 75 in the second round at 2002 Houston on clay.

There was no joy for Gouichi Motomura, awarded a wild card after his success at the 2002 Asian Championships. The 29-year-old from Japan took the second set against No. 29 seed Nicolas Escude before losing 61 26 63 62.

Agassi rolls back the years
Second seed Andre Agassi, one of 13 men in the main draw aged 30 or over, made a good start in his bid to become only the fourth player to win four men’s singles titles since the Australian Championship began in 1905. The 32-year-old overcame fellow American Brian Vahaly 75 63 63, and now takes on the in-form Hyung-Taik Lee.

Spanish armada sails through
Fourth seed Juan Carlos Ferrero led five Spaniards into the second round of the Australian Open. Last week’s Sydney finalist defeated Argentine Franco Squillari 76 36 62 63. He is joined in round two by former runner-up Carlos Moya, seeded fifth, and No. 8 seed Albert Costa.

Compatriots David Sanchez and Felix Mantilla both survived marathon five-set matches. Sanchez defeated Kristian Pless of Denmark 57 63 16 64 108, while Mantilla overcame Argentine Mariano Zabaleta 46 75 63 46 64.

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