Kournikova bows out again
Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 11:54 p.m.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Justine Henin-Hardenne breezed into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, unchallenged by former top 10 player Anna Kournikova.
Henin-Hardenne, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2001 and a semifinalist last year, needed only 48 minutes to win 6-0, 6-1.
Kournikova, coming back from an ankle injury, double faulted six times, missed most of her volley attempts and committed 29 unforced errors.
Henin-Hardenne, seeded fifth, next meets No. 32 Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, a 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-3 winner over France's Virginie Razzano.
After the stunning first-round loss by defending champion Jennifer Capriati, seeded third, Alexandra Stevenson became the next-highest player to go out. Stevenson, seeded 15th and a 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist, lost 6-2, 6-2 to Denisa Chladkova.
German Marlene Weingartner, who beat Capriati, reached the third round with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over France's Stephanie Foretz, ending with a winning drop shot.
No. 7 Daniela Hantuchova struggled to a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) victory over Italy's Adriana Serra Zanetti.
No. 23 Paola Suarez, leading 6-0, 3-0, advanced when Italy's Tathiana Garbin retired with a right shoulder strain.
On the men's side, No. 4 Juan Carlos Ferrero, last year's French Open runnerup, beat Jean-Rene Lisnard 6-0, 6-4, 6-2.
No. 12 Sebastien Grosjean, a semifinalist here in 2001, beat Karol Kucera 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Spain's Felix Mantilla ousted No. 27 Jan-Michael Gambill, a 2000 quarterfinalist at Wimbledon who never before had advanced beyond the first round here.
Henin-Hardenne said she tried to forget everything about Kournikova, a glamorous favorite of the crowds.
"I played really well in the first set," she said. "I didn't make a lot of mistakes. But it was hard to stay focused because there were not a lot of rallies.
"It was a very slow serve, and a lot of double faults. Sometimes it was amazing. I just tried to stay focused on myself."
This tournament marked the first time Kournikova, the 1997 Wimbledon semifinalist, had advanced beyond the first round in five Grand Slam events. She has fallen to 42nd in the rankings from a high of No. 8 in 2001.
"I was always on the defense," she said. "She was always a step of me. I really had no weapons against her. ... I tried to get into the match, find some kind of a weakness, but there was none."
Henin-Hardenne had won her three previous meetings against Kournikova, including a first-round match here last year.
The tournament's top-ranked man and woman advanced to the second round Tuesday, but neither had an easy time.
Serena Williams stared into the stands, shrugged, cursed and changed rackets. She stood with her hands on her hips or studied her notes.
In the next match on the center court, Lleyton Hewitt pumped a fist or two, managing to find his way out of trouble against a player ranked 155th.
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 Magnus Larsson 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 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 (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.
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