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Home > Sports > Tennis > Reuters > Report


Sharapova dazzles, Hewitt strolls through

August 29, 2007 09:44 IST

Maria Sharapova's [Images] dazzling play matched her eye-catching attire on Tuesday as the Russian opened the defence of her US Open crown in impeccably stylish fashion.

Sporting a flaming red dress with over 600 Swarovski crystals on the bodice, second-seeded Sharapova needed just 50 minutes to see off Italy's [Images] world number 51 Roberta Vinci 6-0, 6-1 and move into the second round.

"Every corner I turn here I get goose bumps because of all the great memories," Sharapova said. "When you come back to the place where you won your second major it's incredible."

There were few upsets on the second day of the final grand slam of the year, played under sunny skies in the day and with a cool, comfortable breeze during the evening.

The most notable upset of the day had ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova [Images] sent packing by Ukrainian Julia Vakulenko 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, marking the 24-year-old Slovak's earliest exit at Flushing Meadows since her 2001 debut.

Elsewhere, 2004 Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova whipped Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 6-3 while 1997 winner Martina Hingis [Images] bounced Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson 6-0, 6-3.

LEGITIMATE THREAT

Other winners included sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze [Images], number 11 seed Patty Schnyder, 13th seed Nicole Vaidisova and number 26 Sania Mirza.

On the men's side, 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt [Images] rolled over Amer Delic 6-2, 6-4, 6-2, while third seed Novak Djokovic looked like a legitimate threat to end Roger Federer's [Images] three-year reign with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Robin Haase.

Fifth seeded Andy Roddick [Images] and fellow American, sixth seed James Blake, also advanced to the second round with straight sets victories.

Sharapova said she thought she did "everything solid" in her victory over Vinci on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"She's a pretty quick opponent, rushing from side to side," the Russian said. "A couple of years ago, those types of opponents would have been difficult on me.

"But I feel like I'm a much more patient player now."

FIST PUMP

Vinci said she suffered from a painful toothache this week and received injections of antibiotics that sapped her energy. The diminutive Italian said she had not practised for three days prior to the match.

When Vinci won her only game to trim Sharapova's lead to 6-0, 5-1, she delighted the crowd by jumping up in the air and pumping her fist.

"I tried to do my best," said the 24-year-old. "I won one game. I'm happy. She played good. I think if I played her another day, I'd lose. But not 6-0, 6-1."

Hewitt smacked 31 winners and won 95 percent of the points on his first serve during his victory over the shell-shocked Delic.

"He doesn't have the best passing shots out there," said Hewitt. "So it was a matter of me mixing it up when I had the opportunity, come in on his backhand, make him press."

Delic said the 26-year-old Hewitt may be overlooked as an Open contender because of the grand slam success of Federer and Rafael Nadal [Images].

 "The guy does not give you absolutely anything," said Delic, ranked 71st.

© Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.



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