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Serena and Roddick keep US flag flying
Pritha Sarkar | June 27, 2007 22:58 IST
Last Updated: June 28, 2007 11:22 IST
Muttering and mumbling throughout, Serena Williams [Images] looked a tortured soul at Wimbledon on Wednesday before finally reaching the third round.
After rating her first-round performance "two out of 10", Williams is unlikely to be satisfied with her ragged display on Wednesday when she came back from a break down in each set before beating Australian Alicia Molik [Images] 7-6, 6-3.
At least Williams already has two Wimbledon trophies to her name. Fellow American Andy Roddick [Images] is still looking for his first.
Third seed Roddick, twice a finalist, has had six failed bids and he moved a step closer to his dream with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 defeat of Thailand's Danai Udomchoke.
"It was an up and down match," the 24-year-old told reporters. "Mentally I was a bit up and down today but I got through it."
Danai's defeat completed a bad day for the Asian nations. Ninth seed Martina Hingis [Images] survived two match points in her previous match but avoided any such drama in a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing of Japan's [Images] Aiko Nakamura.
China's Yan Zi, Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei and Ayumi Morita of Japan all bowed out in the first round of the women's draw.
The Belgian's last two victims at Roland Garros, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, are fast becoming used to the spotlight after they were feted by thousands when they went home to Serbia following their Paris exploits.
On Wednesday, however, sixth seed Ivanovic had to make do with a more modest crowd on court 18 and surged past Melinda Czink 6-0, 7-6 in another delayed first-round encounter.
Jankovic was even more ruthless in a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of Slovakian Jarmila Gajdosova.
Men's champion Roger Federer [Images] will have to complete unfinished business on Thursday after his second round match against Argentine Juan Martin del Potro was suspended following a torrential downpour over southwest London [Images].
The Swiss world number one was leading 6-2, 7-5, 2-0 when the players had to scurry back into the locker room.
Williams has been tipped by many, including John McEnroe, to win the title here but she has so far failed to live up to that expectation.
With more loose shots than winners, the seventh seed began berating herself at 4-1 down in the first set.
"I just got really angry. I thought it was unfair that I got down so far. I was like, 'Okay, it's just one break'. But 4-1 looks worse than one break," said the 25-year-old.
A woman who defied the odds to win the Australian Open in January while ranked 81st was not about to roll over.
Williams missed a set point on her serve at 6-5 but let out an almighty roar of "Come on!" when she bagged it in the tiebreak with an ace.
She staged another fightback in the second, sealing it with what she thought was a winning volley.
Yet the contest ended in confusion when Molik, after exchanging handshakes with Williams, challenged a call midway through that final rally on the advice of the umpire.
The Australian had no option but to accept defeat when Hawkeye confirmed the line judge's verdict.
"It was weird... [but] I would have challenged it, too," acknowledged Williams.
Henin also had to put her celebrations on hold when her match ended in similar circumstances.
After firing an ace to finish the contest, she had to wait for Hawkeye to verify the serve was good.