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Mauresmo advances, Henman rolls back years
June 27, 2007 10:28 IST
Amelie Mauresmo performed her duties as defending champion with a minimum of fuss at Wimbledon on Tuesday, opening Centre Court proceedings on the traditional "Ladies' Day" with an assured defeat of American Jamea Jackson.
The 27-year-old French fourth seed swept to a 6-1, 6-3 victory with a few flashes of the flamboyant strokeplay that lifted her to victory over Justine Henin [Images] in last year's final.
Her place in the spotlight was quickly seized by Tim Henman as the golden boy of British tennis for more than a decade rolled back the years with an epic final-set shootout victory over Spanish 25th seed Carlos Moya [Images].
The All England [Images] Club grounds were still buzzing long after the 32-year-old completed a remarkable 6-3, 1-6, 5-7, 6-2, 13-11 victory to become the last British male standing.
The match had resumed at 5-5 in the decider after bad light had left it hanging in the balance overnight.
While Henman and Moya provided an old-fashioned serve and volley duel, Moya's close friend Rafael Nadal [Images] followed them with a brutal show of power to beat American Mardy Fish 6-3, 7-6, 6-3.
Fresh from his hat-trick of titles at Roland Garros, topspin king Nadal proved again that he can adapt his awesome baseline skills to Wimbledon's slick lawns.
All he wants now, he said, is some Spanish sunshine.
"It's better for the Spaniards, the Latins, the sun makes it a bit slower, the ball gets a bit more topspin," he said. "But grass don't change, it's always grass."
Mauresmo can only dream about the kind of domination Nadal enjoys at her home slam in Paris but at least she appears to have found her natural habitat in south west London [Images].
With a game not unlike Henman's classical grasscourt cut and thrust she was too good for the 20-year-old Jackson, the daughter of an NFL cornerback.
"I feel that I'm enjoying it," she told reporters of walking out as a champion. "There's maybe a little extra tension before you walk on the court.
"It was very, very different, quite bizarre," she added of the returning to the world's most famous court that has been shorn of its roof this year. "It's lost a bit of its intimacy."
Second and third seeds Maria Sharapova [Images] and Jelena Jankovic also moved through. Jankovic crushed British wildcard Anne Keothavong 6-2, 6-0 while Sharapova was made to work harder before beating Taiwan's Chan Yung-Jan 6-1, 7-5.
For the second day running a former champion diced with danger on Court Two. Unlike Martina Hingis [Images] on Monday three-times winner Venus Williams did not have to save any match points but was still given a scare by Russian Alla Kudryavtseva before winning 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Slovak 10th seed Daniela Hantuchova [Images] dished out a harsh lesson to 15-year-old Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, beating the junior world champion 6-0, 6-1.
Men's ninth seed James Blake joined compatriot Andy Roddick [Images] in the second round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over French Open quarter-finalist Igor Andreev.
However there were several American casualties in the men's draw, with Robert Kendrick, Kevin Kim, Vince Spadea and Bobby Reynolds all joining Fish out the exit door.
Shocks have been notable by their absence so far and a clutch of A-list contenders eased into the men's second round.
Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic dropped just seven games in a demolition of Potito Starace of Italy [Images] while Lleyton Hewitt [Images], the last man to win Wimbledon before Federer took over, beat Briton Richard Bloomfield.
Argentine David Nalbandian, was too good for German Mischa Zverev while 10thh seed Marcos Baghdatis, a semi-finalist last year, beat the fading light to edge out Latvian teenager Ernests Gulbis in four sets.