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Davenport, Blake lead US charge

August 30, 2003 02:25 IST

Lindsay Davenport and James Blake led an early American charge at the U.S. Open on Friday.

Third seed Davenport made a mockery of her fitness concerns with a 6-0, 6-2 third round victory over Hungarian Melinda Czink while Blake ousted Armenia's Sargis Sargsian 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6.

Men's fourth seed Andy Roddick takes to centre court in the night session looking to swat aside Croatian Ivan Ljubicic and add to American cheer.

In other action, former runner-up Mark Philippoussis made light work of Anthony Dupuis, smashing the Frenchman 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 and Belgium's Xavier Malisse beat 19th seed Agustin Calleri 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Davenport, who took a pain-killing injection on her pinched toe nerve before the last Grand Slam of the year, looked increasingly confident in her movement and flexibility throughout her canter.

The result -- coming after two previous straight sets wins for the loss of seven games -- also did wonders for her confidence.

"Before I arrived here, I didn't know what was going to happen," the 27-year-old said.

"But this week is just what I needed. I've played well, my foot is feeling good and I've saved energy for the second week.

"Each day that goes by I'm getting more and more confident in my abilities...now I like to think I have a chance."

With Serena and Venus Williams, who have claimed the last four Open titles between them, sidelined through injury, Davenport admitted she would like to capitalise on their absence from this year's tournament.

"It is an incredible opportunity. One of the Williams sisters has taken me out her every year since 1999, so I guess it's nice not to have to worry about them," said the three-times Grand Slam champion.

In the fourth round she will meet Russian 19th seed Nadia Petrova.

Philippoussis, Wimbledon finalist last month and 20th seed here, swept past Dupuis.

The Australian is yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows.

He faces Argentine David Nalbandian in the third round, with Swiss Roger Federer, the man who beat him at Wimbledon in July, a potential fourth round opponent.

Women's top seed Kim Clijsters plays Svetlana Kuznetsova later on day five of the hardcourt slam.

Fifth seed Amelie Mauresmo kept her U.S. Open bid on course with a no-nonsense 6-4, 6-2 win over Russian qualifier Maria Kirilenko to ease into the fourth round.

Back to full fitness, the muscular Frenchwoman has ploughed her way through the draw with the minimum of fuss and without dropping a set, losing just 12 games in three matches.

Playing in her first Grand Slam, 16 year-old Kirilenko battled hard in the opening set but in the second received a tennis lesson from Mauresmo.

The Frenchwoman overpowered her slight opponent by racing into a 4-0 lead on her way to clinching the match.

Mauresmo will now await the winner between ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn.

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