Fri, Jul 30, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Alicia Molik shocks Amelie Mauresmo

PROFESSIONAL TENNIS It was the second meeting between the players, but Molik still had a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Mauresmo at the Australian Open fresh on her mind

AP , CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIAAND TORONTO

Masters Canada

Top-seeded Roger Federer, defending champion Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Carlos Moya and Tim Henman advanced to the second round of the US$2.5 million tournament and left behind seven beaten seeds.

Among those knocked out included 2000 champion Marat Safin, French Open champion Gaston Gaudio and runner-up Guillermo Coria, and last year's Masters Canada finalist David Nalbandian.

"The depth in the game is pretty impressive," Roddick said. "It's really, really tough these days, especially in tournaments like this where everybody is here.

"There aren't a lot of easy matches."

Federer beat Morocco's Hicham Arazi 6-3, 7-5, finishing a match he'd started on Tuesday night before rain ended play after he'd won the first set.

"I was in a good position, which makes it much easier," Federer said. "I was happy to be up a set because I didn't know if we were going to play [Tuesday night] and the first round is always tricky, especially with rain delays like this.

"Today, I just tried to serve more consistent and it worked out. He played better from the baseline, I thought, and made it tougher for me in the second set."

Second-seeded Roddick, fresh from winning another RCA Championships title in Indianapolis at the weekend, dispatched French qualifier Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-2 for his 50th match win of the year.

Benneteau had a 2-1 lead in the second set when he was forced to duck abruptly to avoid being hit by Roddick's passing shot. He required treatment on his neck and returned with the score tied 2-2. But he didn't have enough to match up with the hard-hitting Roddick, the second seed.

"It's unfortunate he got hurt because I think it was pretty high-level tennis until then," Roddick said. "He wasn't going to rally too much, he was going to go for his shots and win or lose going for it."

No. 9 Hewitt overcame rising Spanish talent Rafael Nadal 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, and No. 4 Moya also endured a battle in beating Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (9), 6-3, 6-4 for his 14th successive win over fellow Spaniards this year.

No. 5 Henman had an easier time handling Mariano Zabaleta 6-4, 6-1 but only evened their head-to-head record at 4-4.

Zabaleta was one of four Argentines to exit.

No. 3 Coria retired at 5-1 down to Luis Horna of Peru with a shoulder injury, No. 11 Gaudio's streak of four consecutive finals since his French Open success was snapped by Australian qualifier Todd Reid 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-3, and No. 6 Nalbandian was upset by Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The in-form Nicolas Kiefer of Germany, twice a finalist this month, won 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (2) against 15th-seeded Safin, who was ousted in the first round along with No. 8 Rainer Schuettler, No. 12 Sebastien Grosjean, and No. 13 Nicolas Massu.

Safin was his own worst enemy. The Russian rallied from 4-1 down in the first set to take the tiebreaker 7-3 on an unreturnable serve, then was overtaken in the second set, losing the last three games from 4-3 up. In the last set, the pair forced another tiebreaker, and Kiefer ran away with it 7-2 thanks in part to soft Safin errors.

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