Thu, Jun 23, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Eleni Daniilidou upsets Justine Henin-Hardenne

AP , WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

Eleni Daniilidou of Greece returns to Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne during a first-round match at the Wimbledon Championship in Wimbledon, England on Tuesday. Daniilidou, ranked 76th in the world, defeated No. 7 Henin-Hardenne 7-6 (8), 2-6, 7-5.

PHOTO: AP

French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne ran out of comebacks Tuesday and lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Eleni Daniilidou, 7-6 (8), 2-6, 7-5.

Henin-Hardenne erased a 4-2 deficit in the final set to reach 4-all and overcame two match points in the 10th game for 5-all. But she double-faulted twice in the final game, including on the last point when her weary serve clipped the net cord.

That was the 11th double-fault for Henin-Hardenne, and she committed 48 unforced errors in the 2-hour, 28-minute match.

Daniilidou, ranked 76th, came to Wimbledon with a 7-11 record this year and won despite requiring treatment from a trainer in the third set for a leg injury.

Maria Sharapova opened her bid for a second successive Wimbledon title by defeating Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-2, 6-2. Sharapova displayed her familiar grass-court flair and unveiled shoes trimmed with 18-karat gold.

"I just need some wings, and I feel like I can fly," she said. "They're great shoes. I've been getting a lot of compliments."

Her game warranted acclaim, too. She hit six aces, erased the only break point she faced and belted winners into both corners from the baseline.

Ivo Karlovic, at 2.08m the tallest player in tennis, hit a Wimbledon record 51 aces but lost a 4:17 marathon to lucky loser Daniele Bracciali, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 12-10.

Karlovic lost serve just once -- in the next-to-last game. The Croatian upset defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round in 2003 and was considered a title threat.

Instead, it will be Bracciali advancing to the second round against second-seeded Andy Roddick, who beat Jiri Vanek 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2. Roddick, the runner-up to Roger Federer last year, hit 14 aces and won in 82 minutes.

"I'm hungry to win this tournament," Roddick said. "I felt like I played great on grass the last couple of years and just haven't quite gotten there. That's the next step for me on this surface, and that's this tournament. It's easier said than done."

Two-time champion Venus Williams, seeded 14th, won five consecutive games during one stretch and beat Eva Birnerova 6-2, 6-4.

On a sunny afternoon, with temperatures in the upper 20?sC, Sharapova played the first match on Centre Court and walked onto the lawn with a smile.

"It's so amazing," she said. "I usually don't smile when I go out on the court. But the people are clapping and I was taking it all in, and I remember last year. This was where magic happened, so it was really, really good to feel that again."

Sharapova was done in 58 minutes. She raced to a 3-0 lead in each set and won five consecutive games during one stretch.

Last year, at 17, she became the third-youngest singles champion -- male or female -- in the tournament's 118-year history. Now she's seeded No. 2 behind Lindsay Davenport.

Roddick faced just one break point against Vanek and totaled 32 winners to just 12 unforced errors. It was Vanek's 11th consecutive first-round exit in a major tournament.

The only drama in the match came in the tiebreaker, when a scrambling exchange sent Vanek racing forward. As he tried to brake, he dumped his shot into the net, then went tumbling over it, landing on his back on Roddick's side of the court.

Roddick also won the next point to take the set.

In other men's play, No. 20 Ivan Ljubicic lost to Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. No. 15 Guillermo Coria, last year's French Open runner-up, matched his best showing at Wimbledon by reaching the second round when he beat Tomas Behrend 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

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