Wed, May 03, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Hingis comes out tops in face-off against Kirilenko


Five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis beat Maria Kirilenko of Russia 7-5, 7-6 (1) on Monday in the first round of the J&S Cup.

The 25-year-old Swiss star, playing in the clay-court event for the first time, overcame a rain delay and an inconsistent serve to top the 19-year-old Kirilenko.

"We were just breaking each other, and most times pretty easily," Hingis said.

"It was very difficult conditions. I think that today whoever had the stronger head, and stayed in the match, won," she said.

Both struggled on serve in the first set -- Kirilenko broke Hingis to go up 5-4, but couldn't serve it out.

Serving at 5-5, Hingis fell to 0-40 before winning five straight points to go up 6-5. She won the set in the following game when Kirilenko netted a backhand.

Rain interrupted the match for an hour with Kirilenko leading 2-1 in the second set.

Kirilenko, who was treated for cramps in the first set, led throughout most of the second set -- but Hingis broke at 6-5 down to force the tiebreaker.

The match between Daniela Hantuchova and Anna Smashnova was delayed until yesterday because of rain.

BMW Open

Juan Monaco of Argentina knocked out sixth-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the BMW Open on Monday.

Monaco ended a four-match losing streak since February on reaching the semifinals at Costa do Sauipe, Brazil. For Paradorn, he was yet to win on clay this season following first-round defeats in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

It was also a first win on clay for Robin Vik of the Czech Republic, who downed Rainer Schuettler 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3 when the German ran out of energy.

Schuettler, a former world No. 5 and tournament finalist, was coming back from retiring in Houston three weeks ago with food poisoning. The first-round loss was his fifth in nine events this year.

Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic beat German wild card Andreas Beck 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4, rallying from 4-0 down in the final set; and Belgium's Kristof Vliegen beat Serbia-Montenegro's Janko Tipsarevic 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

Guillermo Coria is the No. 1 seeded player.

Estoril Open

Former champion Nikolay Davydenko beat American Vince Spadea 7-6 (3), 6-3 for the first time in four meetings in the opening round of the Estoril Open on Monday.

Also, women's top seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy saved a match point before advancing.

Davydenko, the 2003 winner, recovered from 5-2 down in the first set and 30 unforced errors against Spadea. The second-seeded Russian could end up meeting compatriot Marat Safin in the second round for the third time this year. Safin won both matches.

Safin, the 2004 finalist, opens against Italian qualifier Fabio Fognini.

Gilles Muller of Luxembourg served 10 aces in upsetting eighth-seeded Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-2, 6-0 in 45 minutes; and American Justin Gimelstob overcame Czech Lukas Dlouhy 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Third-seeded Tommy Robredo, the 2005 Estoril finalist and a runner-up on Sunday at Barcelona, withdrew with an abdominal injury, along with Spain's Nicolas Almagro (back), France's Gilles Simon (fatigue) and Romania's Victor Hanescu (abdominals).

In women's play, Pennetta fought off a match point at 6-5 in the final set to beat Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (2).

Fourth-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy withdrew with a leg injury, and her place in the draw was taken by fifth-seeded Vera Dushevina to no avail. The Russian lost to Italy's Antonella Serra Zanetti 6-4, 6-4.

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