Thu, Jul 19, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Nadal strolls to victory on return to clay in Stuttgart

AP , STUTTGART, GERMANYAP, SYDNEYAP, AMERSFOORT, NETHERLANDSAP, MASON, OHIOAP, LOS ANGELES

Peruvian tennis player Luis Horna reacts after losing against Raemon Sluiter of the Netherlands on the second day of the Dutch Open Tennis Tournament in Amersfoort, Netherlands, on Tuesday. Sluiter won 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

PHOTO: EPA

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal returned to his favorite surface on Tuesday and routed Alexander Waske 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the clay-court Mercedes Cup.

Playing his first match since losing his second consecutive Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, Nadal connected on 67 percent of his first serves, compared with 39 percent for Waske, who is normally a big server. Nadal faced two break points and saved them both.

Nadal, who won the Stuttgart event two years ago, captured his third straight French Open in June and has won 89 of his last 90 matches on clay, with the only loss coming in the final of the Hamburg event in May to Federer. Federer is not playing in Stuttgart.

Defending champion David Ferrer also eased into the second round by beating qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-2.

Fourth-seeded Ferrer is seeking his second straight title on clay, after winning the Swedish Open tournament in Bastad last week.

Third-seeded Tomas Berdych also faced little resistance in a 6-1, 6-1 win over Nicolas Lapentti.

Berdych dropped just eight points on serve and saved the lone break point he faced. Berdych is at a career-high No. 10 in the ATP Rankings with a 31-14 record this year. He has won 10 of his past 11 matches.

Guillermo Canas, seeded fifth, won the first set against Stanislas Wawrinka but was forced to retire after the first game of the third set with a right hamstring injury. Wawrinka advanced 6-7 (5), 6-2, 1-0.

Hewitt hires Tony Roche

Former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt has enlisted the services of celebrated coach Tony Roche in his bid to regain the men's tennis top ranking.

Roche, who formerly coached Roger Federer, Pat Rafter and Ivan Lendl, announced yesterday his next task would be to help restore the fortunes of fellow Australian Hewitt.

Roche will accompany Hewitt to all ATP Grand Slam tournaments, as well as the majority of the Masters Series events, for the rest of this year and 2008.

Roche, who split with Federer two weeks before this year's French Open, believes Hewitt still has what it takes to win Grand Slams and regain the world's No. 1 ranking.

"That's the goal ... I think we've got to shoot for the top," said Roche, who will first help Hewitt prepare for next month's US Open. "I wouldn't be doing this job if I didn't think Lleyton had a chance of winning a Grand Slam."

Hewitt spent two years atop the ATP world rankings in 2001 and 2002, winning both Wimbledon and the US Open during that time. But he has been unable to add a third major title in the years since.

Hewitt, who first worked with Roche as a teenager in the Davis Cup, said he is excited at the prospect of working with him again.

Youzhny advances in Netherlands

Second-seeded Mikhail Youzhny advanced to the second round of the Dutch Open on Tuesday by beating Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina, 6-2, 7-5.

The Russian is seeking his second title of the season in the Netherlands. He won the ABN Amro tournament in Rotterdam earlier this year.

Fourth-seeded Italian Filippo Volandri beat Oscar Hernandez 6-2, 6-4 and Igor Andreev downed Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 6-1.

No. 8 Marc Gicquel lost 6-3, 6-4 to Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis.

Craybas romps past Glatch

Jill Craybas took advantage of a surprise seeding and easily defeated fellow US player Alexa Glatch 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the Cincinnati Women's Open on Tuesday.

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