Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Davenport's foot is fine in easy win

U.S. Open roundup: Clijsters wins first match as No. 1; Rubin, Grosjean are upset victims

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - The opening day of a Grand Slam tournament is a carnival of tennis, with more than 100 top men and women playing all across the grounds.

Storylines abound on such occasions, and Monday at the U.S. Open was no different:

• 1998 champion Lindsay Davenport tested her injured left foot and won easily;

• Kim Clijsters won her first Grand Slam match since being ranked No. 1;

• Highly seeded players were upset (No. 8 Chanda Rubin, No. 9 Sebastien Grosjean);

• Up-and-comers looked good (Ashley Harkleroad, Mardy Fish);

• Former contenders continued their fades (Greg Rusedski, Iva Majoli);

• And a young American, Alex Bogomolov Jr., was taken away on a stretcher after cramping severely during a 3 1/2-hour match.

Without the retiring Pete Sampras or the injured Serena Williams, the Open is being contested without either of the previous year's champions for the first time in more than 30 years. It's lent an air of anyone-can-win to both draws.

Clijsters replaced Williams atop the rankings two weeks ago, despite never having won a Grand Slam title, and now finds herself in the role of favorite for the first time. The Belgian, only once an Open quarterfinalist, lost the first two games against NCAA singles champion Amber Liu before piecing together a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

The third-seeded Davenport can contend only if she can deal with a nerve problem in her left foot, an injury that hampered her at the French Open and Wimbledon, and forced her to quit against Jennifer Capriati during the final of a tournament Saturday.

Davenport wasn't tested at all Monday, beating 80th-ranked Els Callens 6-1, 6-0 in 46 minutes. Davenport never even faced a break point.

Fortunately for the only past Open winner in the women's field, she didn't have to run much because Callens seemed content to try to trade strokes from the baseline.

"I was really relieved when the match was over and extremely nervous beforehand, just trying to figure out how my foot was going to be, and if it would be OK," Davenport said. "It's something I've chosen to deal with because I really want to play here the next two weeks."

Other than a 35-minute warmup before Monday's match, Davenport hadn't been on a court since Saturday, when she traveled to New York from Connecticut. She saw doctors who gave her an injection and told her to stay off her feet.

Injuries are a recurring theme at this Open.

No. 9 Grosjean, twice a Grand Slam semifinalist, did acknowledge lingering right elbow pain was part of the reason he wasted two match points and was sent home by Ramon Delgado 6-4, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.

Open at a glance

Men's seeded winners:, No. 3 Juan Carlos Ferrero, No.6 Lleyton Hewitt, No. 23 Wayne Ferreira, No. 24 Mardy Fish and No. 31 Arnaud Clement.

Losers: No. 9 Sebastien Grosjean, No. 17 Tommy Robredo and No. 18 Max Mirnyi.

Women's seeded winners: No.1 Kim Clijsters, No. 3 Lindsay Davenport, No. 5 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 9 Daniela Hantuchova, No. 12 Conchita Martinez, No. 13 Vera Zvonareva, No. 14 Amanda Coetzer, No. 17 Meghann Shaughnessy, No. 18 Patty Schnyder, No. 19 Nadia Petrova.

Losers: No. 8 Chanda Rubin and No. 25 Eleni Daniilidou lost.

On this date: In 1986, 16-year-old Andre Agassi makes his U.S. Open debut, losing in the first round to Jeremy Bates.

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Davenport's foot is fine in easy win
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