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Myskina races past Peschke in two sets



Published: Tue, January 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The French Open champ did have an erratic second set.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- French Open champion Anastasia Myskina beat Kveta Peschke 6-1, 6-4 at the Australian Open today, shortly after U.S. Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova declared her innocence in a doping case.

Kuznetsova didn't answer questions before or after her practice session, but issued a statement today saying she was certain she'd be cleared of any doping violation.

Myskina raced through the first set in 20 minutes, helped by Peschke's 16 unforced errors. She lost only two points in the first three games of the second set before trading service breaks in six consecutive games.

During that stretch, Myskina loudly berated herself for missing opportunities, spiked her racket into the court and smacked a ball into the crowd.

Myskina, who served for the match at 5-3, won when Peschke dumped a forehand into the net. It was her 33rd unforced error of the set and 48th for the match. After only two unforced errors in the first seven games, Myskina had 14 in an erratic second set.

Agassi wins in straight sets

In matches Monday, Andre Agassi, recovering from a torn tendon in his right hip that almost kept him out of the Open, coasted past qualifier Dieter Kindlmann 6-4, 6-3, 6-0. That moved Agassi into a second-round match with another German, Rainer Schuettler -- the man he beat here in the 2003 final.

"There's expectation -- high expectation -- for me to negotiate this stage of it and get better," Agassi said.

Other title contenders also raced through the first round.

Top-ranked Roger Federer won the first 12 points and hit 54 winners en route to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 win over ailing Frenchman Fabrice Santoro. No. 4 Marat Safin had two long streaks -- one of 16 points and one of 11 -- in his 6-0, 6-2, 6-1 win over 17-year-old Serbian Novak Djokovic.

No. 10 Alicia Molik, winner at the Sydney International last week, mixed 28 winners with 29 unforced errors in a 6-1, 6-3 win over Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain. Medina Garrigues fended off five match points on her serve before double-faulting on the sixth.

Former French Open champion Carlos Moya was the biggest player upset on the opening day, losing to fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

No penalty likely

Kuznetsova was identified by Belgian regional sports minister Claude Eerdekens as having tested positive for the banned stimulant ephedrine during an exhibition tournament there last month.

But WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott doubts Kuznetsova will be penalized. Her backup sample hasn't been tested; rules call for two positive samples and a review before punishment.

Scott said he tried without success to speak with Eerdekens, and called the Belgian's announcement "premature, highly irresponsible and damaging to the sport."

"It's something that could possibly be a common cold remedy, and the player might be innocent. Yet he's gone ahead and publicly tainted the sport."

The 19-year-old Russian is seeded fifth in the Australian Open and beat American Jessica Kirkland 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.

"There is absolutely no reason why I would take a stimulant to enhance my performance at an out-of-competion exhibition match in the middle of the offseason," Kuznetsova said in a statement today. "I pride myself on being a clean athlete of the highest integrity and am offended by these disgraceful allegations."

"I am sure of my innocence."

She also noted she was tested 11 times last season. Ephedrine is often contained in cold remedies, and players can be exempt from doping sanctions under certain conditions if they test positive during out of competition testing.

More results

In other women's matches, Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova beat Akiko Morigami of Japan 6-4, 7-5, and Tathiana Garbin earned a 7-5, 7-6 (5) win over Marlene Weingartner, who made a splash when she beat then defending champion Jennifer Capriati in the first round of the 2003 Australian Open.

In later matches, top-ranked Lindsay Davenport, coming off bronchitis that forced her out of the Sydney International, faced 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez.

Argentina's Guillermo Coria, seeded sixth, and Guillermo Canas, seeded 12th, advanced in the men's draw, while No. 14 Sebastien Grosjean -- a semifinalist here in 2001 and at Wimbledon last season -- earned a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra.




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