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AUSTRALIAN OPEN Davenport, Myskina both struggle, but are winners



Published: Thu, January 20, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Serena Williams did her best to prove she's a championship contender.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport and French Open champion Anastasia Myskina both struggled today before advancing to the third round of the Australian Open.

Davenport earned a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Michaela Pastikova, the world's 99th-ranked player who was entered in her first Grand Slam tournament after 13 failed qualifying attempts.

Myskina, the No. 3 seed, berated herself and looked dismayed after many of the 25 errors she had to overcome on the way to defeating No. 114 Tzipora Obziler of Israel 6-4, 6-2 in the second round.

Davenport made 10 errors as she muddled through the first set. She picked up her play and had only one unforced error in the second set before firing five aces in the third.

Not at her best

The American won the first nine points in the final set and led 5-1 .

"I just wasn't ready to be at my very best at the beginning," Davenport said. "She was very aggressive and caught me on the back foot.

"I tried to buckle down ... I knew I wasn't playing my best, so I thought I'd do what I needed to do."

Myskina had problems with her serve and trailed 3-1 in the first set, muttering to herself and gesturing at lines after losing points.

"My emotion doesn't really help me on court," she said.

She regained control and won four consecutive games to close out the first set, and then didn't face a break point in the second.

Myskina will face 25th-seeded Lisa Raymond, a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Clara Koukalova, in the third round. Last year, Raymond upset Venus Williams, then seeded third, in the third round en route to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Abigail Spears, playing only her second major, knocked out No. 20 Tatiana Golovin of France 7-5, 6-1 to make the third round.

Serena makes her case

In other women's matches, 14th-seeded Francesca Schiavone beat Tatiana Perebiynis 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, and 26th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova had a 6-4, 6-0 win over 28-year-old Barbara Schett, who retired from singles play after the match.

Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Massu lasted 41 minutes and didn't win a game before an injured left foot forced him to quit his second-round match against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber when he trailed 6-0, 2-0.

American Bobby Reynolds upset 17th-seeded Andrei Pavel 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2, while Argentina's Guillermo Canas, seeded 12th, advanced 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 over Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

Seventh-seeded Serena Williams did her best Wednesday to convince anyone watching that she's a championship contender, hitting 38 crisp winners and losing just seven points in the second set in a 6-3, 6-0 win over Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar.

Two of Russia's other major holders -- Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova and U.S. Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova -- advanced to the third round.

Fourth-seeded Sharapova overcame Lindsay Lee-Waters with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 win on her sixth match point. Kuznetsova, seeded fifth, got some relief from questions about doping, eliminating Marion Bartoli 6-2, 6-0 in 40 minutes.

Two other Russian women won: No. 11 Nadia Petrova and Vera Douchevina, who upset No. 9 Vera Zvonareva. Three others lost, including Dinara Safina -- younger sister of Marat Safin -- who fell to second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Safin, twice the Australian runner-up, and four-time champion Andre Agassi had straight-sets wins Wednesday, while top-ranked Roger Federer encountered more trouble than he'd anticipated from Japanese qualifier Takao Suzuki before producing a 23rd consecutive win.

Federer, who won 11 titles last season including three majors, equaled his career best streak with the 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Eighth-seeded Agassi continued to look good despite a hip problem that threatened his participation in the Open, defeating Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 in a rematch of the 2003 final.

Safin beat Bohdan Ulihrach 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, while French Open champion Gaston Gaudio overcame Olympic silver medalist Mardy Fish 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (4).




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