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Mauresmo on track for No. 1



Published: Fri, January 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



She advanced to the fourth round with a straight-set victory over Ivanovic.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Second-ranked Amelie Mauresmo kept her composure while teenager Ana Ivanovic lost hers today, advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open with 6-2, 7-5 victory.

The 17-year-old Ivanovic broke Mauresmo's serve twice in the second set, but dropped her next two service games. After having game point to force a second-set tiebreaker, Ivanovic struggled to combat Mauresmo's slice backhand and made a string of errors, surrendering the match.

On the men's side, in a much-hyped showdown between the two biggest servers in tennis Thursday, Andy Roddick beat Greg Rusedski 6-0, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round.

Mauresmo rose to the No. 1 ranking last September before slipping behind Lindsay Davenport. Ivanovic made the biggest leap in the rankings on the WTA Tour in 2004, moving 608 spots to finish at No. 97.

Fighting for No. 1

The 25-year-old Mauresmo, a finalist here in 1999, said Friday's third-round win was part of her progression to, "hopefully," her first major title.

"It's a long way still, three matches down, four to go and some good players still in the field," she said. "I'm happy with how things are going -- it's the first time that I got into a Grand Slam with this ranking.

"I'm enjoying it. Hopefully, I get closer and closer to the No. 1 spot."

She next faces Evgenia Linetskaya, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over American Amy Frazier, seeded 21st.

Ivanovic, who won her first WTA Tour title in Canberra last week, hit 20 of her 34 unforced errors in the second set, and made a double-faults in the sixth and eighth games to either give Mauresmo break points or the game.

In other matches, 15th-seeded Silvia Farina Elia cruised past British qualifier Elena Baltacha 6-1, 6-0 in 56 minutes.

Roddick nearly perfect

The second-seeded Roddick owns the record for fastest serve, at 155 mph, but the big difference in the match was Roddick's returns. He hit winners with almost as much speed as they had coming off Rusedski's racket.

"It was just clicking for me," said Roddick, who shared the record for the fastest serve with Rusedski, the 1997 U.S. Open runnerup, until twice breaking the mark last season.

Roddick committed only eight unforced errors and dropped serve just once.

No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt did more running, coming back from a set and a break down to beat James Blake 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-0, 6-3.

Blake's fortunes turned when he cut his racket hand in a desperate lunge in a rally at the end of the second set.

Venus Williams continued to play well in her bid to return to the top of the game, beating China's Peng Shuai 6-3, 6-1, while No. 1-ranked Lindsay Davenport and No. 3 Anastasia Myskina both had nervous moments before advancing.

Davenport appeared to be still overcoming bronchitis that restricted her buildup before earning a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 99th-ranked Michaela Pastikova.

Myskina fell behind 3-1 in the first set, but regained control in a four-game streak and then didn't face a break point in the second set while ousting No. 114 Tzipora Obziler 6-4, 6-2.

Seventh-seeded Tim Henman and former top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero advanced in straight sets.

Also advancing were four Argentineans -- French Open finalist Guillermo Coria, ninth-seeded David Nalbandian, No. 12 Guillermo Canas and No. 25 Juan Ignacio Chela, who plays Hewitt in the next round.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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