Defending champion Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy has opened with a 7-6, 6-1 victory over Christophe Rochus of Belgium at the International Raiffeisen Grand Prix claycourt tennis event in Saint Polten, Austria. The tournament is a final tuneup for the French Open which begins next week. Gaudenzi is the tournament's seventh seed this year amid a sluggish season. His victory Monday was just his eighth in 22 matches this year. Gaudenzi has not advanced out of the second round so far in 2002. Sixth-seeded Spaniard Albert Montanes was the only other seeded player in action. He topped Julian Knowle of Austria, 7-6, 7-6.
In other action, Markus Hipfl of Austria ousted 18-year-old countryman Johannes Ager, 6-2, 6-2. Attila Savolt of Hungary defeated Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand, 6-2, 6-3. Olivier Rochus of Belgium beat American qualifier Michael Russell, 6-4, 6-2. Julien Boutter of France defeated Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina, 7-5, 6-4. Anthony Dupuis of France got past Swedish opponent Robin Soldering, 6-2, 6-3. Spaniard David Sanchez was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over American qualifier Vincent Spadea. The match between Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Sargis Sargsian of Armenia was postponed due to rain.
Spaniard Marta Marrero has defeated Bianka Lamade of Germany, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, to advance at the Madrid Open, a final warmup event for the French Open next week. Marrero will face top-seeded American Monica Seles on Wednesday in the second round.
Also in action Monday was Chanda Rubin of the United States, who topped Paraguayan Rossana Neffa de los Rios of Paraguay, 6-2, 7-6. Rubin will next take on second-seeded Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, the defending champion. Meanwhile, Colombian Fabiola Zuloaga defeated Canadian Vanessa Webb, 6-4, 6-3. Emilie Loit of France beat Gala Leon Garcia of Spain, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Alicia Molik of Australia upset American Amy Frazier, 6-4, 6-3.
Top ranked men's tennis player Lleyton Hewitt of Australia will be the top-seeded player at next week's French Open. Tournament organizers said on Monday that Hewitt will be followed by Marat Safin of Russia, German Tommy Haas and Andre Agassi of the United States. The French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay, runs from May 27 though June ninth. Seedings for men are based on the ATP's rolling 52-week ranking system. Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov is seeded fifth, followed by Tim Henman and three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten. Roger Federer of Switzerland is seeded eighth at Roland Garros.
On the women's side, reigning champion Jennifer Capriati will be the top seed based on her number one spot in the WTA Tour world rankings. Fellow American Venus Williams is seeded second, followed by her sister, Serena, and Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin. Monica Seles is seeded sixth followed by Yugoslav teen Jelena Dokic. Martina Hingis, ranked eighth in the world, underwent ankle surgery Monday and is skipping the French Open, the only major title she has not won.
Sampras Overcomes Canas at World Team Cup in Duesseldorf
American tennis player Pete Sampras has finally scored a victory on European clay, as he led the United States to a 2-1 win over Argentina at the World Team Cup in Duesseldorf, Germany.
Sampras needed three sets and a tiebreaker Tuesday to overcome Argentina's Guillermo Canas, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6. Sampras' win followed countryman Andy Roddick's 6-3, 6-2 victory over Jose Acasuso, giving the U-S team and unbeatable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three match series. Lucas Arnold and Gaston Etlis won the meaningless doubles match against Americans James Blake and Jared Palmer, 7-5, 6-2, to make the final score 2-1.
In another red group match, Sweden beat France, 2-1, despite playing without injured Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson. Sweden's Thomas Enqvist overcame Nicolas Escude of France, 6-4, 6-4, to give Sweden a 1-0 lead. France evened the match at 1-1 as Arnaud Clement topped Jonas Bjorkman, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. But the Swedes prevailed with a doubles victory, as Bjorkman and Enqvist beat Clement and Escude, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6. The event, which is celebrating its 25th year, consists of two groups of four teams. The winners of each group advance to Saturday's final.