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Kuerten Wins 1st Round in Bid to Defend French Open Title - 2002-05-27


Brazilian tennis star Gustavo Kuerten has opened defense of his French Open title with a victory, beating Ivo Heuberger of Switzerland 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 on center court at Roland Garros in Paris.

The three-time champion and seventh seed, who underwent hip surgery in February, will play Italian Davide Sanguinetti in the second round. In other matches involving seeded players wedged in between a pair of rain delays, ninth seeded Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson of Sweden returned to Grand Slam play with a 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 win over claycourt specialist Franco Squillari of Argentina.

Top-seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia scored a 7-5, 6-4, 7-5 win over Andre Sa of Brazil, while number 16 Younes El Aynaoui of Morrocco, 18th seeded Alex Corretja of Spain, and No. 30 Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands also advanced.

In the women's draw, second-seeded American Venus Williams beat Bianka Lamade of Germany, 6-3, 6-3, while 10th seeded Amelie Mauresmo of France defeated countrywoman Camille Pin, 6-4, 6-1. Noumber 11 Daniela Hantuchova cruised past Cara Black of Zimbabwe, 6-2, 6-3 and 13th seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia topped Czech player Adriana Gersi, 7-5, 6-3. Other seeds advancing included (23) Anne Kremer of Luxembourg, (29) Iva Majoli of Croatia and (31) Rita Grande of Italy.

Heavy showers forced the competitors off the court twice on Monday.

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