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Safin Defeats Kiefer at US Open - 2002-08-28


Marat Safin of Russia has battled his own temper and the hard service game of Germany's Nicolas Kiefer to advance to the second round of the U.S. Open tennis championships in Flushing, New York.

The second-seeded Safin, a former U.S. Open champion, smashed two rackets Tuesday during a match that lasted more than four and one-half hours. But he ended up winning the five-set marathon 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, when Kiefer gave in to fatigue and cramps.

Top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia knocked off Frenchman Nicolas Coutelot, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, while number seven Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain needed four sets to move past Australian Wayne Arthurs, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. Number nine Carlos Moya of Spain posted a four set win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 over Adrian Voinea of Romania. And 11th seeded American Andy Roddick beat Martin Verkerk of the Netherlands in straight sets 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Other men's seeds advancing included number 18 Alex Corretja of Spain, 19th-seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium and number 24 Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands. Number 23 Rainer Schuettler of Germany and 27th seed Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador did not advance.

In women's play, second-seeded Venus Williams of the United States started the defense of her U.S. Open crown with a 6-0, 6-0 trouncing of Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic. Third seeded Jennifer Capriati was equally as dominating, beating fellow American Bethanie Mattek 6-0, 6-0.

Other seeds advancing included number-six American Monica Seles, who defeated Zsofia Gubacsi of Hungary, 6-3, 6-3 and seventh-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium, who beat Conchita Martinez Granados of Spain 6-1, 6-love. Ninth-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland topped American Marissa Irvin, in three sets 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 while number 10 Amelie Mauresmo of France beat Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.

Also moving to the second round were number-14 Chanda Rubin of the United States, 18th-seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan, number-17 Anna Smashnova of Israel, and 21st-seed Lisa Raymond of the United States.

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