August 28, 2006

Henin-Hardenne, Roddick reach second round

By Steve Ginsburg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Justine Henin-Hardenne overwhelmed
Italy's Maria Elena Camerin in straight sets to lead a parade
of seeded players into the second round at the U.S. Open on

Henin-Hardenne needed just 74 minutes to crush Camerin 6-2
6-1 during the first session of the grand slam just two days
after she captured the New Haven title in her only
post-Wimbledon tournament.

On the men's side, ninth seed and 2003 champion Andy
Roddick looked particularly sharp as he moved into the second
round by whipping France's Florent Serra 6-2 6-1 6-3.

The 36-year-old Andre Agassi, playing his last tournament
before retiring, was due to play Romanian Andrei Pavel on
Arthur Ashe Stadium in the marquee match of the night session.

Injury-prone Belgian Henin-Hardenne blasted 24 winners past
her bewildered Italian opponent, looking in-form despite
sitting out much of the summer with a nagging knee injury.

"The transition from New Haven to here wasn't very easy
because I didn't hit a single ball here on the U.S. Open courts
before my warm-up for my match today but I feel good," she

The 24-year-old, who won the 2006 French Open and was a
finalist at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, is not making
any predictions about the final grand slam of the year.

"I'm not thinking too much about what could happen here,"
she said. "I'm healthy. That's very important. My knee is
feeling fine. I just have to be careful."


With new coach Jimmy Connors looking on, Roddick needed
just an hour and 15 minutes to bounce Serra out of the
tournament and now faces Kristian Pless of Denmark or Alberto
Martin of Spain.

Roddick, who was shocked in the first round last year by
Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, kept Serra off-balance by firing 10
aces while hitting 70 percent of his first serves in.

"I hit them well today," said the American. "A little short
the first couple of games but I think I broke him more than he
held serve today and that's a large step for me.

"I'm putting a lot of returns in the court and I'm doing
something with them. It feels clean right now... I'm really,
really confident."

Joining Henin-Hardenne in the second round was 10th seed
Lindsay Davenport, who showed no signs of the shoulder injury
that forced her to retire from the finals in New Haven.

American Davenport, the 1998 Open winner, needed just 52
minutes to stop Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-1 6-4.

Also advancing was number four seed Elena Dementieva, a 6-1
6-4 winner over American Laura Granville, and number six seed
Svetlana Kuznetsova, who stumbled briefly but recovered to beat
Germany's Sandra Kloesel 6-2 2-6 6-3.