Vol. 4 Num 94 Fri. August 29, 2003  

US Open
Federer survives a fright

Wimbledon champion Roger Federer fired 15 aces to fight off a first-round challenge from Argentina's Jose Acasuso while women's top seed Kim Clijsters advanced with ease here Wednesday at the US Open.

Second seed Federer was down a set and a break but rallied to lead 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, 2-0 when his 75th-ranked rival retired from the first-round match with a sore thigh, giving the 22-year-old Swiss his ATP-best 59th victory of the year.

"What worried me was that I was a little impatient," Federer said.

"Luckily for me I bounced back. I have to see that this does not happen in the future."

Federer dropped the first set and surrendered a service break to open the second, but ideas of an upset at Arthur Ashe Stadium quickly faded as Federer displayed the form that brought him a Grand Slam crown last month in England.

"Even though I lost the first set I thought I was serving pretty good," said Federer. "It was a pity I lost that first set. He was playing tough."

Federer, who next faces the winner of a later match between France's Jean-Rene Lisnard and Sweden's Magnus Norman, has seen little change in his game since winning at Wimbledon.

"Once you walk on the court, it doesn't change much," Federer said.

"You see that second seed by your name but it doesn't matter that much. I'm not looking at this whole thing very differently than I used to."

Belgium's Clijsters, the only women's world number one to have never won a Slam title, needed only 49 minutes to oust American Laura Granville 6-1, 6-1 and reach a third-round date with Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova.

"I definitely stepped my game up a little bit," Clijsters said.

"I was happy with the way I played."

Australian Mark Philippoussis, who lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final, ousted 149th-ranked Serbian qualifier Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

"It was tough. He's got nothing to lose. I just had to hang in there and play my game," Philippoussis said.

"I lost a bit of concentration in the second and third sets. If there is ever a time to do that, I guess it's now. Next time I have to try to cut those out, stay focused for the whole match."

Next for 20th-rated Philippoussis, who lost the 1998 US Open final to fellow Aussie Pat Rafter, is France's 64th-ranked Anthony Dupuis, who saved two match points to beat Russia's 36th-rated Mikhail Youzhny 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Top-ranked Andre Agassi plays Swede Andreas Vinciguerra, Aussie sixth seed Lleyton Hewitt faces South Korean Lee Hyung-Taik and Thai 11th seed Paradorn Srichaphan meets Slovakian Dominik Hrbaty in Thursday's top matches.

American third seed Lindsay Davenport, the only past champion entered here, showed no sign of left foot pain in beating Italy's Maria Elena Camerin 6-2, 6-4. The foot injury forced her to retire from a WTA final last Saturday.

"I played a good solid match, got through relatively easily," Davenport said.

"I'm not quite on top of the ball as well as I would like to be, but the main thing is my foot didn't hurt. I didn't feel it at all."

Fifth seed Amelie Mauresmo of France reached the third round by defeating compatriot Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-2, 6-2.

"Every part of my game was working very well," Mauresmo said. "I played a good match from first point to last. I'm starting to hit the ball very well."

Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn matched her best Grand Slam showing, ousting Swiss 18th seed Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-3 to reach the third round, where she will face ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.

"I'm pretty happy," Tamarine said. "I seem to get tougher and tougher. My body has gotten stronger. I know I have a great opportunity but I try not to think about it."

Hantuchova beat Ukrainian Julia Vakulenko 6-0, 7-6 (7/5) despite being frustrated by lobs in the second set and missing on two match points before Vakulenko sent a forehand wide to end the match.

"(Tamarine) is a great player. She has been on the tour many years. She knows the game. She must be playing her best. I'm expecting a tough match."

South African qualifier Wesley Moodie beat Spain's Albert Montanes 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 6-2 to reach the second round, where he will face Spanish seventh seed Carlos Moya, who ousted Aussie Scott Draper 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6).

"Things are going well for me," Moodie said.

"Hopefully I can keep it up."

Moya fired 26 aces and hit 69 winners past the 111th-ranked Aussie, who managed to win only two of 11 break-point opportunities. Moya capitalized on three of four break chances to win in two hours and 35 minutes.