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  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-04-2004 10:51 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Lleyton was defeated in the quarterfinal of the French Open 3-6 2-6 2-6 by Gaudio . Good luck Lleyton in Queens and Wimbledon !!!!!!!!!!!! Come on Lleyton ^_^
06-02-2004 09:03 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Match of the day (1): Gaudio v Hewitt
By Guillaume Baraise
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

This is the quarter final few would have predicted. Gaston Gaudio is the only non-seed left in the tournament, while Lleyton Hewitt (No12) has never thrived on clay. Yet no-one can deny they deserve their place in the last eight, and with the draw favoring them, one is destined for a place in the semis. Best on clay, the Argentinian must start out as slight favorite, but if he is to progress he will need to conquer his nerves as well as Hewitt.

Gaston Gaudio is appearing in his first-ever Grand Slam quarter final. Given his fondness for the red dirt, it is no surprise that his breakthrough should come at Roland Garros. Compared to previous years, however, Gaudio was not in great form coming into the Paris fortnight, with only a runners-up spot in Barcelona to show for his efforts this year. The South American had to battle hard in the first two rounds here, requiring five sets to overcome compatriot Guillermo Canas and Czech No14 seed Jiri Novak. He dropped a set against Thomas Enqvist in the next round, before putting in his best performance so far in a straight-set victory over Russian Igor Andreev in the round of sixteen. Now 25, Gaudio is about to play the biggest match of his life, not so long after considering packing up the game altogether. "I always dreamed of playing well here. I don’t think I’ll play in many more Roland Garros tournaments, so I’m going to make sure I enjoy it," he commented after his latest win.

This is the second time Hewitt has reached the quarter finals of the French Open, the last dating back to 2001. The former world number one is reaping the rewards of the work he has been putting in with his coach, Roger Rasheed. In addition to his stamina and speed, Hewitt has travelled this far almost on willpower alone. He dropped a set against Arnaud Di Pasquale, another to the Austrian Jurgen Melzer, before requiring five sets to down last year’s finalist, Martin Verkerk (No19). Even his straight set success over Xavier Malisse was not as straightforward as it looked on paper. The Belgian led in each set, but fell victim of Hewitt’s indestructible self-belief.

Much will depend on Gaudio’s frame of mind. Liable to self-destruct on the big occasion, the Argentinian will need to toughen up mentally if he is to beat Hewitt. He led the Australian comfortably in Monte Carlo, for example, before cracking 1-6 7-6 6-1. Provided he keeps his cool, Gaudio should win. His game is far more suited to clay than Hewitt’s. Slightly more powerful than the Australian, he has a textbook backhand and a drop shot that will have Hewitt scampering. The number 12 seed has less tricks up his sleeve, but will call on his steely resolve to go with his experience of the big stage. Quite who will prevail in this clash between the South American with the exquisite claycourt technique and the Antipodean with the never-say-die attitude is difficult to predict. Whoever wins, the match will be fascinating to behold.

The most relevant match is probably the last, as its outcome may have a bearing on the outcome of Wednesday’s encounter. It came at the World Team Cup in Dsseldorf, where Gaudio edged it 6-3 5-7 7-6. "Just like in Monte Carlo, I was way out in front but he came back. Only this time I won, and that has spurred me on," said the Argentinian. Gaudio beat Hewitt on clay in Barcelona in 2002, but lost their first match, on a hard surface in Miami, in 2000.
06-02-2004 09:01 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

John Fitzgerald:''Lleyton is fresh.''
By Georges Homsi
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Australian Davis Cup coach John Fitzgerald is playing up Lleyton Hewitt’s chances against Gaston Gaudio in the quarter finals Wednesday.

What do you think of Lleyton Hewitt’s chances of progressing even further at Roland Garros?
JF: Lleyton has only ever been at this stage of the competition once before. But I think he’s in better shape this time. He is fresher, and I think his chances of winning are greater.

Are you referring to the weightlifting he’s been doing with his coach Roger Rasheed ?
JF: He’s in better shape than ever, that’s true and he’s stronger too. Above all though, he hasn’t had to play two or three five-setters. He’ll be fresh when he gets on court to face Gaudio.

Is he better than he used to be on clay, and if so, in what way?
JF: I think he’s more able to generate his own power now. That’s important, and I also think he moves a bit better than before. His footwork has always been excellent but I think he moves better on clay now.

How do you rate his chances against Gaudio?
JF: He’s very capable of beating Gaudio. They respect each other and it should be a good battle. They’ve met quite a few times in the past, and they’ve beaten each other on clay. The first set will be very important. If Lleyton plays like he has done up until now he has a good chance of winning. I think Lleyton should try to make things happen.
06-02-2004 08:58 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Today Lleyton plays the first match on Court Phillipe Chatrier. Come on Lleyton !!!!!!!!!!!! Go Lleyton against Gaudio today !!!!!!! Lleyton can do it ^_^
06-01-2004 11:26 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Lleyton won Malisse 7-5-6-2/7-6 ( 8-6 ).The next round Lleyton will meet Gaudio .Good luck Lleyton in Quarter final round !!!!!!!! Go Lleyton against Gaudio tomorrow ^_^
05-31-2004 10:39 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Today Lleytpn plays the second match in LENGLEN Court.
Go Lleyton against Malisse Today !!!!!!!! Come on Lleyton ^_^
05-30-2004 05:46 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Steely Hewitt calm under fire
By Nyree Epplett
Saturday, May 29, 2004

On Saturday at Roland Garros, the last remaining Aussie Lleyton Hewitt rallied from behind to out-muscle last year’s finalist Martin Verkerk 6-2 3-6 4-6 6-2 6-1 and move into the fourth round. The 12th seed is now just one match short of his best ever showing on the red clay here.

“I feel as good as I’ve ever probably felt on clay,” said the Aussie. “But going into the second week it doesn’t get any easier.”

And as much as he and every other fair dinkum Aussie would hate to admit it, Australia’s devastating first round Davis Cup demise might just have been a blessing in disguise for Hewitt in this event.

Today’s stirring win comes on the back of Hewitt’s most comprehensive claycourt season yet, made possible by Australia’s Davis Cup loss to Sweden in February. It gave the former world No1 the rare chance to get to Europe early and hone his skills on his least favorite surface. He came into this tournament with 14 gritty claycourt matches under his belt, more than ever before, and it showed on Court Suzanne Lenglen today.

During the two hour, 48 minute tussle, the steely Hewitt never let up, weathering a hearty Verkerk renaissance in the second and third sets and breaking the Dutchman’s spirit by reeling off 10 straight games to steal the victory.

The Aussie played a flawless first set, where he made no unforced errors, before the giant Dutchman hit a purple patch that lasted two whole sets. Verkerk upped the velocity on his groundstrokes, pushing Hewitt out to the sides of the court with his explosive power and perfect placement. He harnessed his brilliant one-handed backhand to secure a single service break in each set, and closed out the third with a 204km serve that clipped the top of Hewitt’s racquet and sprayed out into the stands. This was the same Verkerk who had beaten former champ Carlos Moya and Guillermo Coria enroute to the final last year. Throughout today’s encounter he blasted down 54 winners, including 18 aces.

“I’ve never seen a guy hit that many lines on his serve,” said Hewitt. “I guess that’s how he made the final last year.”

With his back to the wall, and down a break in the fourth (1-2), Hewitt staged a comeback of titanic proportions. Sniffing a lull in the Verkerk onslaught, the Aussie chopped up the pace and charged the net. The 19th seed, now clearly waning physically and mentally, played a string of loose points to hand Hewitt the next three service breaks and the set. He notched up 61 unforced errors for the match.

“I was just trying to get a start into his service game. It would have taken a hell of a lot to keep up that serve the whole of the match,” said the former Wimbledon and US Open champ.

Hewitt scrambled and counter-punched his way through the fourth and fifth sets, and finally broke Verkerk’s spirit with a brilliant topspin lob that handed the Aussie the vital break in the decider (2-0). The No12 seed raced to 5-0 in the fifth (10 games in a row) before Verkerk got back on the board.

“I knew that when I could get a look at his second serve that I had the opportunity to win the point…When you play a guy like that, you have to take your chances when you get them.

“I had to draw on everything I had out there today. I didn’t feel like I was playing badly, it was just an awkward match. I didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong.”

Hewitt has been flying the Aussie flag in Paris since round one, when the only other three Australian men in the tournament, tripped up on the ‘terre bateau’.

He now meets the winner of the clash between 2002 champ Albert Costa and Belgian Xavier Malisse for a berth in the quarter final.
05-30-2004 05:39 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Lleyton won Verkerk 6-2 /3-6 /4-6/ 6-2/ 6-1. Woo !!!!!!!!! Next round Lleyton will meet Costa or Malisse . Go Lleyton tomorrow against Costa or Malisse. Come on Lleyton
05-29-2004 08:35 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Order of play !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jennifer Capriati (USA)[7] v. Elena Bovina (RUS)[25]
Roger Federer (SUI)[1] v. Gustavo Kuerten (BRA)[28]
Mary Pierce (FRA)[30] v. Venus Williams (USA)[4]
Potito Starace (ITA) v. Marat Safin (RUS)[20]

Anastasia Myskina (RUS)[6] v. Denisa Chladkova (CZE)
Silvija Talaja (CRO) v. Serena Williams (USA)[2]
Igor Andreev (RUS) v. Julien Benneteau (FRA)
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)[12] v. Martin Verkerk (NED)[19]

Court 1
Shinobu Asagoe (JPN) v. Gisela Dulko (ARG)
Myriam Casanova (SUI) v. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)[11]
Feliciano Lopez (ESP)[23] v. Hyung-Taik Lee (KOR)
Albert Costa (ESP)[26] v. Xavier Malisse (BEL)

Court 2
Thomas Enqvist (SWE) v. Gaston Gaudio (ARG)
Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) v. Fabiola Zuluaga (COL)[23]

Court 7
Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[17] v. Virginia Ruano Pascual (ESP)
Stefan Koubek (AUT) v. David Nalbandian (ARG)[8]

Good lcuk Lleyton in third round !!!!!!!! Go Lleyton against Verkerk ^_^
05-28-2004 10:20 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Here's the interview of Lleyton after his match against Melzer ^_^
Q. I guess you could have won that in three, but you also could have lost the first set. Pretty tight either way?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I felt like I played well. I felt like I played better than I did in my first round.

He's an awkward player to play. I played him in Hamburg for the first time. He mixes it up. He mixes the pace up. He hits a lot of dropshots. He's a left-hander, as well, so obviously the serve is a little bit different.

Very good to get that first set under my belt. Obviously beat him in straight sets in Hamburg, keep that momentum going from that first one. Good to come back from 4-2 down in the first set.

Q. Every time you broke him, he broke you almost straight back. Was that a concentration thing or something your serve is troubling you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, it's pretty much only the once I think in the third set that he broke me straight back after I broke him in the second set, but I was able to break him again and hold it out.

No, I don't think -- you know, I could have served definitely better out there. Probably didn't get as many first serves in as I would have liked. But, you know, I felt like I mixed it up well. The breakpoints that I was down, you know, throughout the first and second set, I was able to get out of them. I felt like I served well on the big points.

Q. Are you feeling better for the fact you played more on clay leading in than you have in the past? Do you think it's made a difference to you to where you are right now?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel pretty confident where my game's at at the moment. This time last year actually, even though I lost to Robredo, I felt like the first two sets in that match were the best tennis I ever played on clay, when I won those first two sets.

I feel confident maybe overall more, maybe moving a little bit better on clay this year purely because I've spent a little bit more time on it.

But, yeah, every time I come to the clay court season, I think it's always going to take me a few weeks to get to my best.

Q. Just talk about the difference between the third and fourth sets, how you were able to turn that around, walk away pretty easily in the last set?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't feel like there was a huge difference out there. I had breakpoints in the first game of the third, and the third game of the third set. I actually felt like I was really getting on top of him there. He came up with some big serves. I think he came up with a net cord on one of the breakpoints there. I actually felt like I was holding my service games a lot easier at the start of the third set.

You know, I went up a break in the third set. Didn't do that much wrong. He came up with a couple of big shots. You know, probably just didn't quite stay as aggressive as I could have at the 5-4 game when I lost my serve to lose a set. Then again, he came up with some big shots. He really had nothing to lose after being down two sets and a break.

I felt like it was important, any time I got those breakpoints early in the fourth set, to take them. I was able to do that early on and sort of roll on with it from there.

Q. How much is coming to the net helped you on clay? You had pretty good percentages, it's a grind on clay, play a lot of points from the back. But shortening points and closing things out during a tournament of this length, how big is that?>

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's obviously a good way to win points a little bit easier, instead of staying out there grinding. I still feel it's an area of my game I can still work on and get better at.

You know, it's a lot easier I think doing it in practice, you know, then when you got to get out there and do it in the match. Especially in Grand Slams, it's a little bit tougher to make yourself do it all the time.

But I feel overall, I'm doing a little bit better than I've done in the past.

Q. How do the Slams for you compare? Which one is the toughest? Clay is a different surface for you. You must have a lot of pressures on at the Australian, the US Open is always a tough grind. How would you rank them?>

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, obviously the clay court, I think, being at the French Open, to win seven best-of-five-set matches on clay is probably one of the toughest for me personally. For a lot of other guys like Ferrero, it's a little bit easier than the other Slams. So everyone is different.

The other three, I'd say, are pretty similar. Wimbledon you can probably get, you know, some easier draws now and then. But a lot of the clay court specialists are a lot better than grass these days, playing from the back of the court, than they used to be. You know, so there's still some opportunities to get through I think some easier matches, you know, maybe at Wimbledon than you can here, depending on the draw. I think there's so many tough players. Every round is tough here, lucky losers coming through, qualifiers, whoever.

Q. Just the grind of seven clay court matches is the toughest than the distractions of New York or what you have in Australia?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, obviously playing your home Grand Slam, you know, there's always expectation. Yeah, you're on center court a lot more I guess every match. That's something -- after I've played it seven or eight times, you come to deal with that, though. I've played enough Davis Cup matches home, it doesn't really faze me too much.

Q. Hanescu was up a set and a break. Can you talk about the prospects of him in the next round, if it is him?>

LLEYTON HEWITT: If I play him, I played him once only, I think in the US Open first round, night match, last year. He's a tough players. I think he's probably better on clay than he is on hard court, as well. He's had a lot of good wins just before that time I think when I played him, and a lot more since then. He's got a nice backhand, very smooth from the back of the court for a big guy. Obviously, his weapon's his serve.

Q. If it is Verkerk?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I played Martin last week in Dusseldorf, had a very tough match with him. 7-5 in the third. Yeah, he likes playing at this place. Especially last year, I'm sure he's got good feelings about coming in here. I've played him in Sydney on hard court, and I think he's a lot better player on clay than he is on hard court.

Yeah, it will be a tough match. In some ways, they both play a little bit similar games. Obviously, they like dictating play from the back of the court with their big groundstrokes. But, yeah, they can come to the net, and obviously their serves, as well.

Q. A few weeks ago in Rome, there was a hotel fire, luxury hotel. Could have been much more disastrous. That hotel had no fire sprinkling system. When you go into a hotel on the road, is safety a factor for you? Will it be in the future?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably more so now. You don't really think about it too much. I'm sure you guys don't think about it too much either when you're traveling, as well, until something like that happens.

It's like the September 11th thing, you don't think about planes, traveling, security, until that happens sometimes. You know, sure, I've spoken to a couple of guys. They were awfully close to...

Who knows what could have happened. I think you think about it a lot more after something like that does happen.

Q. Coming back to the match of today, he's Austria's No. 1, a lot of expectations on him, as well. He seems to be talented. He had you sometimes with his strokes. What is your opinion on his game? How far can he go?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he's a good player. He's a very good player. He mixes it up very well. He's got a different kind of game out there. He's probably a little bit loose still out there, you know, on some big points.

But, you know, he's had some good wins, especially this year. I know he beat Henman in the first round in Miami. He obviously beat Safin and some guys pretty easily on clay in Hamburg before I played him. I think he's just going to get better and better.

He looks like he can play on all surfaces, too.

Q. Have you been made aware of the details of the US Open series program, the six-tournament buildup in which you can double your winnings at the US Open? Are you familiar with that?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know the whole details. I know enough, I think.

Q. The money involved, would that cause you to reassess how many tournaments you would play leading up to the US Open? How seductive is the money factor?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, for me personally, I wouldn't change my schedule. I'll do what I think's in the best interest of, you know, how I'm going to perform the best at the US Open for that fortnight. I'm not going to go out there and chase whatever tournaments it is.

So me personally, I won't be changing my schedule around the US Open series. But, you know, I think, who knows, if it's going to be a great success or not. I think the positive will be if we can get more television on -- tennis on television in the United States. From what I've heard, I think a lot more of the tournaments and finals especially are meant to be on TV live, which will be a lot better, I think.

Q. The first men's tournament on that series is LA. You've signed up for that tournament. What do you like about LA and California?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don't know. The tournament, I've only played it -- the first time I played it, I actually made the quarters, twisted my ankle against Andre. I like the tournament. The night matches there are good fun, good atmosphere, good crowds there. Yeah, I just feel like it's a good place to start before the Super 9's, before the two Masters Series leading in. Played well there last year. I was unlucky not to win it.

Yeah, I like going back there. It's a smaller tournament, but it's a well-run tournament, as well.

Q. It seems you have the game to play on clay very successfully. What do you think is missing compared to your big successes on other surfaces so far?

LLEYTON HEWITT: I don't know. I think naturally, you know, especially hard court, I think my game, you know, naturally I grew up playing on hard court. Grass, I had to adjust my game a little bit, I think. But probably clay more so I've had to adjust my game. It's going to take time. It doesn't come as naturally, as easy, I think, as the other surfaces. Plus some of these other guys, you know, they wake up and they train on clay every day of their life.

Q. Given that Michael Chang won, your games aren't completely similar, but wasn't big, no huge weapon, there's no counting you out of winning a title like this, is there?

LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don't think so. I think Michael was obviously an exceptional player. I think the game's changed a little bit. You know, obviously with probably the power and that a little bit more. I think Michael beat Lendl in the final. Yeah, Lendl hit the ball extremely hard, from what I've heard from a lot of guys.

Yeah, I don't think with my style of game I can totally be counted out. I think there's a lot more clay court specialists these days, though, that are probably the favorites to win here.
05-28-2004 10:18 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Lleyton won 6-4/6-4/4-6/6-2.
Hewitt overpowers Austrian
From correspondents in Paris
May 27, 2004

LLEYTON HEWITT lifted a gear when needed to scramble his way into the third round of the French Open with a four sets win over Austrian world No.51 Jurgen Melzer.

Hewitt blew a chance to wrap up a straight sets win when he handed back a break in the third set and grew increasingly frustrated with himself as he ground out a 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-2 win in two hours and 44 minutes.

The 12th seeded Australian appeared to lack a killer punch, giving up early breaks in each of the first three sets as he struggled to assert his service on the red clay.

But he turned up the tempo when under pressure in the fourth set, breaking Melzer's serve twice and convincingly holding on to his own to secure a place in the third round.

Hewitt came back from a break down in the first set to win four games in a row and exchanged breaks with the left hander in the second before a pair of double faults from Melzer gave the former world No.1 the decisive break.

In the third set, Hewitt appeared to be heading for his second straight sets win over Melzer this month when he broke him to lead 4-3 and stepped up to serve to go to a 5-3 lead.

But he did not win a point on his serve and after Melzer held his to lead 5-4, the pony-tailed Austrian broke Hewitt for the second successive game to take the match into a fourth set.

The only Australian left in the tournament, Hewitt came into Roland Garros on the back of the best clay court build up of his career, winning nine of 14 matches on the red dirt before arriving in Paris. Games went smoothly with serve in the first set on a crisp Paris morning until Hewitt stumbled on his to go down 4-2 as Melzer's deep penetrating forehands gave him the ascendancy.

Hewitt struck back immediately, with a forehand pass giving him two break points.

Hewitt had to battle to hold his serve in the next game, saving a break point and then restoring the balance at 4-4 with a sliced backhand and an ace.

He set himself up for the decisive break with a sizzling backhand winner down the line and broke the left hander for the second time.

Serving for the set, a service winner and an ace took Hewitt to 30-0, but Melzer's pace kept him in the game and he scrambled his way around the court retrieving drop shots and angled volleys to hold two break points.

For once, Hewitt's serve got him out of trouble and his third ace gave him set point and another service winner gave him the set in 41 minutes.

Hewitt was pleased with the way he overcame the skilful Melzer, whom he beat in the quarter-finals at the Hamburg Masters earlier this month.

"I felt like I played well, I felt like I played better than I did in my first round," Hewitt said.

"He's an awkward player to play. He mixes it up, he mixes the pace up, he hits a lot of drop shots.

"It was very good to get that first set under my belt, it was good to come back from 4-2 down.

"I could have served definitely better out there, I probably didn't get as many first serves in as I would have liked.

"But I felt I mixed it up well.

"The break points that I was down throughout the first and second set I was able to get out of them. I felt like I served well on the big points."

He said his better clay preparation this year was producing results.

"I feel pretty confident where my game's at at the moment."
05-28-2004 10:14 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Good luck Lleyton to third round !!!!!!!!!!!!! Come on Lleyton ^_^
05-26-2004 10:59 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Lleyton is so cute. I love bule color. great colour for him
Pictures >>>>> http://editorial.****************/source/CFW/imageResults.aspx?s=ImagesSearchState|0|15|0|1|||0 |0|0|0|2|Lleyton++Hewitt&p=2
05-26-2004 10:38 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Sporting Life

Fabrice Santoro won the longest match in tennis history at the French Open on Tuesday.

The French star beat compatriot Arnaud Clement 6-4 6-3 6-7 3-6 16-14 in a match that lasted an amazing six hours and 33 minutes.

After Clement had fought back from two sets down, the players were forced off at 5-5 in the final set on Monday night due to fading light.

When they returned on Tuesday morning, the set continued with serve until Santoro made what appeared to be the crucial break to take a 12-11 lead.

But Clement, the 32nd seed, struck back immediately to ensure the war of attrition continued.

Clement, who had squandered one match point on Monday, gained another at 14-13, but Santoro saved it and then broke in the following game to leave himself serving for the match for a second time.

Santoro looked set to choke again when he fell 0-40 down but he battled back to clinch victory, collapsing to the floor in delight - and exhaustion - as he did so.

Santoro, who broke down in tears after his win, said: "This is an exceptional moment for me. Beyond the win there was a great emotion on court and that's what I am playing for.

"We were both heroes in that match. This is the first time in my career that I had to stop a match that way and then win it that way.

"When I arrived on court on Tuesday to complete the fifth set, I took two bottles of mineral water, thinking I would be on court for only 10 minutes."

Clement was not feeling so heroic.

"Frankly I don't give a damn, what world record?" he said.

"Do I get a medal? If I'm not getting anything, frankly I'm not interested. It just doesn't count. Anyway it was split into two days."

Whatever, it was more than an hour longer than the previous longest Grand Slam match and set record after record as it progressed under a burning sun on Suzanne Lenglen court, though it only just squeezed into history as the longest of all time.

The previous record was a bizarre women's contest between Vicky Nelson Dunbar and Jean Hepner on the Virginia Slims circuit in the United States in 1984 which lasted six hours and 31 minutes - and that was for just two sets.

One rally alone lasted 29 minutes and contained 643 shots before Nelson Dunbar triumphed 6-4 7-6.

The better-known men's record had been a Davis Cup match in 1982 between John McEnroe and Sweden's Mats Wilander which lasted six hours and 22 minutes while the longest previous Grand Slam match, here at Roland Garros, was a mere five hours and 31 minutes between Spain's Alex Corretja and Argentina's Hernan Gumy.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer laid down his title claims for all to see with a quickfire win in round one.

The top seed and world number one needed just 76 minutes to sweep past Belgian Kristof Vliegen.

Vliegen, who only reached the main draw as a lucky loser after suffering defeat in the final round of qualifying, had no answer to Federer's skills out on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Federer, who began the tournament as the bookies' favourite, surged to a 6-1 6-2 6-1 victory, clinching it with a crunching forehand winner.

It was the Swiss star's first win at Roland Garros in three years and he now plays German Nicolas Kiefer in round two.

Federer later admitted he had drawn inspiration from Andre Agassi's surprising first-round defeat to unknown Frenchman Jerome Haehnel to ensure he avoided suffering a similar upset.

"I never thought Agassi would lose but I knew Jerome and his potential as I trained with him a few times," Federer said.

"But it proved that anyone can beat you, no matter who you are and which level you are ranked at.

"It shows concentration is a vital element to success."

Federer also expressed his delight at avoiding another first-hurdle exit.

"I am so happy I progressed to the second round, this is a relief for me," he added.

Later in the day, Juan Carlos Ferrero showed he is in good enough shape to launch a decent title defence.

The reigning champion had been a major doubt to compete in the tournament following a fall in training earlier this month.

But he put rib and wrist injuries to one side as he beat the dangerous Tommy Haas in four sets, 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2.

When former world number two Haas took the opener, the talk was of Ferrero being the first defending champion in the Open era to lose in the first round.

But he hit back in style and once he had won the second set with a late break to level the match, the Spanish fourth seed took control.

He won a tight third set and then breezed through the fourth in a style which suggests he will be no pushover for any player over the next fortnight.

Ferrero may not have looked in pain, but afterwards he said he had been affected by his injuries. In fact the fourth seed needed painkillers shortly before the match began.

"The doctor said there was not a risk for me to play. Two years ago I also took painkillers when there was actually a real risk for my injured ankle," he said.

"This time there is no risk and I want to defend my title.

"I have to take things day by day. I will see how I feel in two days' time.

"At the start I did not know how long I would play for.

"I felt better in the second set, was tired in the third, but overall I tried to enjoy myself without thinking about my physical state and it worked."

Lleyton Hewitt came through a see-saw match with Arnaud Di Pasquale, also in four sets.

At times, the former world number one made his opponent look like a novice, none more so than in the first set which he swept through 6-0.

Things got a lot tougher for the Australian in the second set though and he only managed to establish a two-set lead by winning a tie-break by seven points to five.

Still the Moroccan-born Frenchman refused to throw in the towel and he earned himself a lifeline in the match by taking the third set 6-4 with some determined play.

That was the cue for the 12th seed to ratchet up his game once more and he ensured there would be no shock comeback as he raced to victory in the fourth set by winning it 6-1.

Three-time champion Gustavo Kuerten had to fend off a great comeback from a virtual unknown to stay in this year's event.

Kuerten, who won the title at Roland Garros in 1997, 2000 and 2001, looked on his way out when Nicolas Almagro served for the match at 5-4 in the final set, having fought back from two sets down.

But Kuerten won that crucial game and added the next two to reach round two courtesy of a 7-5 7-6 (7/2) 1-6 3-6 7-5 victory.

Seventh seed Rainer Schuettler joined Agassi through the exit door after a comprehensive defeat against 2002 Wimbledon semi-finalist Xavier Malisse.

Malisse gained the early initiative and never looked like surrendering it as he moved to a 6-4 7-5 6-4 win.

The 2003 runner-up Martin Verkerk got off to a winning start in this year's French Open.

The Dutchman, who shocked the tennis world with his run to the final a year ago before he lost to Ferrero, eased into round two with victory over France's Julien Boutter.

The big-serving 19th seed slammed down 11 aces and did not drop serve on his way to a 7-5 6-3 6-1 triumph.

The 2002 winner Albert Costa also won through, in four sets against Flavio Saretta, while the always-dangerous Marat Safin progressed when his opponent Agustin Calleri retired in the third set after the first two had been shared.

French favourite Sebastien Grosjean dropped just six games as he marched into round two.

The French number one, who reached the semi-finals in Paris three years ago, thrashed qualifier Kevin Kim 6-1 6-1 6-4.

Eighth seed David Nalbandian was given a tougher workout by teenager Richard Gasquet.

It took Nalbandian two hours and 31 minutes to record his 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7/1) victory over the 17-year-old former world junior number one whose serve let him down on the day.

Also through is 14th seed Jiri Novak who progressed into the last 64 with a four-set win over Antony Dupuis.

But Max Mirnyi was one of the lower seeds to fall. He lost out to Frenchman Julien Benneteau, going down 7-5 7-5 1-6 6-3 out on Court 17.
05-26-2004 10:35 AM
Re: +++++ Come on Rusty in French Open Cheering Thread +++++

Lleyton plea for clay courts
The Advertiser

LLEYTON HEWITT believes Australia must skip a generation if the country is ever to boast a regular supply line of clay court specialists.

The former world No.1 is the only Australian man left at this year's French Open after compatriots Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Arthurs and Todd Reid were all beaten on the first day.

"It's a bit hard to get guys who are probably 16 onwards. I think you have to look at the 10, 12 and 14-year-olds to get them on clay courts and teach them how to slide and move," said Hewitt, the 12th seed, after booking his place in the second round with a 6-0 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-1 win over France's Arnaud di Pasquale.

"I think it's a lot easier to adjust from being a good clay court player to become a good grass court or hard court player than vice-versa. The game has changed so much that you can play from the back of the court on all surfaces now."

Australia has been without a French Open champion since 1969, ever since Rod Laver won here, but Hewitt believes that if his country can encourage a culture of clay court tennis, then it might not be another 35 years before another Laver comes along.

"It wouldn't be hard for the kids to play on clay if we had clay courts in Australia.

"For the older guys, it's always going to be a lot tougher to make the transition. But the surface at the French Open is probably the least favourite for all Australians."

Hewitt's best performance here came in 2001 when he made the quarter-final and he next faces Austria's Jurgen Melzer who eliminated veteran South African Wayne Ferreira.

He beat the Austrian just two weeks ago in Hamburg and, to fuel his confidence further here, his section of the draw has opened up with seventh seed Rainer Schuettler of Germany losing to Balgium's Xavier Malisse today.
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