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Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 13:03 GMT
Williams survives scare

Williams: Too many unforced errors


Martina Hingis and Serena Williams are through to the second round of the Australian Open - in contrasting style.

While Hingis' victory over Mirjana Lucic took just 43 minutes, US Open champion Williams had to battle as she lost a set to Australian wildcard Amanda Grahame 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

The 17-year-old American was the only top star not to play a warm-up to the first Grand Slam of the season.


The US Open champion relieved after her win
Williams' lack of practice showed, while she also needed ice treatment for a back injury.

In the first set the US star went 4-2 down before taking four successive games to win.

Rain stopped play during the second as she trailed 3-1, and after a 25-minute delay Grahame returned to take the set.

The pair traded breaks in the decider and Williams was forced to dig deep against the local favourite.

Her agitation disappeared as she blew kisses to the crowd when Grahame netted a forehand to give her the match.

"It's my first match in three months and the errors were just out of control.

"There's no excuse," said Williams, who admitted knowing little about Grahame.

"I knew nothing about her game but if you're a top player you have to be ready for everyone. I have that never-say-die spirit."

No problems for Hingis

Defending champion Hingis saw off former doubles partner Lucic 6-1, 6-2.

The 17-year-old Croat looked leaden-footed as the top seed made her chase around the court.


Hingis started defence with easy win
Hingis raced into a 5-0 first set lead, and Lucic could not come back despite an improvement.

The match ended after just 43 minutes, with Lucic producing an unforced error every two minutes of play.

Hingis was delighted as she began the 2000 season following a 1999 the Swiss would like to forget.

"Just this being a Grand Slam itself, I think it's enough motivation for me to just play well and set yourself up a big goal," she said.

Elsewhere two-times finalist Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario eased past Germany's Julia Abe.

The No 13 seed took a minute less than an hour to win 6-2, 6-2.

Abe, aged 23 and ranked 119th in the world, hit some big serves but also nine double faults.

The Spaniard joined some of the leading men in an attack on the pace of the resurfaced Melbourne courts. "What is surprising is that every time you come here it's different," she said.

"All the other Grand Slams are always the same so I don't know why this one has to be different. I am not the only one who says that."

Fellow Spaniard Conchita Martinez, the 10th seed, also had it easy against Czech Sandra Kleinova, winning 6-1, 6-1.

Austrian sixth seed Barbara Schett came off best in a tough battle with Meilen Tu of the United States, winning 6-2, 6-7 (1/7), 6-4.

Dokic fined

Tuesday also saw Australian Jelena Dokic fined $2,500 for failing to turn up at a news conference after her first round defeat on Monday.

The Australian, who beat Hingis at Wimbledon last year, was five hours late before criticising victor Rita Kuti-Kis.

"I lost to a player that has never been a player and I guess probably never will be," said the teenager.

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See also:
18 Jan 00 |  Tennis
Parmar out after marathon
18 Jan 00 |  Tennis
Rusedski out of Davis Cup tie
17 Jan 00 |  Tennis
Australian Open results
14 Jan 00 |  Tennis
Challengers out to topple Hingis
14 Jan 00 |  Tennis
American dream Down Under
15 Jan 00 |  Tennis
British duo through to Open
15 Jan 00 |  Tennis
Mauresmo and Hewitt on a roll

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