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  Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 02:51 GMT 03:51 UK
Rafter overcomes early scare
Gustavo Kuerten
Kuerten has never advanced beyond the quarter-finals
Two-time US Open champion Patrick Rafter reached the third round at Flushing Meadow by defeating Belgium's Christophe Rochus 7-5 6-2 6-1.

The sixth seed hit 19 aces to win in one hour and 40 minutes.

The Australian's next obstacle will be Ecuador's Nicolas Lapentti.

Rafter, who had been beaten in the first round the past two years, fell behind 5-2 in the first set.

Rafter won in three sets
Rafter won in three sets

But he rallied to win the next five games, twice breaking Rochus, and dominated thereafter.

Lapentti beat Davide Sanguinetti 6-4 7-5 6-3 in the other second-round match of the day at Flushing Meadows.

Earlier, top seed Gustavo Kuerten reached the second round with a four-set victory over Daniel Vacek in the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

The Brazilian, who won his third French Open title earlier this year, beat the Czech veteran 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-5.

The world number one had to rely on his serve to get him through, sending down a total of 18 aces.


I've never passed the quarter-finals here but I think I'm good enough to do it this year
Gustavo Kuerten

He now faces a second-round meeting with Dane Kristian Pless who beat Spain's Albert Martin, despite dropping the first set.

Seeded Swede cedes

Sweden's Thomas Enqvist was the only men's seed to fall on the third day.

The 19th seed, on the comeback trail after injury, succumbed to Germany's Bjorn Phau in four sets.

Former world number one and 1998 semi-finalist Carlos Moya had a comfortable first-round victory over Mardy Fish.

Spaniard Moya, who struggled with a stress fracture in his back last year, breezed past the American in three sets 6-3 7-6 6-3.

He will now play his compatriot and good friend Fernando Vicente in round two.

A meeting with 15th seed Goran Ivanisevic in round two is the reward for Justin Gimelstob, who won a thrilling five-setter against Michal Tabara, of the Czech Republic.

The young American delighted the home crowd as he raced into a two-set lead, before being pegged back by the Czech.

He recovered to prevail 6-4 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-2.

Australian Open runner-up Arnaud Clement, who is seeded 12 at Flushing Meadows, beat Spaniard Galo Blanco to reach the second round.

Sixteenth seed Tommy Haas had few problems easing past John van Lottum of the Netherlands 6-2 6-2 7-6.

But 23rd seed Dominik Hrbaty had to overcome the loss of the second set before seeing off Spain's Alex Calatrava in four sets.

Guillermo Canas overcame the big-serving Australian Wayne Arthurs in four sets.

The left-hander Arthurs hit 12 aces but his second serve let him down and he was punished by the 27th seed.

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BBC Sport's Richard Evans
"Rafter was slow out of the starting blocks"
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