Federer Wins 50th Straight Match On Grass In 2nd Round

Thursday, June 28th 2007, 7:45 am
By: News On 6

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Roger Federer won his 50th straight match on grass Thursday, beating 18-year-old Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

The four-time defending champion had led 2-0 in the third set before rain halted play Wednesday. When they resumed, the top-ranked Swiss needed only 11 minutes to complete the match, winning three straight games before Del Potro held serve in the sixth game.

Federer broke the Argentine five times and saved the only break point he faced. The No. 1-seeded player finished with 33 winners and made only 23 errors _ one less than Del Potro.

Federer, trying to become only the second man in the Open era to win five straight titles at the All England Club, will next face two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin. The Russian beat Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan 6-4, 6-2 7-6 (4).

French Open finalist Ana Ivanovic advanced to the third round in the women's draw, beating Meilen Tu of the United States 6-4, 6-3. The sixth-seeded Serb reached the fourth round last year.

Also, No. 8 Anna Chakvetadze defeated Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus 6-2, 6-1, while No. 10 Daniela Hantuchova, No. 12 Elena Dementieva, No. 14 Nicole Vaidisova and No. 15 Patty Schnyder also won.

No. 29 Francesca Schiavone of Italy lost to Aravane Rezai of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

A decade after Martina Hingis won at the All England Club, she's just happy to be playing. On Wednesday, she reached the third round by beating Aiko Nakamura of Japan 6-1, 6-2.

``I'd say I was a little bit more chubby back then,'' Hingis said, pinching her cheeks. ``I think as a teenager, you're just really growing into a phase that you gain weight. I'm definitely not proud of the way I looked.

``When I was holding the (Wimbledon) trophy, it didn't matter. It was just a great moment at that time. I grew out of it. You have to be in better shape today.''

Hingis was quick enough on Wednesday to finish before rain halted play.

Eight singles matches were stopped in progress; 10 never began.

On Centre Court, Tim Henman and Feliciano Lopez, who were at 1-1 in the first set, resumed their match.

Also, second-seeded Rafael Nadal was paired against Werner Eschauer of Austria. No. 4 seed Novak Djokovic and 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt were also scheduled to play second-round matches.

In women's play, defending champion Amelie Mauresmo was to face Yvonne Meusburger of Austria, with second-seeded Maria Sharapova against Severine Bremond of France, and three-time champion Venus Williams against Hana Sromova of the Czech Republic.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was among the women who reached the third round on Wednesday before the weather worsened. She had a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over Alicia Molik of Australia.

Other women advancing to the third round included No. 1 Justine Henin and No. 3 Jelena Jankovic.

After returning to the tour in January 2006, Hingis was named comeback player of the year. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, and is ranked No. 11 by the WTA.

``I didn't put any sights on anything particular,'' said the ninth-seeded Hingis, who missed the French Open with an injured hip. ``I just wanted to come back and play. That's all.

``I'm building up. I can only get better. Every day I'm winning on condition and match practice, also confidence.''