Davenport wins quickly again to reach Open's fourth round

Friday, August 29th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Lindsay Davenport breezed into the fourth round of the U.S. Open, ailing foot and all.

The third-seeded Davenport, the 1998 Open winner and only former champion in the women's field, easily defeated Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-0, 6-2 on Friday morning in 42 minutes.

Davenport seems to have come so far physically, compared to a week ago when she retired in the championship match of the Pilot Pen against Jennifer Capriati on Saturday. She canceled a practice session at the National Tennis Center on Sunday to rest her injured left foot, leaving some to wonder whether she, too, would withdraw.

The field already had lost its two star Americans _ Serena and Venus Williams, who are injured.

Davenport has a nerve problem in the foot, but said it has barely bothered her this tournament. That's been a huge relief.

Also Friday, No. 14 Amanda Coetzer was dominated by 19th-seeded Nadia Petrova, 6-0, 6-1. Petrova beat Coetzer for the second time in four chances and for the second in a row after winning in the second round in San Diego last month.

Davenport has spent less than three hours on the court in her first three matches and has dropped just nine games.

She hit 25 winners to nine for the 93rd-ranked Czink.

Others scheduled to play Friday were Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, world No. 1 Kim Clijsters, fourth-seeded Andy Roddick and fifth-seeded Amelie Mauresmo.

Andre Agassi ran into someone in the second round who could match him sizzling stroke for sizzling stroke, a no-name who picked Thursday night to perform at the top of his game.

It lasted for a set.

As Agassi always does, the world No. 1 and oldest top-seeded male in the Open era gradually wore down Andreas Vinciguerra, beating the hard-hitting Swede 7-6 (1), 6-1, 6-4.

``Tonight was a difficult match because we'd never played each other before and it takes a while to settle down,'' Agassi said. ``Once I settled down, I started hitting my shots a lot cleaner and felt good about it.''

The 50-minute first set clearly had Agassi concerned. It showed on his face each time Vinciguerra laced a line with a pretty passing shot or boomed a big serve by him. Vinciguerra played near-perfect tennis, but Agassi dominated the tiebreaker, giving up just a single point.

And all of a sudden, the momentum was his.

The 33-year-old Agassi had to battle through seven deuces to break Vinciguerra in the seventh game of the third set, and both players received a standing ovation when they changed over in a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The chants of ``Andre! Andre!'' far outnumbered those for ``Andreas! Andreas!'' on this night.

It was the first meeting between Agassi and the 22-year-old lefty, ranked 92nd in the world and who has just one singles title to his name. Vinciguerra didn't play any hard-court tuneup events leading up to the Open.

Agassi practiced with a left-hander Wednesday to prepare for Vinciguerra.

Agassi's win was just a highlight of the tournament's fourth day, which produced some of the most highly contested and entertaining tennis yet.

Unseeded Mary Pierce rallied from a 5-1 third-set deficit to beat No. 22 Jelena Dokic 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5). Pierce, a two-time major winner, won a tiebreaker for the first time in six tries this year.

American Todd Martin won a thriller over French Open runner-up and 16th-seeded Martin Verkerk, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (9) in 3 hours, 3 minutes. Martin, 33 and ranked 93rd, trailed 5-2 in the fourth-set tiebreaker.

``I was starting to think about a fifth-set tiebreak, but I knew I had my chances,'' Martin said. ``I felt like I could win the match and I felt, without being presumptuous, I felt like I would win the match.''

Capriati overpowered Martina Sucha 6-1, 6-1. The only games Capriati lost were on her own serve, when she helped out her opponent by double-faulting five times.

``I miss being at the top and playing good tennis,'' said Capriati, whose win in New Haven was her first since the 2002 Australian Open.

Also advancing to the third round in men's singles were French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, No. 28 Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan, the 11th-seeded player and a fan favorite, who defeated Dominik Hrbaty 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to resounding cheers from his animated countrymen.

Martina Navratilova, 46, received quite the welcome before teaming with Svetlana Kuznetsova for a straight-set win in first-round women's doubles action. When they entered the court, Navratilova received a standing ovation from the near capacity crowd. She smiled, waved, then bowed.