Roddick, Hewitt, Venus, Myskina advance

Agence France Presse

Melbourne, January 18:

Former US Open champion Andy Roddick and Australian third seed Lleyton Hewitt led the way in the men’s singles while world number one Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams romped through the women’s draw at Melbourne Park.

Big-serving second seed Roddick had too much firepower for world number 75 Iralki Labadze, overwhelming his Georgian opponent 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 in bright afternoon sunshine on the Rod Laver Arena. Roddick now faces Greg Rusedski in the next round after the veteran Briton ousted Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman 2-6, 6-4, 6-0, 7-6.

In the late match, Australian hope Hewitt notched his third victory over Frenchman Arnaud Clement in as many weeks, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. Hewitt now plays American James Blake in the second round. Other men’s seeds to go through included Argentinian number six Guillermo Coria and compatriot Guillermo Canas (12), as well as British seventh seed Tim Henman, a 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victor over France’s Cyril Saulnier. The women’s draw followed a similar pattern, with third-seeded French Open champion Anastasia Myskina setting the trend in her 6-1, 6-4 victory over Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic.

Eighth-seeded Williams joined sister Serena in the second round by overcoming Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-1, 7-5 after a patchy display. Davenport, fully recovered after a bout of bronchitis, was more convincing against Spanish veteran Conchita Martinez, the top-seeded American racing through to win 6-1, 6-0.

There was also a win for highly-rated Australian prospect Alicia Molik, the 10th seed brushing aside Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, 6-1, 6-3.

Svetlana Kuznetsova says she’s clean


US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova said she’s certain she will be exonerated of allegations of doping at an offseason charity match in Belgium. The Russian star was tested during the December 18-19 Women’s Tennis Trophy in Charleroi, a regional sports minister in Belgium, said on Monday.

Kuznetsova’s backup sample hasn’t been tested; rules call for two positive samples and a review before punishment. Kuznetsova, in a statement released on Tuesday, admitted of taking a cold medicine, the potential source for the banned stimulant ephedrine. “There is absolutely no reason why I would take a stimulant to enhance my performance at an out-of-competion exhibition match in the middle of the off-season,” she said. — AP

Open Glance:

• Weather: Sunny, top temperature of 23 Celsius

• Attendance: 41,431 (day), 15,614 (night)

• Men: Andy Roddick (2), Lleyton Hewitt (3), Guillermo Coria (6), Tim Henman (7), David Nalbandian (9), Guillermo Canas (12), Sebastien Grosjean (14), Mikhail Youzhny (15), Andrei Pavel (17), Nicolas Massu (18), Fernando Gonzalez (23), Juan Ignacio Chela (25), Nikolay Davydenko (26), Juan Carlos Ferrero (31), Jurgen Melzer (32) advanced; Vince Spadea (19) lost

• Women: Lindsay Davenport (1), Anastasia Myskina (3),

Elena Dementieva (6), Venus Williams (8), Alicia Molik (10), Patty Schnyder (12), Karolina Sprem (13), Francesca Schiavone (14), Elena Likhovtseva (18), Nathalie Dechy (19), Tatiana Golovin (20), Jelena Jankovic (23), Lisa Raymond (25), Daniela Hantuchova (26), Anna Smashnova (27), Jelena Kostanic (31) advanced

• Stat of the Day: 5 — the number of points Andy Roddick lost in his first six service games against Irakli Labadze

• Quote of the day: “I pride myself on being a clean athlete of the highest integrity and am offended by these disgraceful allegations.” — Russia’s

Svetlana Kuznetsova