Originally created 01/20/99

Korda gets Australian Open win



MELBOURNE -- Scorned by his peers but defiant in victory, defending champion Petr Korda persevered through an ankle injury and a five-set duel Tuesday in a dramatic return to the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Korda, the center of a drug controversy, carved out a 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2 triumph over Spain's Galo Blanco, who called the Czech "a liar" and refused to shake his hand after the match.

"It's not easy, but you have to live with it," Korda said of the twin pressures of defending his title and dealing with his drug case.

In other matches, fifth-seeded Andre Agassi justified his place as one of the favorites by trouncing Hernan Gumy of Argentina 6-0, 6-3, 6-0, and Jim Courier defeated Peter Wessels of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (0),

In women's matches, two-time defending champion Martina Hingis beat American Lilia Osterloh 6-1, 6-2; No. 4 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario downed Mariaan de Swardt of South Africa 6-2, 6-2; No. 7 Mary Pierce beat Australian Cindy Watson 6-2, 6-1; and No. 16 Amanda Coetzer of South Africa fell to Sandra Kleinova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.