Originally created 01/18/06

Star takes tough match



MELBOURNE, Australia - Lindsay Davenport got a tough workout from Karolina Sprem in the second round of the Australian Open before advancing with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory.

After trading breaks in the third and fourth games, the first set went on serve, with Davenport winning the 12th game at love to force a tiebreaker.

Trailing 3-1, the top-ranked Davenport rallied after Sprem double-faulted, winning six of the last seven points and claiming the set with consecutive forehand winners.

Davenport, the 2000 Australian champion, had six breakpoint chances in the second set before finally converting after the sixth game went to deuce six times.

Two of Davenport's three previous wins over Sprem have come at majors.

Davenport was consistent, winning 80 percent of points on her first serve, firing six aces and hitting 18 winners.

She next plays the winner of the match between Russians Maria Kirilenko and Galina Voskoboeva.

In another women's match, Olga Savchuk, of Ukraine, beat 23rd-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-4 and Elena Vesnina had a 6-0, 7-5 win over Julia Schruff, who had ousted ninth-seeded Elena Dementieva in the first round.

Martina Hingis returned to Rod Laver Arena a little older, a little stronger and a little wiser, easily winning her first match in Melbourne since 2002 over Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-2.

Now ranked No. 349, Hingis was back for the first time since playing in six consecutive Australian Open finals - she won three in a row starting in 1997, then lost three consecutive.

"It was beautiful to walk in there," said Hingis, who quit in 2002 because of persistent foot and heel problems. "I could already feel the atmosphere coming from the previous years.

"You don't know how good it feels - this stadium has been so good for me."

Men's winners Tuesday included top-ranked Roger Federer and No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt.

Hewitt beat the Czech Republic's Robin Vik 6-4, 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Federer overwhelmed No. 195th-ranked Denis Istomin, of Uzbekistan, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.