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Easy for Clijsters
- Grosjean, Rusedski first-day casualties

New York: World No. 1 Kim Clijsters overcame third seed Lindsay Davenport shrugged off injury fears as two of the tournament favourites booked safe passage into the second round of the US Open on Monday.

American Davenport stormed through with a 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Belgium’s Els Callens (as reported in Tuesday’s Late City edition). Clijsters began her bid for a first career Grand Slam title in emphatic style by taming American wildcard Amber Liu 6-2, 6-3.

They were joined in the winners’ circle by Clijsters’ boyfriend and men’s sixth seed Lleyton Hewitt. Champion here in 2001, Hewitt crushed Romania’s Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. The Australian’s one-sided victory followed an emotional farewell by Pete Sampras, champion here last year.

Eighth-seeded American Chanda Rubin crumbled in the first round 4-6, 4-6 to Venezuelan Maria Vento-Kabchi.

“It was just a really bad day for me,” said Rubin. “I just didn’t play with enough glue, with enough consistency. I really didn’t concentrate well enough.”

Earlier, Ashley Harkleroad gave the home crowd something to cheer by racking up her first US Open victory, the American teenager thumping Russian Vera Douchevina 6-4, 6-2 in 65 minutes.

In the men’s draw, third seed Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Czech Jan Vacek 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 but ninth seed Sebastien Grosjean and 17th seed Tommy Robredo fell. Frenchman Grosjean, a Wimbledon semi-finalist this year, lost to Paraguayan Ramon Delgado 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 4-6 and Robredo was beaten 3-6, 4-6, 2-6 by fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

Former finalist Greg Rusedski of Britain lost a marathon match 4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 4-6 to Frenchman Gregory Carraz.

(Reuters)

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