New York, Aug. 31 (AP): Martina Navratilova has beaten several top-seeded players in her amazing career, but no one really expected the 45-year-old veteran to do it again.
The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, teaming up with Indian Leander Paes, beat mixed doubles top seeds Rennae Stubbs and Todd Woodbridge of Australia 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 Friday evening in the first round of the US Open.
They next run into Els Callens (Belgium) and Robbie Koenig (South Africa).
Navratilova and Paes traded two breaks in the first set with the defending champions before winning the tie-break, and they again traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the second set.
But with Stubbs serving in the 11th game, Navratilova and Paes won the next eight straight points ó breaking Stubbsí serve before Navratilova served out the match.
Navratilova, who has also won 31 Grand Slam doubles titles and seven mixed, has had limited success since reviving her career, but she proved last year that she can still be a threat. At the 2001 US Open, she and teammate Arantxa Sanchez- Vicario of Spain reached the womenís doubles quarters. But in mixed, Navratilova and Belarussian Max Mirnyi lost to Stubbs and Woodbridge in the first round.
Paes-Hill in Round 2
Paes completed a good day in office, making a winning start in menís doubles as well. He and Australian partner Michael Hill saw off Italians Massimo Bertolini and Cristian Brandi 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Paes and Hillís next opponents will be Aussie duo Wayne Arthurs and Mark Kratzmann.
Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Likhovtseva, seeking back-to-back Grand Slam crowns, were made to work hard in their campaign-opener. The third-seeded Indo-Russian pair came through 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) against Cyril Suk (Czech Republic) and Iroda Tulyaganova (Uzbekistan).
The Wimbledon champions next face Americans Justin Gimelstob and Corina Morariu.