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Hewitt, Clijsters too good

September 01, 2005 01:01 IST
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Lleyton Hewitt hurried through to the U.S. Open second round with a breezy 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 victory over former French Open champion Albert Costa on Wednesday.

Serving superbly, the Australian third seed was unruffled by the windy conditions and outplayed his Spanish opponent from start to finish on Arthur Ashe Court.

Hewitt, who lost in last year's final to Roger Federer, wrapped up victory over the world number 104 in one hour 20 minutes with a crunching backhand service return winner.

The 2001 U.S. Open champion has benefited from the late withdrawal through injury of Marat Safin, the Russian who beat him in this year's Australian Open final.

Following the exit of British 12th seed Tim Henman on Tuesday, Slovakian 15th seed Dominik Hrbaty is the highest seed left in Hewitt's quarter of the draw.

He could, however, face top seed Federer in the semi-finals.

Fourth seed Kim Clijsters survived a tough test before beating Colombian Fabiola Zuluaga 7-5, 6-0 to reach the third round.

The Belgian, who has won six titles this year, struggled early on in the humid, windy conditions on Arthur Ashe Court before coming through in just over an hour.

Winning as comfortably was Maria Sharapova, who beat Daly Randrandriantefy of Madagascar 6-1, 6-0

Clijsters, still seeking her first Grand Slam title, stormed to a 4-1 lead but Zuluaga, the world number 58, hit back to win four consecutive games.

The Belgian, runner-up to Justine Henin-Hardenne at Flushing Meadows in 2003, broke again on her way to winning the first set, however, and romped through the second to set up a meeting with 30th seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan or Czech Michaela Pastikova.

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