Agassi, Federer advance

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Andre Agassi shrugged off a hip injury, beating German qualifier Dieter Kindlmann 6-4, 6-3, 6-0.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:47 IST
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Andre Agassi shrugged off a hip injury that nearly kept him out of the Australian Open, beating German qualifier Dieter Kindlmann 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in a first-round match today. The four-time champion has lost just once in his last four trips to Melbourne Park—a semifinal setback last year to Marat Safin. The 34-year-old Agassi damaged a tendon in his right hip and quit an exhibition match against second-ranked Andy Roddick leading up to this tournament, and his status for the championship was in doubt until Sunday. Playing in the third match of the day on center court, Agassi broke Kindlmann three times from 17 chances in the first two sets but converted all three break-point opportunities in the third to wrap up the last set in 19 minutes. Federer wins Top-ranked Roger Federer ripped 54 winners past Fabrice Santoro, opening his Australian Open title defense with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 victory. Federer won all 12 points in the first three games against Santoro and lost just three points as he raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set. "I think the start was important for me," said Federer, who extended his winning streak to 22 matches. "That set the tone for the rest of the match. I never really gave him a chance." Santoro agreed. "It's as if Roger was saying to me, 'Right, that's what I'm offering you today, OK!'," Santoro said "You get the feeling that in each of his matches he just wants to show straight off who the boss is." Federer won 11 titles last season, including the Australian and US Opens, Wimbledon and the Masters Cup. He started this season with another title at Qatar an beat Roddick in the final of an exhibition tournament. Federer's next opponent will be Japan's Takao Suzuki, a surprising 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 winner over American Jan-Michael Gambill. Serena aces in In women's first-round matches, Serena Williams had more trouble with her shoe than she did with Camille Pin, winning 6-1, 6-1 in the opening match on center court. Williams, who completed a "Serena Slam" with a victory at Melbourne in 2003 but missed last year's first Grand Slam due to an injured knee, mixed 27 winners with 22 unforced errors. The seventh-seeded Williams hit some brutal backhand winners and kept the 23-year-old Pin scrambling just to stay in points. Williams did a lot of running early, successful on nine net approaches and producing seven winners before her right shoe fell off at deuce in the second game and skidded behind the baseline. She laced up the shoe and won the point when it was replayed. She spent time between games tying and retying her shoelaces, but otherwise didn't have many problems. (AP)

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