Williams, Roddick win Olympic openers

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/v/venuswilliams1.jpg' class='caption'> Defending champion Venus Williams of the United States opened the 2004 Olympics today with an easy win over Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-1 6-2.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Defending champion Venus Williams of the United States opened the 2004 Olympics today with an easy win over Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-1 6-2. Andy Roddick also started with a win in his first match, edging Flavio Saretta of Brazil 6-3 7-6 (4) in his Olympic debut. Roddick had 12 aces and 16 service winners. In other first-round action, No. 11 Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina was upset by Max Mirnyi of Belarus 3-6 7-6 (0) 6-4, No. 8 Ai Sugiyama of Japan outlasted Zheng Jie of China 4-6 6-3 8-6 and No.10 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat Petra Mandula of Hungary 6-3 6-4. Taste of success Williams, seeded sixth, was playing her first match in three weeks. "I had so much fun at the last Olympics and so much success, and then to be here is amazing," said Williams, who also won the doubles title in Sydney. "I'm playing well, I'm playing smart, and I'm also really happy because I've been doing everything my coaches asked me to in the last week." Action on all courts was affected by swirling winds that occasionally made balls dance oddly or caused courtside umbrellas used for shade to tumbled over. While the breezes helped keep players and spectators cool, they might also have contributed to Williams' high unforced error count: 33, one more than Czink. After several miscues, Williams heaved a sigh or covered her face with her palm or rested her hands on her hips. And she questioned at least three calls, something rarely done by Williams or her younger sister Serena, who pulled out of the Olympics last week. Fighting pain Her wrists both were heavily taped against the 103rd-ranked Czink, and her left knee carried two strips of white bandage that met to form a "V." If the four-time major champion and former No. 1 was in pain, though, it didn't show. She wound up with a staggering 22-3 edge in winners, many punctuated by grunts that echoed through the arena. Czink is 3-17 in 2004, has only once been as far as the third round of a Grand Slam during her career, and her slow serves were a big disadvantage against Williams. Roddick set the tone in his first two service games, hitting hard shots the 81st-ranked Saretta couldn't handle. But Saretta started to get the measure of Roddick's serves in the second set, making for more intriguing play. The second-seeded Roddick is tough in tiebreakers, however, and he got to match point with a service winner (Saretta questioned the call), then ended it with a forehand winner. (AP)

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