Top seeds continue run in Aus Open

The top seeds continued their run at the year's first grand slam, the Australian Open even on day six.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Melbourne:The top seeds continued their run at the year's first grand slam, the Australian Open even on day six. It was a day when Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Rafael Nadal and Nikolay Davydenko raced to quick victories and rain limited play to the two show courts, where the roofs were closed. Fifth seed James Blake had a 7-6 (6), 7-5, 6-2 win over fellow American Robby Ginepri, saving a total of five set points in the first two sets and breaking serve six times in the match. "Change two points and it's totally different," he said. He will meet 10th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, who ousted Lleyton Hewitt, the last Australian left in the tournament, 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. The 19th-seeded Hewitt, a former Wimbledon and US Open champion who was desperate to win his home Grand Slam, has been fighting back from injuries, and his coach quit less than two weeks before the tournament. Long drought Nadal, who has played all three of his matches with the roof closed, jokingly took credit for easing Melbourne's long drought. "I come with the rain," the second-seeded Spaniard said after beating No 31 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. "I was in Majorca, and it was raining a lot, and the rain came back with me," he said. Nadal next faces 15th-seeded Andy Murray of Britain, who ousted Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela in straight sets. Eighth-seeded David Nalbandian struggled again, rallying for the second time from two sets down _ and triple match point to oust France's Sebastien Grosjean 5-7, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1. Davydenko needed only two hours to beat Fabrice Santoro. Friendly rivalry Sixth-seeded Hingis and fourth-seeded Clijsters have had a friendly rivalry going to see who can get off court fastest in the women's draw. Clijsters won for the third straight time, by 2 minutes in finishing off Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-2 in exactly an hour. Hingis considers Rod Laver Arena a second home after winning three of her five Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park from 1997-99 and reaching the final the next three years. She returned here in 2006 at the start of her comeback from a three-year retirement. Just as players can feed off frenzied fans, the rapid routs left the crowd unusually flat. The humidity that arrived after the air conditioning broke down also sapped the energy of players and fans alike.

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