At the Australian Open today
Andre Agassi's hip injury appears to be well under control after two rounds of play at the Australian Open.
"My movement was -- it was plenty good enough for me to think about my game and not think about that," Agassi said after defeating Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 6-1, 6-0.
That's a good thing because today he takes on fellow American Taylor Dent, who although he has yet to complete a major match against Agassi, at least earned the eight-time Grand Slam titlist's respect in their last meeting.
In the 2003 U.S. Open, Dent was pushing Agassi, who said he was surprised at how difficult Dent was making it for Agassi to hold serve before Dent retired at 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5. That was Dent's best performance ever in a major, and Agassi won't be surprised this time.
"I think Taylor is as difficult an opponent as one can have," Agassi, 34, said Tuesday. "He plays the game like very few players play it anymore. He puts pressure on you constantly, makes you hit your shots.
"You got to be doing it with conviction. I'll have to be returning well and doing all sorts of things well, but that's no surprise. ... at this stage especially, I got to come out there ready right from the get."
Potential show stoppers
Mirza, 18, only got a spot into the Australian Open when China's Li Na no longer needed the wild card that she won for claiming the Asian Championships title in Tashkent last September. With Na's ranking strong enough to gain direct entry, the wild card went to Mirza.
"I'm pretty sure she's heard of me and she'll be ready to play my game," Serena said on Tuesday.
Not only has Mirza heard of the No. 7 seed, she's looking forward to taking on a former No. 1 player of Serena's caliber.
"I'm really looking forward to finding out how hard she hits the ball," Mirza told reporters.
She first gained attention in India when she won Wimbledon junior doubles in 2003. This week, she's received congratulations from government officials to local teachers in her hometown of Hyderabad.
When Mizra started playing tennis at age 6, her mother took her to a local coach who initially refused to work with such a young girl. A month later he was eating his words, telling her parents he'd never seen such a talented player at that age. Today, she trains with Boris Becker's former coach Bob Brett at his academy in San Remo, Italy.
Serena's training this week isn't too shabby, either, as she is once again roommates and practice partners with her sister Venus.
"I actually think I play better when I hit with Venus because she just brings out the best in me," Serena said. "She's just slapping winners left and right, and I'm just at this point, "Oh, gosh." So for me, I always do better when I practice with her."
Ivanovic, 17, is riding a 10-match streak after winning her first WTA Tour title last week at Canberra. She also recently forced Venus Williams to two tiebreaks in Zurich. Ivanovic, who grew up admiring Monica Seles, lives in Belgrade, Serbia, even though she says it can sometimes be scary going out there because of crime and political turmoil; still, it's home and she still loves being there.
Mauresmo came into the tournament without any match play but after defeating Dinara Safina 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 said her legs are holding up well.
Although some questioned her fitness after the match, Serena came to Mauresmo's defense.
"Dinara tends to play very well, and she's a very talented player," Serena said. "She's no pushover. So that definitely wasn't a very easy draw for her. That was good that she was able to pull it through."
Federer is 5-0 against left-hander Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, who has now equaled his best performance at the Australian Open in 2003 when he reached the third round before losing Guillermo Coria 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. No Finn has ever advanced further than the fourth round at any major in the Open Era.
"I have more experience so I know what to do," Safin said after defeating Bohdan Ulihrach 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 in the second round. "Always I was looking for a good start in every Grand Slam, but for some reason not enough experience I had to be able to do that by that time.
"You know, just I tried to be a little bit more focused what I'm doing, and it's working."
Safin has only practiced with but never played against Mario Ancic, who is known for being the last man to defeat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2003. That defeat was not a one-time thing as Ancic, 20, reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last season defeating Tim Henman in straight sets in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual runner-up Andy Roddick 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. Ancic lost in the third round at the Aussie last year.
Cynthia Faulkner is the tennis editor for ESPN.com.
MORE TENNIS HEADLINES
- Djokovic, Serena win ITF awards for 2013
- Former champ Becker to coach Djokovic
- Murray to return next week in Abu Dhabi
- Agent behind 'Decision' has hand in IMG deal