<
>

Hewitt, Ferrero also win in first round

2/18/2004

ROTTERDAM -- Australian Open champion Roger
Federer was at his sublime best as he trampled France's Arnaud
Clement 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the World Indoor
Tournament on Wednesday.

The world number one was joined in the next round by Lleyton
Hewitt and second-seeded Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Playing his first match since being thrashed by Federer in
the Australian Open semi-final, Ferrero overcame Dutch wildcard
Dennis Van Scheppingen 6-3, 7-6.

Federer extended his unbeaten run to 15 matches as Clement
failed to match the class or firepower of the Swiss master.

After losing the first set by smacking the ball into the net
with his outstretched racket, Clement faded rapidly in the
second.

Constantly wiping his trademark sunglasses between points,
Clement failed to stay focused and the Wimbledon champion
clinched victory with a scorching forehand winner.

Former world number one Hewitt wasted little time in taking
a swipe at the International Tennis Federation about the Davis
Cup format following his swift 6-2, 6-1 win over Fernando
Gonzalez.

Just 10 weeks after winning the Davis Cup for the 28th time
last November, Australia were eliminated in the first round by
Sweden earlier this month.

"For the fans it is hard to imagine that within two months
after you won that prestigious cup you've lost it already," said
the 22-year-old Australian.

"But I don't have the idea that the ITF is listening to the
players. For example they could consider giving the finalists a
first-round bye."

It was a sentiment also echoed by Ferrero, who missed
Spain's first-round Cup tie against the Czech Republic after
picking up a string of injuries during his Melbourne Park
campaign.

"It is frustrating to lose in the first round of the Cup
after you've just won it," said the world number three, whose
Spanish team suffered a similar fate to Australia in 2001 after
winning the Cup for the first time the year before.

The defeat in the premier men's team competition has at
least allowed Hewitt to focus on the major tournaments for the
rest of the season.

"Davis Cup and the grand slams are my main targets this
year... and because of the early Davis Cup elimination my
schedule has some more space right now," he said.

"I just want to do well in the grand slams and if you can
win one or two you will have a shot on the number one position
again."

Hewitt stormed into the second round in 55 minutes against
Gonzalez, who only arrived in Rotterdam on Tuesday following his
victory over Gustavo Kuerten in the final of the Vina del Mar
Open in Chile at the weekend.

Champion Max Mirnyi from Belarus saved a match point before
overcoming Armenia's Sargis Sargsian 6-7, 7-6, 6-1 while third
seed Rainer Schuettler reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4
win over Radek Stepanek.