<
>

Hewitt, Dent also advance

3/14/2004

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Two-time defending champion Lleyton Hewitt rolled to a two-set victory in his opening match Saturday in the men's draw of the Pacific Life Open, just hours after fiancee Kim Clijsters withdrew because of a wrist injury.

Last year, he won the men's title at Indian Wells and Clijsters was the women's champion.

"It's disappointing anytime one of us has to pull out of a tournament, especially the situation," Hewitt said. "She really enjoys playing here and plays extremely well here."

Hewitt beat 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson 6-2, 6-3.

Taylor Dent ousted Gustavo Kuerten 7-5, 6-4. Kuerten made the final last year, but was forced to play both a semifinal and the final on the same day because of a rain delay. Hewitt beat him 6-1,
6-1 in the title match.

In other late matches, Mikhail Youzhny eliminated 12th-seeded Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (5), 7-5; Australian Wayne Arthurs eliminated sixth-seeded German Rainer Schuettler 6-1, 7-6 (7-3); No. 9 Tim Henman of Britain dispatched Canadian Simon Larose 6-3, 6-2; and Tommy Haas of Germany
routed No. 10 Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand, 6-1, 6-2.

Earlier Saturday, Andre Agassi won his first-round match, defeating David Sanchez 6-2, 6-2.

Agassi, the Indian Wells champion three years ago, had several long rallies with Sanchez, but eventually was just too efficient for his opponent.

"It was a good start for me. He gave me a chance to hit a lot, but I was in control most of the points, which I obviously liked," Agassi said.

"I felt good about every part of my game."

Agassi has been taking some time off, but didn't feel rusty.

"I've been working hard, practicing well," he said.
"Obviously matches are different. You hope nothing pops up or sort
of reveals itself when you're out there.

"Today, I felt like everything was right where I expected it to be."

The men's draw has been expanded to 96 players this year, up
from 64. Both the men's and women's finals are on March 21.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.