Ancic returns to first-round win at Australian hardcourt

Updated: January 2, 2006, 7:48 AM ET
Associated Press

ADELAIDE, Australia -- Mario Ancic won his first match since leading Croatia to the Davis Cup, beating Frenchman Arnaud Clement 6-0, 6-2 Monday in the first round of the Australian men's hardcourt tennis championships.

Ancic advances to face Belgian Xavier Malisse, who defeated Australian qualifier Peter Luczak 7-6 (11), 6-3.

In other matches, third-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain beat Austria's Jergen Melzer 7-5, 6-4, and sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic outlasted Agustin Calleri of France 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4.

At last month's Davis Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia, Ancic lost to Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia in the first singles match. But he helped Ivan Ljubicic win the doubles before clinching Croatia's first Davis Cup by beating Michal Mertinak in straight sets.

Ancic, who lost only two points on his first serve Monday, said Clement was rusty after coming off a break.

"It was not his best day," Ancic said. "He was missing more than the last two times we played and he gave me a lot of opportunities to play my game. I was aggressive, a lot of times finishing the point at the net."

Top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt and former U.S. Open finalist Mark Philippoussis will play on center court on Tuesday. Philippoussis will face American Vincent Spadea, while Hewitt meets Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press