Hewitt impressive in opener

Updated: September 2, 2004, 12:22 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Former champion Lleyton Hewitt began his U.S. Open on Wednesday with an efficient 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Wayne Ferreira in the 57th and final Grand Slam tournament for the veteran South African.

Hewitt prevailed comfortably and when it was over, Ferreira, like Todd Martin two days ago, announced his retirement at center court.

"I've been doing this a long time," he said. "It's difficult to get up and train as hard as I'd like to. It's time for me to move on and do something else."

Ferreira made 43 unforced errors and never had a break-point opportunity against Hewitt, the 2001 champion who is seeded No. 4. Hewitt arrived at the Open coming off two straight championships and has won four events this year.

Just as Hewitt was finishing off Ferreira, Mark Philippoussis was forced to retire in the fifth set against Nikolay Davydenko when his body betrayed him again.

Philippoussis, a finalist at the Open in 1998, has battled a litany of knee injuries. There have been three operations on his left knee and he has synthetic cartilage in the knee. Tendinitis in the knee led to a first-round defeat at the Olympics against Oliver Rochus, but this time the trouble was in his left hip.

After winning the first set 6-1, Philippoussis split the next two. At 4-4 in the fourth, he called for the trainer. Laying face down on the court, he grimaced as the hip was massaged. He lost the set and it just seemed a matter of time before he would be forced to retire.

Top-ranked Roger Federer, trying to become the first man since 1988 to win three Slams in a season, moved into the third round Wednesday night with his 300th career match victory, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-1 over qualifier Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.

Gustavo Kuerten, the former French Open champion who was seeded No. 20, was a first-round loser, beaten by Kristian Pless 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Kuerten was done in by 40 unforced errors.

Once dismissed as a serious player when he lost 21 straight matches, No. 23 Vince Spadea posted his first win at the Open since 2002 by defeating Luis Horna 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. He has lost in the first or second round of this Grand Slam event seven times, including his last three appearances. His ranking dipped to 229 in 2000, in the midst of his losing streak.

But Spadea stayed with his game, battling his way back. He won his first career title at Scottsdale earlier this year and even though he made 50 unforced errors, he won the match and that was something he wasn't always able to say.

Also: No. 12 Sebastien Grosjean defeated Oliver Patience 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-1 and Tomas Berdych, who defeated No. 1 Roger Federer in the Olympics, beat No. 32 Jonas Bjorkman 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

No. 14 Fernando Gonzalez, a double medalist at the Olympics, made a quick exit, losing to Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 6-1. Gonzalez won the doubles gold with Nicolas Massu and the singles bronze at Athens.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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