Thursday 6 May 2004
Last Update 6 May 2004 12:00 am
ROME, 6 May 2004 — World No. 1 Roger Federer crashed out of the Rome Masters here yesterday after throwing away a healthy advantage to lose his second round match to clay court specialist Albert Costa.
Federer, the No. 1 seed, took the first set but then saw all his efforts undone by a catalogue of unforced errors which gave Costa, the 2002 French Open champion, a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
All of the first three seeds have now fallen at the Foro Italico following the first round exits of American second seed Andy Roddick and German third seed Rainer Schuettler.
Costa, a runner-up in Rome six years ago, will now play unseeded Peruvian Luis Horna in the last 16. Horna upset Dutch 14th seed Martin Verkerk 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
British No. 4 seed Tim Henman had a much easier time of it, breezing into the third round with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 win over unseeded Czech Radek Stepanek.
Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semifinalist, comes up against Argentine Mariano Zabaleta, who defeated last year’s champion Felix Mantilla in straight sets.
Vincent Spadea of the United States, conqueror of Schuettler in the first round, edged a three set tussle against Moroccan Hicham Arazi to set up a third round meeting against Nikolay Davydenko.
Davydenko, from Russia, knocked out Chilean 13th seed Fernando Gonzalez.
Earlier in the day, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt fought back from a set down to defeat Italian wild card Andreas Seppi 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in their rain-delayed first round match.
The game was suspended late Tuesday with Seppi leading 7-5, 3-3 before heavy rain brought play to an end.
Clijsters Survives Stiff Test From Marrero
In Berlin, Kim Clijsters, playing her first tour match since early March, survived a tough challenge from Spain’s Marta Marrero to reach the third round of the German Open with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory yesterday.
“In these kind of matches, just winning them and it doesn’t matter how is sometimes more satisfying than winning tournaments,” said the top seed, who was restricted by a brace on her injured left wrist.
It was a difficult match for Clijsters, and she looked distinctly uncomfortable at times against an accomplished clay court opponent.
Marrero struck a number of impressive crosscourt winners, and Clijsters suffered a mid-match crisis in the second set.
Second seed Amelie Mauresmo had a far easier task in disposing of Gisela Dulko, winning 6-1, 6-2.
Dulko initially offered more resistance early in the second set, rallying strongly and often pulling Mauresmo wide. But a double-fault at 2-2 ended her brief threat to extend the match, and a netted backhand at 4-2 left Mauresmo serving for a place in the third round.
Venus Williams, winner of her last two tournaments in Charleston and Warsaw, claimed her 12th consecutive victory as she resisted a strong challenge from Eleni Daniilidou to win 7-5, 6-3.
The battle was highly entertaining, with several exchanges at the net and long rallies during which the players pulled each other all around the court.
In other matches, ninth seed Vera Zvonareva was beaten 6-1, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1 by Australian Open semifinalist Fabiola Zuluaga. But there were wins for fourth seed Anastasia Myskina, seventh seed Elena Dementieva, eighth seed Ai Sugiyama, 10th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, 11th seed Paola Suarez, 13th seed Patty Schnyder and 16th seed Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi.
Maria Sharapova, seeded 17, also advanced when Petra Mandula of Austria retired during the first set with a right shoulder strain. The Russian was leading 5-4.