Agassi, Sharapova sail through to third round
Agassi and Sharapova displayed champion's pedigree by cruising to the last 32 of Wimbeldon singles.india Updated: Jun 29, 2006 21:23 IST
Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova showed why they have the right to call themselves Wimbledon champions as they cruised into the last 32 of the men's and women's singles on Thursday.
Veteran showman Agassi, taking his final bow at the All England Club, looked far less rusty than he had done in a laboured first round win over Boris Pashanski as he navigated past Italy's Andreas Seppi in straight sets.
Seppi put up a valiant fight but the 1992 champion's clinical touch on the key points made the difference in a 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 victory.
The win put Agassi on course for a third round meeting with French Open champion Rafael Nadal, although the second seed was involved in an almighty battle with American qualifier Robert Kendrick over on Centre Court.
Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis had the easiest passage into the third round, his opponent Andrei Pavel having retired injured after only three games of their match.
Novak Djokovic, the talented Serbian teenager who is being courted by Britain's Lawn Tennis Association, did his credentials for a passport switch no harm by dumping Spanish 11th seed Tommy Robredo out of the tournament.
Leading by a set when their second round match was interrupted by nightfall on Wednesday, Djokovic completed a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 6-4 victory to set up a winnable third round meeting against Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
Fourth-seed Sharapova was close to her intimidating best as she crushed Ashley Harkleroad, a fellow Florida resident who was not afforded the slightest bit of neighbourly compassion
After a 6-2, 6-2 win in just over an hour, Sharapova declared herself happy with her form, although the 2004 champions appeared more concerned about the impact on her image of her recent relevation that she enjoys collecting stamps.
Philatelists around the world have been delighted to learn that they share their hobby with one of the sporting world's most glamorous figures but Sharapova is not quite so happy about the interest.
"Everyone's calling me a dork now," the 2004 champion admitted.
"My agent said not to talk about that because he's definitely gotten so many emails from people.
"We're getting emails from, like, stamp collecting magazines asking if I can do an interview. It's just a hobby. I'm actually good telling stories, but that is one I should have never talked about."
It was another good day for the Chinese women as Peng Shuai join Li Na and Zheng Jie in the third round courtesy of an impressive straight sets win over the Israeli 20th seed Shahar Peer.
Experienced Thai campaigner Tamarine Tanasugarn meanwhile edged past Japan's Shinobu Asagoe 6-3, 7-5.