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Top seeds surge into second round

Roger Federer bagged 42nd consecutive grass-court victory, Hingis and Hardenne also moved into second round with straight set victories.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 22:20 IST

Martina Hingis and Justine Henin-Hardenne took advantage of a spell of dry weather Tuesday to move into the second round of Wimbledon with routine straight-set victories.

Hingis, back at Wimbledon for the first time since 2001, finished off a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ukraine's Olgo Savchuk. The match had been suspended by rain after the first set Monday.

Hingis won the last four games, mixing up volleys and drop shots with her all-court groundstrokes. She used a drop shot to set up a volley winner on match point.

Hingis, who won Wimbledon in 1997 at age 16, is continuing a comeback after three years off the tour because of a series of foot and ankle injuries and operations. Seeded No. 12, Hingis is one of only three women's champions in the field, along with three-time winner Venus Williams and 2004 champ Maria Sharapova. Henin-Hardenne, who is seeking to add the Wimbledon title to complete a collection of all four Grand Slams, played the first match on Centre Court and needed only 56 minutes to dispatch Yuan Meng of China, 6-0, 6-1.

The third-seeded Belgian, coming off her third French Open victory, was up 6-0, 4-0 before Yuan won a game. Henin-Hardenne had 28 winners, compared to just three for Yuan.

The first player to advance to the second round was fifth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, the former U.S. Open champion, who beat Italy's Romina Oprandi 6-3, 6-2. She finished the match with an ace. Men's fourth-seeded David Nalbandian, runner-up in 2002, crushed South Africa's Wesley Moodie 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in just 1 hour, 37 minutes. He broke to finish the match, setting up a second-rounder against Arnaud Clement.

Eighth-seeded James Blake was a 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 winner over Danish qualifier Kristian Pless.

Matches started on schedule Tuesday under cloudy skies, a day after rain severely disrupted the opening of the two-week championships. No matches were completed Monday, with 17 suspended and 47 postponed, meaning the All England Club will have to pay up to 1 million pounds (US$1.8 million; euro1.36 million) in ticket refunds.

Because of the backlog, the women's defending champion _ Venus Williams _ did not open play on Centre Court as scheduled Tuesday. Williams and top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo won't be in action until Wednesday.

Three-time defending champion Roger Federer, who led France's Richard Gasquet 6-3, 1-2 on Monday, was back in his bid for a record 42nd consecutive grass-court victory.

Andre Agassi, playing his last Wimbledon, was due to face Boris Pasanski of Serbia-Montenegro. French Open champion Rafael Nadal was up against British wild card Alex Bogdanovic, and two-time finalist Andy Roddick played Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia-Montenegro.