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U.S. OPEN / OTHER MATCHES : Martin, Rosset, Krajicek Happy Just to Slip Through

August 31, 1994|BILL DWYRE | TIMES SPORTS EDITOR

NEW YORK — Wise men Todd Martin, Marc Rosset and Richard Krajicek, fearing to tread foolishly where colleagues Goran Ivanisevic and Boris Becker did Monday on opening day of the U.S. Open, eased into the second round Tuesday.

On a day at the U.S. Tennis Center when only No. 13 Lori McNeil lost among the seeded players, Martin, Rosset and Krajicek made escapes reminiscent of Houdini.

Martin, seeded No. 9 and considered by many a player with the tools needed to beat Pete Sampras, lost the first two sets and survived three match points in the fifth before slipping past Guillaume Raoux of France, 6-7 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1).

On the first match point, with Martin serving at 4-5 of the fifth, Raoux approached deep to Martin's backhand and got in close to the net. Martin responded by cranking an incredible cross-court passing shot into Raoux's deep backhand corner, just inches inside the line.

Rosset, the big-serving Swiss star who won the Barcelona Olympics and is seeded 15th, dropped his first two sets to Mark Woodforde, 6-4 and 6-1, before getting on track to win the next three, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Rosset served 27 aces, three in a row at the end of the match.

The strangest match of all, however, might have been Krajicek's 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-7 (7-2), 6-7 (10-8), 6-4 victory over Jan Siemerink, like Krajicek a Dutch player. Instead of trailing by two sets, Krajicek, unseeded but a threat to go all the way, won the first two, then hit four easy passing shots into the net to lose the fourth-set tiebreaker. Next, he took a 6-0 lead in the fourth-set tiebreaker before losing that, too, 10-8. In the fifth set, Krajicek also had to fight through one love-40 service game before finally prevailing.

Other seeded players among the men--No. 4 Michael Stich, No. 5 Stefan Edberg and No. 11 Jim Courier--won in straight sets.

McNeil went out quickly to a woman with clearly the best name in tennis today, Anna Smashnova of Russia. Smashnova, who won, 6-2, 6-4, is ranked 54th. McNeil, who is 35 and a former U.S. semifinalist, upset Steffi Graf at Wimbledon, but couldn't handle the 18-year-old Russian Tuesday.

Top-seeded Graf ran past wild-card entry Anne Marie Mall, formerly of UCLA and Dana Hills High, 6-2, 6-1.

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