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Roddick Upstaged in Victory

It's no thriller as he defeats Henman in three sets, while Kuerten's ouster steals the show.

August 27, 2003|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Welcome to the heated, and at times, overheated first-round night match at the U.S. Open Tuesday. One fan was even "escorted" from the court and missed the remainder of the fifth set.

Of course, it was Andy Roddick versus Tim Henman of Great Britain?

Wrong. The marquee match was Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov's 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (1) victory over No. 14 Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil in 2 hours 47 minutes.

The much-hyped Roddick-Henman confrontation never really hit a fever pitch, essentially because the fourth-seeded Roddick never let it. Roddick beat Henman, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3, avenging the loss to the only player to beat him since Wimbledon.

"In my opinion, he's playing better than anyone in the world right now," said Henman.

The up-and-down second set was Henman's best shot to get back in it. He served for the set at 5-4. Roddick came out firing, smacking three passing shots past Henman, who dropped his serve at love, throwing in a double fault at 0-15.

Meanwhile, the Kuerten-Tursunov match took an intense turn when the rowdy fan was taken out by security early in the fifth set, causing a brief delay.

Tursunov, 20, who lives near Sacramento, was making his Grand Slam debut. He has been in California since he was 13. Since his career breakthrough in Memphis, Tenn., more than two years ago -- reaching the quarterfinals -- his progress has stalled because of injuries, including a fractured back.

In the locker room afterward, Tursunov told reporters that he tried to approach the match by not thinking he was playing someone of Kuerten's stature.

There were two relatively minor upsets on the women's side. Shinobu Asagoe of Japan defeated No. 10 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-4, 6-3, and Ludmila Cervanova of Slovakia beat No. 16 Elena Bovina of Russia, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Wild-card entrant Angela Haynes of Compton made her Slam debut, as veteran Tina Pisnik of Slovenia beat the 18-year-old, 6-4, 6-2. Despite the loss, Haynes managed to draw quite a bit of attention from the USTA's coaching staff. Her father and coach Fred said that help from the USTA, until recently, has been lacking for the promising African-American left-hander.

"They've helped this month, but before that we really didn't exist," he said in a telephone interview from his hotel in New York. "I really wish I knew [why]. I wasn't one of those parents that always asked ... a closed mouth never gets fed -- but I trusted their judgment and I knew I had a very talented player. We weren't the chosen few. It would have made life a little easier."

The USTA said Haynes received financial assistance when she turned pro at the start of 2003. But she and Fred said that his aging parents, Joe and Lucy, were forced to go back to work to let her keep playing tennis, though they aren't working now.

"Blew me away, man," said Haynes, who grew up with the Williams sisters when they were in Compton. "Tennis is very expensive. They are so behind me in my career, and that really meant a lot to me."

Fred has been raising her as a single parent, and at first didn't tell her about her grandparents' financial support.

"Thank God for my parents," he said.

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